A conspiracy is afoot within the Conservative Party of Canada. Not all the plotters have been identified, but they’re known to include a handful of senior strategists, one former cabinet minister, and Jean Charest, the only leadership candidate with any hope of beating Pierre Poilievre.

Their goal is to make the party adopt a serious climate change policy.

“The party has to get it right on this issue because if we don’t, we are just not going to get elected,” Charest told me on a call at the end of May. “I think there is a cumulative realization after ’15, ’19 and ’21 that this is the challenge we have.”

Caveats apply. For one, the notion of a “cumulative realization” is quite a stretch. I was at the leadership debate in Edmonton and can report climate concern was not a prevailing vibe either on or off the stage.

Roman Baber may not have a snowball’s chance in a 3 C world of becoming the next Conservative leader, but he did capture the mood in that cavernous room with his opening remark about turning Canada into a natural resources superpower: “I am not going to let oil and gas be cancelled.”

Charest distanced himself as far from that kind of talk as possible for a man standing five feet away from it. When the subject of climate change finally came up (after an hour and a half on tyranny and Bitcoin), the man who attended 1992’s Earth Summit in Rio as Canada’s environment minister, who regularly lambasted the Harper government for shirking its Kyoto obligations while he was premier of Quebec, and who is now the sole leadership candidate with an actual climate platform was the only person to mention more than pipelines.

Erin O’Toole at the Enhance Energy facility in Lacombe County, Alta., on July 10, 2021. Photo by Deb Ransom/Flickr (CC0 1.0)

Charest spoke about green hydrogen, biofuels, small modular nuclear reactors and a tax on large emitters, concluding with the elevator pitch I’ve heard a dozen times from him and others since: “We need to have a credible campaign on this in the next federal election, ladies and gentlemen, otherwise our government will not be elected.”

Is this pitch sincere? You could park a glacier between Charest’s plans and the average climate scientist’s idea of “credible.” A Charest government would weaken Canada’s 2030 emissions reduction target by a quarter, effectively taking us out of a Paris Agreement that explicitly calls on countries to increase their ambitions over time.

Not all the plotters have been identified, but they’re known to include a handful of senior strategists, one former cabinet minister, and Jean Charest, the only leadership candidate with any hope of beating Pierre Poilievre, writes Arno Kopecky. #CPC

“We have not been hitting our targets in Canada,” he said when I pressed him on this two weeks later. “The Americans are not going to meet their target of reducing by 50 per cent by 2030 on 2005 levels. So I’m taking the approach that I’m going to set a target and I’m going to meet it… I want us to move out of the world of setting targets and never meeting them and then creating more cynicism and more of a sense of powerlessness because we just can’t seem to get it right.”

It’s true that replacing a difficult goal with an easier one improves the achievement odds. Whether that strategy also alleviates public cynicism is debatable.

Still, Charest and his co-conspirators are correct about at least one thing: Canadians are no longer willing to elect a party without a serious climate policy. However profitable it is to ignore this truth in a leadership race, doing so becomes extremely costly the moment you win.

That’s the hard kernel of truth at the heart of this conspiracy to make federal Conservatives stop ignoring climate change. Reams of data support it, including the last three elections and a 2021 exit poll in which 57 per cent of voters said they “cannot vote for a Canadian political party unless they have a strong plan for addressing climate change.”

“In every part of the country, including Alberta, the large majority of voters say that climate change is an important issue to them and they expect something to be done,” said Dan Robertson, Erin O’Toole’s chief strategist in the last election. “That includes people who currently vote Conservative.”

That’s a shocking development for a party that spent most of the 21st century flirting with climate change denial and denigrating every attempt to lower emissions. Obstructing climate action used to win federal elections, not lose them.

“If you look back at the 2008 election, opposing Stephane Dion’s climate plan was actually a benefit for the party,” Dan Mader, director of scripting and policy for the O’Toole campaign, told me. But as time and climate catastrophes ticked on, the benefit turned into kryptonite.

Damage from the White Rock Lake wildfire on a property in the Paxton Valley, near Monte Lake, B.C., last summer. Photo by Jesse Winter/Canada's National Observer

“After the 2019 campaign, we heard from several candidates who said that climate change came up regularly at the door and was the most difficult issue for them to answer on,” Mader said. “There were a lot of voters out there who said, ‘We agree with you on other things, but we won’t consider a party that we don’t think takes climate change seriously.’ And a lot of my thinking and others’ recently has been based around that.”

That was the catalyst for like-minded Tories who formed a support group called Conservatives for Clean Growth. Think of it as the HQ for the Conspiracy To Make Conservatives Take Climate Change Seriously (or at least make Canadians believe they do). In early May, the group’s co-chairs — former federal cabinet minister Lisa Raitt and former Alberta MLA Jim Dinning — spelled out their vision in an article for The Line entitled, “Cutting emissions can be a win for Canada.” What it boiled down to was this: There’s money to be made in renewable energy, and isn’t making money what Conservatives are all about? Plus, don’t worry, we can keep producing all the oil and gas we like so long as we invest in carbon capture.

