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Harper's agenda is to distract, deflect, deny, and damage.

Last week, Harper's latest attempt to distract the national attention from serious issues in the country was to announce that he would introduce fixed election dates. Around the same time, he orchestrated an utterly pointless battle with the parliamentary press gallery over who has the right to ask him questions.

Unfortunately, it's working. People are being distracted by these non-issues. We have serious issues right now, like the environment, as illustrated by three consecutive over-30 degree high humidity, low breathability smog days in the so-called 'golden horseshoe' of south-western Ontario.

Harper's government has sought to cancel several environment-related programs and has shown his disdain for the environment

If our government is serious about reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, even if they don't want to do it under the Kyoto protocol, here are some ideas.

We could probably beat our Kyoto targets by simply closing the Nanticoke coal-fired power plant. It pollutes more than some entire provinces.

Don't (just) give tax credits for using public transit, provide more and better public transit. Integrate public transit systems from as many cities as possible. Expand and better fund Via, GO, AMT, the various light rail projects, the skytrain and any other commuter trains and services in the country, provide better bus service, fully integrate bus and rail networks with eachother, make rail travel cheaper than air travel, and set up public transit systems to get to all major airports.

Legislate that all car manufacturers who wish to do business in Canada must provide, at a reasonable price and without making them difficult to find, rechargeable electric vehicles (as opposed to hybrids). It doesn't force anyone to buy them (but people will!). The only loser, if we have fewer fuel-dependent cars, becomes oil-arrogant Alberta. It's not like the manufacturers don't have viable electric cars already, they just don't sell them since the California law to the same effect was forcibly repealed by a government similar to our own (the Bush one, not the Davis one).

I assure you none of this is in the as-yet unpublished tory "plan" to fix the environment. Their plan is and always has been to let market forces do the work. From their perspective, when people are dying faster than people are born due to the quality of our air, some entrepreneur will come up with a magic bullet to clean air and sell it at huge profit, because after all, that's the way capitalism works!

When industry and the public decide it's more economical to clean up their act than to continue polluting, only then will they act, and that's acceptable to the tories. They *could* hasten the process by providing tax relief (something they like doing anyway) to any and all companies and individuals who make serious efforts to curtail their pollution, but that would be interference, and the tories don't believe in using government interference for progressive measures (as demonstrated by dropping 'progressive' from their name).

I'm sure Harper's government and his minister of the environment will take this all very seriously and keep the public focus on the issues that actually matter by shortly announcing a law that pot holes may not exceed 3 inches deep and 8 inches across.

Posted at 20:14 on May 30, 2006

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May 27th, 2006 | politics | We're not at war in Afghanistan.


Laura writes at Tue May 30 22:10:25 2006...

I had no idea they were making / crushing electric cars!!

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