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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The Tory government today anounced its plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

As the CBC’s report states: “The bill…calls for the reduction of car emissions by 2011 to align Canada with regulations of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.” The next four years are meant for the government to consult with industry on ways of adopting this policy.

The Conservatives have once again turned their backs on the Kyoto protocol — a policy, that despite the government’s efforts, was favoured by the House of Commons this fall when MPs voted in favour of Bill C-288 (the bill to ensure that Canada is in line with the Kyoto protocol’s gas emission levels) getting a second reading. Instead of listening to Members of Parliament, the Conservatives have simply marched on with their own environmental policy, which is several steps behind Kyoto.

The most interesting aspect of today’s proposed bill is that all its goals are outside of the government’s term in office, the first being set for 2011. The latest that the next federal election can take place in Canada is 2010. Are the Tories acting with prudence? Or are they just realizing that they might not be able to deliver on their promise in time for the next election?

It’s not even clear how long the current minority government can last. The mistakes have been far and wide, the latest being yesterday’s ouster of Conservative MP Garth Turner, who will now sit as an independent in Parliament.

For more, see this article in the National Post on the opposition’s stance on the Kyoto protocol.