Sunday, July 08, 2007

On coziness

Steve has a thorough discussion of the CP's bizarre decision to voluntarily publish an article whose sole purpose seems to be to test a Con talking point that environmental groups are "too cosy" with the Libs. But let's fill in a couple of additional gaps.

First, it's no secret that environmental groups have also been involved in helping to formulate both policy and strategy for other parties who care enough to include them in their discussions. It's been publicly noted that the NDP enlisted the input of environmental groups both in developing some of their past policies, and in the course of this spring's Parliamentary negotiations - and it would be shocking if the Greens and Bloc weren't making some effort to interact with the environmental movement as well.

And as Steve notes, that's not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. Instead, it's simply a matter of parties seeking the input of groups who know the issue best - and it's the Cons who deserve scorn for refusing to engage with such groups, not the other parties for listening to them.

Second, let's note that while the efforts of the other parties can be far more plausibly seen as merely talking to groups known for both a genuine interest and knowledge of a key issue, the Cons themselves have a far more dubious link to a group which seems to want to present itself as "environmental" despite being plainly a self-interested creation.

After all, the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association has taken on a far higher profile than ever before, featuring numerous co-announcements with the Cons, ever since Deceivin' Stephen took office. And its cooperation with the government has without a doubt been based in large part on its Con connections, including its head (former Reform and Con insider Kory Tenycke) and a registered lobbyist (Harper confidant Ken Boessenkool).

Of course, the Cons probably would assume that the rules which they seek to apply to everybody else have no application to some of their own. But the CP has no excuse for neglecting to mention both the fact that the Cons are the ones isolated in their refusal to speak substantively to environmental groups, and the fact that the Cons have far more problematic links to other interest groups who have obviously had the government's ear.

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