The McGuintys: Avid environmentalists or disingenuine demagogues?
Recently, some of Canada's most outspoken politicians on the environmental portfolio -- particularly the climate change portfolio -- are the Flying McGuinty Brothers, (federal environment critic) David, and (Ontario premier) Dalton.
Recently, Dalton convened a first minister's conference on the topic of climate change. More recently, David categorized Prime Minster Stephen Harper's accurate insistence that Canada is a special case in terms of greenhouse gas reductions -- on the basis of both climate and an inactive prior government -- as "theatre of the absurd."
"I've being doing this for 20 years and I have never heard anything as absurd -- on the international diplomatic level, on this internation environmental issue -- as this," McGuinty insisted. "Ever."
Perhaps mr McGuinty would be surprised then, to be reminded of his brother's Dalton's promise to shut down all of Ontario's coal-fired power plants, a broken promise that, along with Ontario NDP leader Howard Hampton, the Ontario Clean Air Alliance described as "a broken-promise hat trick".
"[Other countries] tell us they're paying the price and biting the bullet," David entoned, "working feverishly hard to meet their Kyoto targets. But they're not going out the world and saying, 'we're special! We're soooooo special!"
Unfortunately for David, his brother, as Ontario's premier, hasn't "bit the bullet", or worked "feverishly hard" to keep his promise, one which would have achieved 70% of Ontario's share of Canada's Kyoto commitments. One would wonder whether or not David would argue that Ontario is special.
His brother certainly does. While signing a landmark agreement with California's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, McGuinty argued that an international, North America-wide standard should be set for vehicle emissions. Then he insisted that Ontario will stop short of California's standards, claiming they will hurt Ontario's auto industry.
Apparently, Ontario is special. It's sooooooooo special!
Naturally, Dalton is keen on scoring some political capital by being seen arm-in-arm with the man who may well be North America's most effective politician on the environmental portfolio. Given, however, that Dalton himself has one of the unabashedly worst records in North America -- along with his national-party counterpart, Stephane Dion -- it all reeks of an absurd brand of hypocrisy.
His brother, by failing to recongize and criticize the catastrophic and humiliating failures of his brother, shares in this hypocrisy.
The Flying McGuinty brothers are certainly not eco-heroes. In fact, David may well be one of the most obnoxious of the eco-egos. What is really absurd is that either would pretend to hold an ounce of credibility on the environmental portfolio.