The proposed clean air act, which has been widely criticized by the opposition and environmental groups for its lack of immediate targets has received the support of the Albertan energy sector.

Once again, the Conservatives show their incompetence to create a National policy on the environment and are appealing to corporate interests in the West. It is no secret that the gains made by the Conservatives in the East (particularly Québec) were due to a protest vote meant to punish the Liberal Party for the sponsorship scandal. The Harper Government’s environmental policy, however, will not find many sympathizers in the East for the next federal election — Québec is an environmentally conscious province and has its poster-company Hydro Québec running a “clean” operation.

The advantage of the Clean Air Act is that it sets precise goals for lowering emissions rates and gives the industry time. However, Kyoto had very specific goals too, and if it was adhered to and not challenged over and over (the Liberals are also guilty of uncertainty) then nothing would be so unclear. The only reason that industry (in Alberta) is much more content with the Harper Government’s proposal is that it again gives them more time to not do anything or to act slower than is required.

Pollution levels are growing, every summer there is more and more smog warnings, and allergy sufferers are far and wide. Action must be taken now. But money dictates otherwise. Stock up on your Claritin.

For more on the Kyoto Protocol, visit CBC’s “Kyoto and Beyond” special profile.

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