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this is lame.

(the blue part being my own selfish worry over my job!)


The new Conservative government has decided to slash spending on Environment Canada programs designed to fight global warming by 80 per cent, and wants cuts of 40 per cent in the budgets devoted to climate change at other ministries, according to cabinet documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.

The documents also say that the Conservatives' campaign promise of tax breaks for transit passes would cost up to $2-billion over five years, but would result in an insignificant cut in greenhouse-gas emissions because the incentives are expected to spur only a small increase in the number of people willing to trade using cars for buses and subways.

The section of the documents on the budget cuts, written by an unidentified government official after a cabinet meeting in late March that approved the reductions, also said the Tories want to try to claw back $260-million the Liberals had pledged to the United Nations to fund its international climate-change programs.

Federal funding for wind power, considered by environmentalists to be one of the cleanest new energy sources, "is also uncertain," the documents said.

Ryan Sparrow, a spokesman for Environment Minister Rona Ambrose, refused to confirm or deny the details in the leak, and said the government hasn't finalized its decisions on climate change.

"Once there is an announcement to be made, we'll make one," Mr. Sparrow said.

The documents were obtained by the opposition Liberals and bolster previous reports that large-scale cuts have been under way in climate-change programs, such as the highly visible One Tonne Challenge, which had much of its funding abruptly axed without public announcement in late March.

The Tories have indicated that they are ambivalent about the Kyoto Protocol to fight climate change, planning to neither pull out of the treaty nor meet its emission-reduction targets.

According to the documents, the Tories have yet to develop their unique Canadian-based set of actions.

"No process has been put in place to determine next steps on climate change or to develop the new 'made in Canada' climate plan," the documents said.

The documents said that while the Tories are trying to save money by cutting the programs designed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, they won't cut government staff positions, so most of the money earmarked for climate change will be going to salaries for bureaucrats.

[color:blue]"Only $375-million was approved for climate spending, with most of the dollars covering staff salaries until the new government determines next steps.

"What is clear is that staff will have little to do and that they will have no budgets to spend over the next year and that more cuts are coming."

According to the documents, the programs are being eliminated to help fund tax cuts, including the GST reduction the Tories pledged during the election, and to fund the transit-pass scheme.

The global-warming programs are being eliminated even though a Treasury Board review of government spending found that the vast majority of 166 such programs run by Ottawa were considered cost effective.

The review, which was begun by the Liberals and completed last fall, found only 22 programs were ineffective. The Treasury Board information was supposed to be used to reallocate funding from programs that weren't working to those that were achieving better results.

The Liberals did not deal with the review before the election, and many federal initiatives didn't have budget allocations after March 31, the end of the government's fiscal year.

Environmentalists reacted angrily to the cuts. John Bennett, a spokesman for the Sierra Club of Canada, accused the Tories of having a "slash and burn campaign."

The documents also show that senior officials in the Environment Ministry have told the government that its proposed tax credit for transit users will have virtually no impact on greenhouse-gas emissions and only a small effect on riders.

"A wide range of data suggests that people are not very responsive to changes in transit fares," said a memo prepared for Ms. Ambrose last week by officials in the office of her deputy minister. ". . . while the ridership impacts of the tax incentives are not known with precision, analysis suggests they will be low."

The six-page memo outlines five transit tax-incentive options, ranging from a 16-per-cent tax credit for all fares, at a projected cost of $2-billion over five years, to a credit for monthly pass holders only, at $1-billion, to the same credit for high-school students only, at a cost of $90-million.

The memo makes clear that the second option is the one the government prefers. But its benefits to transit users may be nullified, the memo states, because "it could be quite easy for the transit authorities to raise their fares to absorb the benefit of the tax credit."

The Canadian Urban Transit Association has estimated that the proposed tax break would increase transit use by up to 30 per cent by 2016. But in another Environment Minister memo drafted for Ms. Ambrose, ministry officials say that, based on a 1997 Canadian study, as well as a U.S.

Department of Labour survey in 2004, use can be expected to increase between

2 per cent and 4 per cent. That means the effect on emissions will be negligible, the documents show.

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You guys know he said all that in his campaign promises leading up to the election right on his website so obviously a majority of canada doesn't care and that's what hurts me. Canada was always a caring and loving country but we're moving more and more towards the uncarring, we're better than everyone else attitude of the states and britain. Please don't flame me, I'm not talking everyone, but I've gotten that response from many foreigner's when I ask what they think about canada.

Personally it scares the fuck out of me how little politicians care about the environment. I cringed whenever I hear that it's too expensive to implement this or that. It's the survival of the planet, what the hell does money have to do with it? Oh yeah, greed.

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Over 64% of Canadians voted against right-wing policies.

Weird, because Jack Layton said if I loaned him my vote the NDP would "balance the Conservatives"...

And so, who is going to balance the Conservatives in the next Parliament? Who is going to be on the job starting next Tuesday? Who is going to protect public health care? Who is going to protect our environmental obligations? - Jack Layton

It's almost like that......wasn't.....accurate....!?!?

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Yeah, ok, now ease up on the poor NDP! I still prefer a system - at least in principle - that resists the pull to a dualistic system like in the US, where all the jokers start looking so much the same. Right-wing governments always drive themselves forward on a narrow mandate; our system has problems enough in terms of getting enough democratic checks and balances in place (e.g. proportional representation). What government would take the hit and selflessly make those changes? The Liberals might have.

