Didn’t warm up to Rona Ambrose Environment Minister is shuffled out of portfolio by Prime Minister Stephen Harper
The Conservatives appear to be feeling the heat over global warming.
In Thursday’s cabinet shuffle Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed former Treasury Board chairman John Baird to replace Rona Ambrose as minister of environment.
Ambrose has drawn national and international criticism for her performance as environment minister.
Last May, Ambrose called Canada’s Kyoto commitments “unachievable.”
In November, she told the UN conference on climate change that Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased 35 per cent since the Kyoto Accord was signed in 1990 a long way from the six per cent reduction Canada committed to by 2008.
While there is no doubt Ambrose fumbled her lines as environment minister, this may be a case of shooting the messenger.
The Conservatives’ plan for the environment is weak calling for a 65 per cent reduction in current greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. There is no detailed plan on how those targets should be met.
Baird will have his work cut out for him trying to sell the Conservative plan to the public and international community. Baird is known for being quick on his feet in question period, but he still doesn’t have any material to work from.
Canadians are slowly starting to clue in that global warming may be a serious problem.
Earlier this month, scientists announced the 3,000-year-old Ayles ice shelf has broken away from Ellesmere Island and is floating out to sea.
The 25-sqare-mile, 100-foot thick ice shelf broke away in August 2005 and is expected to break up and melt.
Scientists say that 90 per cent of the ice shelves observed by arctic explorer Robert Peary in 1906 are now gone.
In the U.S., the polar bear was recently recognized as an endangered species.
Flooding and extreme weather throughout the world and in B.C. has been linked to rising global temperatures.
Liberal leader Stephane Dion has realized that the majority of Canadians want to see some action on the environment action he never delivered as environment minister under Paul Martin.
Dion’s lip service to the environment has strengthened the Liberals standing in recent political polls. He will certainly try to make the environment a hot-button issue in the next election.
The environment is poised to become a mainstream political issue in this country and the Conservatives are far from ready.
With a 2007 election likely in the works, the Conservatives will have to do more than shuffle a minister if they want to gain public support on the issue Â and they need to do it quickly.