My requests to speak with Raitt or Dinning were re-routed to their colleague Ken Boessenkool, once a senior adviser to Stephen Harper and now the executive director of Conservatives for Clean Growth.

“When the [Conservative leadership] race started,” Boessenkool recalled, “we had a very quick chat between five or six of us and we said we should really make sure that there's an intellectual space in this leadership race for people who are serious on climate change. Any candidate that wants our assistance in writing a climate plan, we would put a team together and help them do so.” So far, Charest is the only candidate to have publicly taken them up on this — Charest’s climate platform, Environment And Clean Growth, amounts to a bullet-point reprise of the Raitt/Dinning article. “I get a lot of environmentalists calling me and saying, ‘Why are you making that stupid argument that’s only good for Conservatives?’” Boessenkool told me. “I’m like, that’s who my audience is!”

He was deliberately vague about how much support his group has received from the Conservative caucus, saying only that “a number of MPs have been in touch to chat.” Poilievre, who has been campaigning on a promise to “axe the tax” and build “pipelines in every direction,” doesn’t seem to be one of them (the Poilievre campaign, perhaps more focused on the conspirators at the World Economic Forum, ignored my numerous interview requests).

Ken Boessenkool, executive director of Conservatives for Clean Growth, out for a bike ride. Photo submitted by Ken Boessenkool

I asked Boessenkool what he thought about the odds of the party’s likeliest next leader ever working with Conservatives for Clean Growth. “He’s said he’s going to address climate change through technology. I admit this is a generous interpretation, but for me, Poilievre’s admitted that he’s going to deal with climate change, and so I look forward to working with him.” He insisted that Poilievre was reachable. “I have the ability to talk to Pierre Poilievre, I have the ability to talk to almost all these candidates. As does Lisa Raitt. As does Jim Dinning. These are serious people with serious reputations, putting those reputations on the line to put their name behind this.”

Those of us who have been worried about climate change since before it was politically advantageous to do so might be permitted a moment’s schadenfreude in contemplating the devilish trap Conservatives now find themselves in: Having spent most of the 21st century seeding climate denial, their caucus is now bound to a hard-core base that drank every last drop of the Kool-Aid. These are the active members whose votes determine the leader.

“You have to distinguish between Conservative voters and Conservative party members — the activists, the people who logged onto our virtual convention last spring and voted to deny that climate change was even happening,” said Dan Robertson, who helped O’Toole win the Conservatives’ last leadership race before they went on to lose the general election. You can’t become leader without appeasing those members. But “whoever wins this leadership race is going to run into exactly the same research that I find.”

So do Conservatives for Clean Growth regard climate change as anything more than an impediment to power? Or is there also some sense of moral obligation — an acknowledgment, perhaps, that humanity is facing an existential threat?

“Here’s what I believe,” Boessenkool told me. “I believe that climate change is an important issue. I believe every credible political party wants to address climate change. But it’s not my number 1 issue. It’s not my number 2 issue. It’s maybe in my top five. But there’s no way that Conservatives can make progress on issue one, two, three and four if we don’t have a credible plan on number 5. So, it’s an existential threat to the election of Conservatives and doing all the things I think Conservatives need to do — and, it’s something we should do.”

***

CPC leadership hopeful Patrick Brown at his downtown Brampton office on Jan. 7, 2019. Photo by Nick Iwanyshyn

Today, the chances of Conservatives for Clean Growth converting the masses of Tories signed up to vote for a new leader look vanishingly small. Poilievre claims to have signed up over 300,000 new members to the party compared to the “tens of thousands” Charest’s camp vaguely insists are enough to provide “a confirmed path to victory.” On paper, even Patrick Brown has a better chance than Charest, and so far, the closest thing Brown has to an official climate policy is his statement that “the only just transition is Justin Trudeau transitioning out of office.”

Still, given that oil and gas production has reached record highs under Liberal governance, and that Trudeau’s Liberals supported Keystone XL, bought the Trans Mountain pipeline, and approved both Bay du Nord and the largest LNG project in Canadian history — LNG Canada — one could reasonably ask if there’s really much difference between the Conservative vision of climate policy and our current reality.

Dan Woynillowicz, an energy-transition policy adviser and the founder of Polaris Strategy & Insight, agrees there is some “alignment” between the two parties’ vision of oil and gas production for export. But he sees a “stark contrast” in their overall climate policies. For even as Liberals encourage the export of Canadian oil and gas, they are aggressively decarbonizing our domestic economy. Whatever you think of that don’t-get-high-on-your-own-supply approach, it’s much tougher on emissions than anything a Conservative has proposed.

