Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Layton Links Environment and Economy - Sort Of

NDP Leader Jack Layton's campaign-opening speech included some good bits linking economic and environmental policy:
"... invest ... money with companies that provide training, and are innovating in the new energy economy and green collar jobs."


"We’ll make sure Canada lives up to the challenge of climate change – not with Mr Harper’s idle words or by taxing you and your family – but with tough laws that force polluters to clean up the mess they’ve made.

"We’ll invest in solutions that’ll create thousands of sustainable jobs and make environmental choices more affordable for you and your family."

While he objects to carbon taxes, Layton agrees with the Liberals and the Greens on the need for meeting Kyoto targets, tougher emission controls on large polluters, and the desirability of creating "green jobs".

Still, Layton's opening speech did not show an integrated vision such as those of Dion's Liberals and the Green Party, explicitly connecting economy, ecology and social justice. In fact, Layton provided a "laundry list" of promises, clichés ("winds of change"..?) and shallow accusations (criticizing Harper's handling of the tainted meat scandal, but not taking the opportunity to comment on meat consumption as such, despite the UN climate chief's recent call to eat less meat).

NDP Press Releases against fast-tracking tar-sands development, and Layton calling for a moratorium (video clip), are great stuff.

But flying an air plane that emits CO2 to show reporters tar sands projects that emit CO2 is just a little odd. Could Layton not have used existing photos (including air and satellite images) to make the same point?

"Pierre Sadik, a senior policy adviser at the David Suzuki Foundation... says parties can curb the environmental costs of campaigning by limiting personal appearances and using more video links, the Internet and other means to get their messages out." (CP via CTV)

I know, the NDP are offsetting their campaign emissions -- but if the tar sands companies declared tomorrow that they are offsetting all of their emissions, too, would Layton rescind his call for a moratorium?

While the Liberals and the Greens also plan to offset their campaign emissions, the Green
"...Leader Elizabeth May plans to travel by train as much as possible and drive a Toyota Prius hybrid 'slowly' around her Pictou County, N.S., riding." (CP via CTV)
In fairness, Layton had been a steady promoter of public transit and cycling as well. It's just that he looked so comfortable on that NDP plane in the video.

In any event, Harper did not even walk the 395 metres from his residence to the Governor-General's office when he asked for Parliament to be dissolved: "He arrived in a four-vehicle motorcade that included a gas-gulping van and SUV". And no, they will not even try offsetting the emissions. Once again, the difference between the Conservatives and the other parties could not have been clearer.

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