Friday, December 14, 2007

Why John Baird is a Terrible Choice for Minister of Environment

I had written a post that I vetted through some trusted friends, and though they agree with what I wrote, several recommended against posting it. I'm generally level headed, but I am happy to have some friends to tell me when I need to tone it down. So instead I have written a point by point explanation of why I think Steven Harper made a very poor choice in appointing John Baird as the Conservative Minister of Environment.

John Baird lacks experience and knowledge of the subject matter.

Baird's undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Baird has been a politico all his professional life. Prior to being appointed by Steven Harper as Minister for the Environment, he had never worked in an industry that has to manage environmental affairs, nor had he ever been part of an environmental NGO, nor had he ever worked in an environmental regulatory capacity. Link.

John Baird's history of statements and actions show he does not take environmental issues seriously.

"We have already seen the impacts of climate change in the north with melting
permafrost, schools shifting off foundations, and the spread of the pine beetle."
This from the man that as President of the Treasury board cut Federal spending
to beetle kill programs in BC at a time when the federal surplus was a record
13 billion dollars.

John Baird is regarded as having killed (for political vendetta reasons) an
already approved light rail plan for the City of Ottawa. Link.

"We've had unusually warm weather in parts of the country and
unusually harsh weather in other parts of the country and I wanted to
come out first hand and see it," he said. "It's demonstrably worse than
anything you can see on television and it's a wake-up call." So the decades
of science won't convince you, but trees blown over in Stanley Park will?

Interaction of John Baird and Dr. David Suzuki at the Green Living Consumer show,
April 27th, 2007

"It's a disappointment, John," Suzuki said.
Baird countered: "This is more action than any government in Canadian history has
ever taken."
Suzuki was unmoved by the minister's words and replied, "It's not enough John,
you know there's a lot of opportunity. Please come and see us."
Baird replied, "we're very happy to," before walking away.
He hasn't been to see Suzuki yet.
A quote from the Financial Post, a typically conservative supporting paper, "Meanwhile, in an apparent effort to fend off international attacks over its climate change policies, the Harper government began a series of multimillion-dollar environmental announcements. Mr. Baird insisted the funds are proof that the government is taking real action to stop global warming. But he was unable to say whether his main announcement of the day, a pledge to spend $85.9 million over four years on climate change adaptation and research, is any different from a Natural Resources Canada climate change adaptation program that his government shut down last summer. The now-defunct federal climate research network conducted studies to help various communities and economic sectors cope with the impacts of a changing climate, such as severe weather, the pine beetle infestations in western Canada, and crumbling infrastructure."

From Environmental Defense - "For far too long they have found themselves on the receiving end of promises that packaged a whole lot of punch but delivered little more than a pinch - what you call empty promises. Unlike our predecessors we are doing more than just talking, we're taking real action." But environmentalists were not impressed. "I'm actually shocked at how little it is," said John Bennett of Climate for Change. "What is industry's target? How many megatonnes will industry do? "

John Baird is implicated in a scandal regarding the past Ottawa Municipal Elections

There are no charges against Minister Baird yet, but there is a public investigation by the OPP into allegations that the current Ottawa Mayor tried to bribe one of the opponents into dropping out by offering him an appointment. The appointment would be made by Minister Baird. It may be nothing but a smear, but give it a bit of time. The truth will out. Link.

I could go on for days. John Baird, like so many of the Conservative Ministers, is simply ill equipped, inexperienced, and way over his head.



Anonymous said...

John Baird and Stephane Dion have one thing in common. They both have done absolutely NOTHING to curb greenhouse emissions. The only difference is that Dion had ample opportunity to do something and didn't and Baird is relatively new in this portfolio so he still has an opportunity to make a difference.

Jake Gray said...

Lets look at that for a second. Stephane Dion - Supported by Elizabeth May, leader of the Greens. John Baird - mocked by all reputable environmental groups. Stephane Dion - won international praise as chair of the Montreal Accord. John Baird - listed as a major obstructionist in Bali.

Not even a comparison.

Jake Gray said...

Also, Stephane Dion has nothing to do with any of the arguments I provided in the post. Please feel free to attack my logic, but non sequiturs are not helpful for furthering the discussion.