I think we've got deeper problems in our culture, too, whatever the polls suggest, where we don't think often enough about what we're going to lose until it's too late. I'm thinking of enormous networks of people I know (outside this community, of course) who really don't give a rat's ass about environmental concerns (of the "I'll be dead before trouble hits so who cares," or "it's all part of a hidden agenda to cripple our economy" variety), or who throw up their hands over it. I think the Conservatives are banking on that.

Phorbesie, I'm sorry to hear this for your sake. I hope you're able to stay on and fight the good fight.

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Yeah, ok, now ease up on the poor NDP! I still prefer a system - at least in principle - that resists the pull to a dualistic system like in the US, where all the jokers start looking so much the same. Right-wing governments always drive themselves forward on a narrow mandate; our system has problems enough in terms of getting enough democratic checks and balances in place (e.g. proportional representation). What government would take the hit and selflessly make those changes? The Liberals might have.

Well, we essentially have had a dualistic system (only two party's capable of forming a national government) for our entire existence, and considering the "other governing party" is now undoing many of the environmental and social policies of the other "natural governing party", they're clearly still pretty philosphically different, so your fear of two similar right-wing governing parties, has not been realized yet in 140 years of Canadian politics.

And wasn't the last Parliament the ideal democratic check and balance, ie. a minority gov't with the NDP holding the balance of power? That's what most people wanted.

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I heard tell during the election that Harper has major ties in Alberta oil money or at least is quite influenced by it (then again, the alberta budget surplus is pretty much equivilent to Canada's surplus so there is a lot of money there). You can't be an environmentalist or do much for the environment if you are majorly influnced by oil money, the major bane of our environment.

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I heard tell during the election that Harper has major ties in Alberta oil money or at least is quite influenced by it

i bet the majority of canadians with pension plans, mutual funds etc have lots of money tied up in there as well. i know i do.


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The hate grows...

Minister stops book talk by Environment Canada scientist

Environment Minister Rona Ambrose has stopped an Environment Canada scientist from speaking publicly about his own novel.

Mark Tushingham has written a science fiction novel called Hotter than Hell.

It is set in the not-too-distant future when global warming has made many parts of the world too hot to live in and has prompted a war between Canada and the U.S. over water resources.

Tushingham was scheduled to speak in Ottawa about his book and the science underpinning it. But an order from Ambrose's office stopped him.

"He got a directive from the department, cautioning him not to come to this meeting today," said his publisher Elizabeth Margaris of DreamCatcher Publishers in New Brunswick. Margaris had driven from New Brunswick to attend the speech.

"So I guess we're being stifled. This is incredible, I've never heard of such a thing," she told CBC Radio.

A spokesperson for Ambrose said the speech was billed as coming from an Environment Canada scientist and even though his book is a work of fiction, he would appear to be speaking in an official capacity.

Tushingham was ordered to cancel the speech because he didn't follow the proper process, the spokesperson said. He also has cancelled some TV and radio interviews about the book.

Stephen Harper says he was not aware of the details, but his government was elected on a platform that included developing a new plan to deal with climate change.

"And I not only hope, but expect, that all elements of the bureaucracy will be working with us to achieve our objectives," he said.

Harper has been criticized for the tight control he wants to exercise on what Cabinet ministers and civil servants say in public. He also opposes the Kyoto protocol, which could help slow global warming.

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unbelievable... Joseph Stalin would be very proud

[color:purple]I heard terrorists created the "Global Warming" myth to foster financial instability in the west leading to cut backs in military spending.

so much for Canada being a good example to the rest of the world... now we're "Little America"... even with these sad events, I believe Harper's posse are playing it cool with their agenda until they can secure a majority gov't... there's gold in them thar hills... expecting another "Penny on the Dollar!" buyout for the middle class followed by sweeping social reforms... if Bush could learn to speak in public, so can Harper

at least its been nice to see Bush's Republicans getting raked over the coals on the news (with CNN leading the way) over the ridiculous Iraq fisco... I'm finding it amazing the Bush cabinet isn't facing jail terms, let alone impeachment... hope the Democrats can grab the ball and locate a charismatic, down to earth presidential candidate to seal the deal

cause the stink in North America is getting awful

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gees hate to burst any bubbles here but Canada's been on the road to America for a VERY long time now.

The Kyoto protocol is a sad joke as are programms such as The One Tonne Challenge.

Not that I think my aggressive views on what should be done will ever take but these facades are insulting too imo.

Where the hell are the action heros?

Harper sucks the same as the last guy and as much as the next guy....Politicians suck :(

....shoot....this is why I like the poli sect...I never woulda opened this if it was over there and gotten on the road to quarrling....backing away quikly....

Edited by Guest
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no bubbles burst here... but I don't believe all politicians are as bad as the next... like saying all teachers are cruel... some teachers aren't

Kyoto rollbacks, authors being told not to speak publically about sensitive topics and marijuana decriminalization getting axed are pretty recent developments (and strongly mirror American policies under the Bush administration)

yes bad things always happen under any and every government... these happen to be current and particularly unpleasant things to me... I respect Canada because we generally tend to be fairly tolerant and conscientious... these developments seem to disregard both of those qualities

I don't care who's in charge... authors should be allowed to speak freely, Kyoto was at least a step in the right direction and I don't think people should live under the threat of prosecution over how they like to relax

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