Even if Charest beats all the odds and became the next Conservative prime minister, the Liberals’ key climate policies would be watered down at best. “I’m very skeptical we would see an aggressive oil and gas emissions cap that declines to 2030,” said Woynillowicz. “I would be surprised if they pursued as aggressive a methane emissions reduction. I would be surprised if they kept the zero-emission vehicle mandate that’s going to ban the sale of internal combustion vehicles by 2035.”

I put the same question to Charest: What separates his vision of climate policy from that of a Liberal government that seems to be allowing the unfettered expansion of Canadian oil and gas?

“In the case of the Liberals, they seem to be doing it reluctantly,” he answered. “They’re dragged into it. In our case, there is a very realistic approach that says we are going to be living with oil and gas for a while — even in 2050, there will still be oil and gas — and we agree on the target of zero emissions by 2050. The issue is the transition, how we get there.”

Charest insisted that he regards climate change as “one of the greatest issues that is facing our generation.” Environmental conservation hasn’t always been anathema to conservatives, he added, pointing to environmental initiatives his party championed prior to the Harper era, like the Montreal Protocol — the global ban on ozone-depleting chemicals that Brian Mulroney helped sell to the world.

“It pains me that the party does not seem able to claim its legacy,” Charest said. “We do have a tradition. But it seems like in the last few years because of the way the [climate] debate has been approached, it’s been so partisan that we’ve been unable to even recognize that in our history and claim that position.”

He could have been talking about any one of the issues that separate his vision of conservatism from Poilievre’s. Of the many ways to interpret their battle for the party’s soul, one is to see it as a fight over history: Charest wants to build on all that’s come before, Poilievre wants a clean break and all the freedom that comes with it. Seen in that light, “climate policy” becomes one more invocation of Conservative tradition.

“Party members should feel proud of what we’ve accomplished as opposed to feeling that this is someone else’s issue,” Charest said at the end of our conversation. “It is not someone else’s issue. It is our issue.”

A generation ago that might have been true. In September, when the leadership vote is announced, we’ll find out if it has any chance of becoming so again.

Keep reading

This is an interesting article that needs to be read in contrast to "Climate Silence in the Ontario election" by Christ Hatch. Arno claims: "Canadians are no longer willing to elect a party without a serious climate policy. However profitable it is to ignore this truth in a leadership race, doing so becomes extremely costly the moment you win." That was clearly not the case in Ontario. The Ontario PCs happily ignored climate during the election and increased their majority, shutting out all opposition.

Remember... Less than 1 in 5 eligible voters in Ontario voted Conservative. Our archaic electoral system of 'first past the post' is partly to blame for Ford's win, as over half of Ontarions (54% to 41%) voted for climate mitigation (and better healthcare, education etc...). Although it was also a disgusting and embarrassing example of Canadian apathy to politics and complacency to the climate emergency that helped Dumb Doug win, as less than 45% of eligible voters turned up at the polls!

"Christ" Hatch? What do you mean by that?

A mere typo. He meant Chris Hatch.

Comparing the Earth to the Moon accomplishes two things when it comes to climate change: Cosmic changes, such as Sun spots, ambient solar gases, and the like are the same on Earth as the Moon. In this regard the Moon can be used to measure what should happen on Earth. Secondly, if there are differences (and there are) something is happening on Earth that doesn't happen on the Moon. So what is it? When? What is the rate of change? Why? These factors should shape policy.

Two years ago, O'Toole became leader of the conservatives by courting the uktra-right of the party. Then, as leader, he tried to steer the party towards a more realistic view of things in order to have a chance of winning the elections of 2021. From a practical point of view, if Polièvre and the ultra-right wins the party leadership, this lack of environmental realism means that Canada is condemned to have a liberal government for the next generation.

As a Québécois, it irks me that Charest is the only one that has a fighting chance of beating the liberals during the next elections. In Québec, his government (2003 to 2012) was extremely pro-shale gas. If there had not been a public outcry, QOGA(Quebec Oil and Gas Association) proposed to drill and fraxed 20 000 wells in the St Lawrence lowlands. As a showcase of those ambitions, Forest Oil (now Lone Pine Resources) drilled a well in 2007 in the middle of the village of Saint-Louis-de-Richelieu, than fraxed it in 2008. The well-head is a mere 125 m from the patio of some citizens. See https://www.ledevoir.com/societe/environnement/585521/quebec-la-crainte-... It took 12 years of political activism to stop that nonsense!

In 2016, former Premier Charest meet commissioners of the NEB(National Energy Board) behind closed doors as revealed by the National Observer. This action discredited the NEB as an environmental agency during the hearings about Energy East. See https://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/07/07/news/quebecs-jean-charest-ha...

If you believe it is necessary to have a solid policy on the environment, don't pin your hopes too high on Jean Charest!

