Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Good advice that they just didn't take

In case anybody was under the delusion that the Cons' moves to scrap existing environmental programs were based on a sound review of the programs' effect, word comes out that they ignored the good advice of the Environment Department when they gutted the One Tonne Challenge and Energuide programs:
The briefing book for (Rona Ambrose), prepared by departmental officials and obtained by CanWest News Service, contains strong warnings against reversing a number of key decisions taken by the previous Liberal government. In many cases, Rona Ambrose ignored the advice and has faced criticism from environmental organizations and opposition politicians.

Those decisions include scrapping the high-profile One-Tonne Challenge and the federal government's EnerGuide program, both of which are aimed at getting individuals to cut their emissions output in the home...

Departmental officials advising Ambrose described the two high-profile programs as "the cornerstones for engaging consumers."

"The day-to-day decisions of Canadians affect 28 per cent of Canada's emissions," the briefing books says, adding that each Canadian generates more than five tonnes of GHG's each year.

"The engagement of Canadian citizens is as much a fundamental component of addressing climate change for the long-term as engagement of industry."
But faced with that advice among other departmental information that didn't fit with the Cons' plans, Harper appears to have drawn on an oft-repeated tactic from his ideological soulmate to the south:
On May 5, three months into the Conservative government's term, Harper officially relieved Samy Watson of his role as deputy environment minister, the top departmental bureaucrat.
While it may be helpful from Harper's standpoint to be culling departmental employees who won't buy into the Cons' misinformation, it's undoubtedly a problem for those of us who want to see policy aimed at addressing problems rather than sheer political calculation. And if the Cons won't accept dissenting (though correct) views from within the departments under their control, it'll fall to outside pressure to point out when the Cons are headed for future missteps.

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