Canada’s Harper Proposes Environmental Pact to Obama

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A brief note following my advice yesterday for US President-elect Barack Obama.

From the Canadian environmental perspective, the headline in today’s Globe and Mail (Toronto’s National Newspaper) reflects a major political statement by Prime Minster Stephen Harper to US President-elect Obama.

“Ottawa swoops in with climate-change offer.”

Canada’s Prime Minister Harper has been viewed as closely aligned with outgoing Bush Administration in many areas, including an environmental approach that did not support the Kyoto Protocol.

Today the Canadian government is first of the mark to make an environmental proposal to the Obama Administration, and on nothing less than Climate Change itself. The main part of the story is about a proposed Canada-US climate change pact that would aim at reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions while protecting Canada’s giant oil sands project in the Prime Minster’s home province of Alberta.

It may be a very smart political move. Mr. Obama has pledged to reduce US foreign energy dependence and may view Canada as less foreign than the Middle East.

Mr. Obama has been described by many Americans as a socialist. Prime Minster Harper is going have to live with the fact that he once described the Kyoto Protocol as a socialist plot.

This will be worth watching.

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Colin Laughlan