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Dec 16 2011

Justin Trudeau apologizes for being right about Environment minister Peter Kent

As you might know, recently Canada withdrew from the Kyoto protocol shortly after the Durban conference — what our next steps are once Kyoto ends — came to agreement. While the problems with the Kyoto protocol are myriad, including that it didn’t go far enough, didn’t include the top climate destroyers, and explicitly excluded carbon taxes as a means to achieve reductions, it was in fact something. The Durban talks involved what to do for each country in light of their progress toward achieving lower emissions overall, and it’s fairly self-evident that Canada withdrew to avoid the international scorn they had coming. Not that they avoided any of the scorn by withdrawing — such a blatantly transparent responsibility dodge was not lost on anyone.

In the House of Commons on Wednesday, NDP MP Megan Leslie questioned Environment minister Peter Kent over Canada’s withdrawl from Kyoto. His response was galling.

Kent suggested that Leslie should have been in Durban, South Africa, for the recent UN climate change conference, which prompted howls from the opposition benches because opposition MPs were banned from being part of Canada’s delegation at the conference.

Nobody in Parliament was informed that delegation members were entirely chosen from the Conservative government, until two days after the Durban registration had closed. For the first time in my memory, a delegation to a foreign country to hammer out an international agreement contained nobody from the government’s opposition party, and was manipulated such that nobody COULD join the delegation but those who would toe the Conservative line: unilateral withdrawl and total inaction on climate change.

Kent prevented anyone but Conservatives from joining the talks at Durban, then chided Leslie for not being part of the talks at Durban.

Justin Trudeau, son of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, leapt to his feet and said “oh you piece of shit!”

He then promptly and immediately apologized to the House for his “unparliamentary” language. Kent said he wasn’t bothered by the language from “the Liberal rump [who] is somewhat out of sorts as this government corrects one of the biggest blunders the previous Liberal government ever made”, but that Trudeau should apologize to the House. Speaker of the House Andrew Scheer pointed out that Trudeau had actually just apologized, correcting the record.

I don’t really think Trudeau should have apologized for his outburst at all, personally. Though I’m sure there are ways to express your frustration with having had your face ground in the dirt by this last election’s sore winners for a year that don’t involve swear words, words that the Conservatives — the party that complains about the necessity political correctness, despite having manufactured the ‘fuddle duddle’ controversy of Trudeau’s father — surely would not have rankled over. Not that Tories haven’t called people “slut” or “Sambo” or “baby” or “bitch” or “shitty” themselves or anything.

Environment minister Peter Kent has no intentions of stewarding the environment whatsoever, and he stonewalled the very people who he chided for not being involved in the talks at Durban. He is a piece of shit. Justin Trudeau is unequivocally correct in his passionate assessment.

The National Post (despite calling this a ‘new low’ in Parliamentary behaviour, which my last link should prove wrong) included a very nice piece of analysis by Michael Behiels.

University of Ottawa political science expert Michael Behiels said there is no doubt the Conservatives are responsible for the explosions of anger by continuing to press and to heckle and to try to undermine opposition parties at every opportunity despite having a majority government.

“And I think the opposition has its back against the wall and doesn’t know what to do,” he said. “Not a single opposition amendment has been accepted. Everything they try to do is basically laughed at, dismissed. So the opposition MPs have had it, and it’s just pouring out.”

Behiels predicted this pattern would continue for the foreseeable future.

“Harper’s won his majority after 20 years [of] fighting for it and he’s basically decided he’s going to stick it in the opposition’s faces at every opportunity,” he said. “They just cannot let up with this sort of mentality.”

I cannot disagree. We’ve got between 4 and 8 years more of this nonsense. Tempers are going to continue to flare if opposition is to be derided and steamrolled at every turn, especially considering that previous governments — even the majority governments that have existed in the past — did not mistreat the opposition this way.

14 comments

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  1. 1
    Michael D.

    Now see I would have given an apology along the lines of “I apologize for my choice of words but not the sentiment behind them”. I think that would have made everyone happy ^_^

  2. 2
    Penn

    That’s what it sounded to me like he did. The sentiment was correct, the wording was unparliamentary.

  3. 3
    jolo5309

    He had to apologise for what he said, but he was right, Kent was being a dick.

