Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Harper: Following the President's Lead (again)

Stephen HarperAs a Canadian I felt a little a guilty paying so much attention to the American election, but out of those debates came one policy that’s especially relevant to Canadians – well, it’s certainly made an impression on Stephen Harper.

Harper plans to join forces, so to speak, on the new President’s plans for energy and the environment, specifically, a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse-gas emissions.

He’s hoping that through this shared system, and Barack Obama's promise to decrease dependency on oil from the Middle East, the cost and pollution of Canadian oil extraction won’t face harsh consequences. As a foreign-policy initiative, this isn’t a bad idea. But I can’t shake the feeling that Harper is just following the footsteps of another US President, and the reason for it couldn't have less to do with the environment.

This proposal, if accepted and followed through, will do more for the US than Canada since Americans already consume more Canadian oil than Canadians do themselves. What does this mean for the environment? A continually depleting ozone above Canada especially, where emissions continue to flow from both sides of the border.

And with the Alberta oil sands attracting more and more foreign inventors, I have to wonder if Canadians will reap the rewards, or if we’ll get stuck scraping the bottom of the barrel.

1 comment:

  1. It will really be interesting to see how far this emulation goes. I didn't really expect Harper to go for this proposal so quickly, but I guess there are a few factors pushing him along these lines. Not only does he face pressure due to the shift in Washington, Harper is fighting off a vote of non-confidence.

    Without right-wing power in D.C. or a majority at home, the potential for Harper to make more moves along this line is high. In case you missed it, I wrote a blog tracking back here after reading this got me thinking. It's called "How Obama's win affects Canadian Politics."