Monday, July 26, 2010


The Hill Times tracks down exactly why the environment committee wasn't able to finalize a report on the tar sands, and notes that at least one of the members actually worked to develop a joint report despite the Cons' intransigence:
"I listened to some other people the same day I spoke and I know [the committee] got a lot of negative material. I'm sure that's why there's no write-up," said Prof. Schindler last week from his Edmonton office. "To me that's a violation of the principles of democracy, and I'm very angry about it."

He said: "I think that the Conservatives don't want any negative side cast on the tar sands because they're afraid now that the U.S. will shut them down now because of their policies on dirty oil."

Another witness, Andrew Nikiforuk author of Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent, also blamed the Conservatives.

"I think the Tory government was afraid of what U.S. Congress, what U.S. customers, oil customers in general, investors and Canadian taxpayers might have to say about our record of regulatory neglect in the tar sands," he said.
(NDP MP Linda) Duncan recognized that witnesses such as Mr. Nikiforuk and Prof. Schindler are disappointed in the study's result.

Ms. Duncan said she approached other opposition members about writing a report together but was turned down.

Liberal member Francis Scarpaleggia's (Lac-Saint-Louis, Que.) assistant Gweneth Thirlwell told The Hill Times that he said his party would write its own, to be finished likely before fall. Mr. Scarpaleggia was the MP who originally called for the study in January 2008, and last month accused the Conservative committee members of blocking the final report so as not to release a document that could include information on the negative effects of the oil sands that could hurt the government.

"I think Francis Scarpaleggia and probably Linda Duncan actually have very similar views on what's wrong. I think partisan politics has separated them," said Mr. Nikiforuk.

Mr. Scarpaleggia did not respond to questions verbally, but in a statement to The Hill Times said "Other parties are free to [write their own reports]. Nothing is lost from that perspective."
Needless to say, I eagerly await the next "principled" Lib effort to single out Duncan for particular criticism while glossing over the Libs' deliberate choice to prioritize "partisan politics" above working with anybody on shared goals.

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