  4. 4
    CanadianSteve

    This government is so busy trying to please its most extreme supporters that I think they have no clue how angry they are making the rest of Canada. They may in fact be the most arrogant and close minded government to have existed in Canada, which is frightening considering they have 3.5 more years to go. It took the liberals 10 years of governing to become half as arrogant.

    I sincerely hope that we can make them pay at the polls next election. They are a national disgrace.

  5. 5
    Rick Albert

    There’s a new breed of Bully in town, it’s the Canadian Reform Alliance Party led by the cloying fundagelical snake Stevie Harper. Renamed and rebranded for the new millenium.

    I’m sending money to the NDP immediately.

    I’ll miss Hitch, I’ll miss Jack Layton more.

  6. 6
    Paul Little

    I’m so tired of the Conservative government being villified for “total inaction on climate change.” Everyone levelling these criticisms seems to conveniently ignore the fact that the previous Liberal government – the government that signed the Kyoto Accord – spent the next decade engaged in “total inaction on climate change.” In 2006 the Conservatives inherited a country in which it was physically impossible to reach the goals set out in Kyoto because of the ten year deep hole the previous administration had dug for us. What would you have had them do?

  7. 7
    Daniel Poissant

    The fact that the previous Liberal government lacked the political will to signicantly implement Kyoto protocol should not be an excuse for the Conservative administration.

    One most remember that the first Conservative Environment was Rona Ambrose, a former oil industry lobbyist. That tells us a lot about the environmental vision of the Conservatives.

  8. 8
    sambarge

    PaulLittle @ #6

    I would have the government act like the Government of Canada and not like bullies in the school ground.

    I would have all delegations to international summits include members of the opposition.

    I would have Stephen Harper admit publicly what his agenda is for Canada over the next 4 yrs – no platitudes and bullshit just the truth about where he sees health care, the environment, education, the public service, aboriginal rights, unions and the levels of incarceration.

    I would have them acknowledge that neither the Liberals with their majority nor the Conservatives with the minority have done a damn thing to get to Kyoto goals but let’s do something about it other than pat ourselves on the back for being less to blame than the Liberals.

    That’s what I would have them do.

  9. 9
    sailor1031

    “I am sorry if Mr Kent was offended by my calling him a piece of shit” seems to be all that is called for.

  10. 10
    Richard Simons

    Even before getting a majority, the Conservatives developed a highly condescending attitude to anyone who disagreed with them. Witness the millions of dollars for ‘border security’ spent on public washrooms and parks in a minister’s constituency far from the border. Then Bev Oda made changes to documents after they had been signed but neither she nor any other memebr of the government saw anything wrong with that. The latest ‘law and order’ (how come justice is never included?) laws fly in the face of all the advice they were given by any bodies concerned with crime. The list goes on. And all the time, Harper addresses the public as though he is talking to mentally-retarded 6-year-olds.

    I think Canada is heading for major problems that will take decades to clean up.

  11. 11
    timgueguen

    Kent is a good example of the sillyness of the claim that the media is composed of liberals.

  12. 12
    Paul Little

    @#8, sambarge, and #10, Richard Simons: I am willing to stipulate to everything you say. None of which changes the fact that our failure to meet Kyoto Accord goals has absolutely nothing to do with the sitting government. I’m not a Liberal Bashing Right Wing Fanatic, and many of the policies and actions of the Harper conservatives bother me a lot. But I’m only willing to criticize them for things they are actually responsible for, and anyone who villifies them for the withdrawal from Kyoto is engaging in knee-jerk Conservative bashing with no regard for the facts.

  13. 13
    lordshipmayhem

    Mr. Trudeau should have been equally unparliamentary toward his own party. Let’s face it, Chretien had absolutely no intention of living up to this agreement – it gave him votes from environmentalists, and to him, that’s all that counted.

    Mind you, I can see why neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives wanted to enforce the Kyoto protocols. It’s kind of hard to get re-elected when you’ve effectively dis-employed your fellow Canadians. They’re used to enjoying the triple luxuries of eating, wearing clothing and sleeping indoors, and tend to punish any threat by voting for someone else. Like humans everywhere around the planet, they tend to vote with their wallets.

  14. 14
    Richard Simons

    Paul Little @12: I agree that the Liberals took no action on climate change, except for Stéphane Dion trying to introduce a carbon tax that was shot down by both the media and members of his own party (and the other parties). Although the NDP makes occasional noises in that direction, I am far from confident that they would take any action on climate change, either.

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