Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Jeffrey Simpson criticizes the Cons for killing off the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy as punishment for telling the truth about climate change at its own request:
In a letter to the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE), Mr. Kent said it was in a “unique position” to offer advice on sustainable development. The government had asked the NRTEE in the past to “conduct research and provide advice on key and emerging issues.” Now, Mr. Kent was asking the NRTEE, with its “unique position,” to conduct a comprehensive review of provincial climate-change plans.

A year after the request and the nice comments about the NRTEE’s past work, however, the Harper government killed the agency in the 2012 budget.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird lashed out at the NRTEE, saying it had repeatedly called for a carbon tax that Canadians had rejected. That statement, typically partisan given the source, was completely false. No matter, the Harper government killed the agency, quite likely because it isn’t much interested in sustainable development.

The NRTEE goes out of business next March, but it did complete the assignment it was given by Mr. Kent. Its report, released last week – the most comprehensive study of where Canada is at in reducing greenhouse gas emissions – suggests why the Harper government wanted to close it.
 - But then, Michael Harris notes that the environment is just one of many casualties of the Cons' stay in power:
With the specter of the Parliamentary Budget Officer taking the Clerk of the Privy Council to court, a momentous question looms over our public affairs: will the Harper government answer a single legitimate question about its conduct of Canada’s public business?

Or is the government’s message that we can all go pleasure ourselves until 2015?
As everybody knows, the vast majority of C-38 has nothing to do with the finances of the country. That makes it a legislative stealth attack, a fraud upon the democratic system. Yet those in the indentured press are already rhapsodizing about the PM’s political acuity. For passing C-38? That’s like praising a firing squad for getting the job done — after all, the target is blindfolded, tied down, and unarmed.
- And Andrew Coyne writes that some of the Cons' supposed core ideals are among the most obvious casualties of the Harper spin machine.

- Meanwhile, Michael Hurley points out that the Ontario Libs' own omnibus budget included loosening the rules on P3 disasters just like the ORNGE scandal that's already caused so much trouble for McGuinty and company. And Thomas Walkom observes that the "trojan horse" criticism applies just as much to Ontario's budget bill as the federal one.

- Finally, Canadians for Tax Fairness rightly highlights the widespread public support for the type of financial transaction tax that the Cons have deliberately blocked on the international stage.

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