Sunday, January 28, 2007

A secret deal, Gary Lunn, and the tarsands.

About ten days ago, it became public knowledge that a secret deal had been made between Albertan and American oil executives:

Radio-Canada reported Wednesday evening that it had obtained the minutes of a secret meeting between American and Albertan oil executives that occured shortly after last year's federal election. The PMO has since denied Radio Canada's suggestion that the meeting was secret and has complained to the CBC ombudsman about the suggestion that the meeting was arranged by the Conservative government.

The meeting was arranged by Natural Resources Canada and the U.S. Department of Energy.

According to Radio-Canada's documents, the Canadians and Americans developed a proposal to increase oil sands exports to the U.S. "fivefold" in a short period of time. The plan would require Canada to "streamline" environmental regulations to speed up the expansion.

Now, obviously, this would have taken place when the Marin Liberals were still in power. Stephane Dion says that he knows nothing about it. The Tories are criticizing and questioning Dion for that reaction to it, and not without reason. One would hope that an Environment Minister would be in on an action like this. Given Dion's environmental credibility, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

However, here's the rub. They can criticize Dion all they want, but that doesn't change the fact that Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn said this:

As we see the potential increase in production moving from a million barrels a day up to four or five, we need to do better,'' Lunn said Wednesday. ''I think there's great promise in the oilsands for nuclear energy.

Regardless what the Martin government may have done or not done in the past does not excuse the Harper government's lackadaisical attitude toward the environment. The've been talking a good game lately and stealing some of the Liberal programs that they had recently cut, but it seems apparent to me that they have no intion at all of trying to reduce greenhous gas emissions. As John Bennett of the Climate Action Network said in response to Lunn's comment:

It is impossible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the tarsands at this rate.

No kidding.

The Sierra Club gave essentially the same reaction