I would not pin my hopes on any of the Conservative candidates. I truly hope Canadians will wake up during the next Federal election and know what they are voting for. Voter apathy in Ontario was disgraceful so we are getting 4 more years of a Ford Government who is going to build more super highways and no mention of the environment. Shame on voters.

"For even as Liberals encourage the export of Canadian oil and gas, they are aggressively decarbonizing our domestic economy."

Too bad emissions growth in the O&G sector wipes out reductions elsewhere in the economy.
In the first four years of Trudeau's govt (pre-pandemic), Canada's total emissions increased year after year.
Oilsands emissions climb year after year (dropping only marginally in the first year of the pandemic).

The Conservatives do not need a real climate plan. Just follow the Liberals' example:

-Set emissions targets they have no intention of meeting;
-Invest billions in white-elephant projects to reduce upstream oilsands emissions;
-Force pipelines through, regardless of ballooning costs; steamroll indigenous opposition, using RCMP muscle; and if necessary, buy the pipeline outright;
-Promote O&G market expansion;
-Continue to approve new LNG and offshore oil projects;
-Under-report Canada's oil & gas emissions;
-Shield the O&G industry from carbon pricing;
-Use dubious carbon offsets to further reduce industry's carbon costs;
-Prop up the fossil fuel industry with endless subsidies: funnel billions of dollars to multi-national O&G companies setting record profits;
-Pay for O&G industry clean-up and reclamation;
-Claim the laurels of climate leadership; and boast about Canada's commitment to climate action.

Just what CAPP and the Big Banks ordered.

While progressives shriek and holler about the Conservatives' stance on climate change, the federal Liberals and provincial NDP are actually stealing their grandchildren's future from under their noses. The Liberals have proved far more effective than the Conservatives in delivering on Big Oil's and Corporate Canada's agenda
The Observer spills endless ink on the Conservatives' stance on climate change, while giving Liberal apologists acres of space to defend Trudeau's actual record of failure.

Such diversion tactics have served the Liberals splendidly. Progressives concerned about climate change should be marching on Parliament Hill with placards; but the streets are occupied instead by right-wing lunatics honking for their freedumbs.
Conservative deniers embracing fringe protesters in Ottawa set off the alarm, while little Justin plays with matches and gasoline in the House of Commons.
And so Trudeau is allowed to get away with this climate BS:

"Trudeau delivered an impassioned defence of his government's efforts to rebrand Canada, a country economically dependent on its fossil-fuel resources, as a champion of tackling climate change.
"It's precisely because of that reputation as an oil-producing nation that Canada has extra credibility on climate issues, Trudeau said.
"'Moving forward on climate change is really hard for us. We have a thriving fossil fuel industry in our country at a time where the world continues to run on fossil fuels and will for a number more years.'
"'The fact that we have that means it's all the more important for us to step up and show real leadership on fighting climate change, and that's exactly what we've done.'"
https://www.nationalobserver.com/2022/06/10/news/canada-california-colla...

On the day the latest IPCC report came out, Environment Minister "Wilkinson reaffirmed Canada's commitment to phasing out fossil fuels and achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, but said achieving that target will require money generated by fossil fuels."
"Ottawa says it needs revenue generated by the Trans Mountain pipeline to fight climate change" (CBC, 9-Aug-21)

Big Oil couldn't ask for a better setup. Terrified by the Conservative bogeyman, progressive voters run into the arms of Trudeau's Liberals. CAPP can set their Conservative hounds on the Liberals, while the Liberals give the O&G industry just about everything on its wishlist. The Liberals play the fear card every election to limit the NDP and Green vote.

That's the real story on climate politics in Canada. That's the dynamic that real journalism needs to report. That's the impasse we need to solve.

Climate Action Tracker's 2021 report rates Canada's efforts overall as "highly insufficient". Same rating since 2011 -- in every year but one in the last decade.
www.climateactiontracker.org/countries/canada/

"Canada among G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets" (CP, Nov 11, 2019)
"Canada's buildings, transportation emissions are far above G20 average, Climate Transparency finds"
"Canada leads G20 in financing fossil fuels, lags in renewables funding, report says" (CP, Oct 28, 2021)
https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/oil-change-subsidies-1.6228679

"NDP natural resources critic Charlie Angus chimed in to declare that the government 'is turning themselves into an open bar for the oil lobby.'"
"NDP MPs grill Liberals on fossil fuel subsidies"
https://www.nationalobserver.com/2022/05/04/news/ndp-mps-grill-liberals-...

Jason MacLean, Assistant Professor of Law, University of New Brunswick, "Canada's new climate plan is reckless, but a better way forward is still possible" (The Conversation, 2022)
https://theconversation.com/canadas-new-climate-plan-is-reckless-but-a-b...

"'Regime of Obstruction: How Corporate Power Blocks Energy Democracy' (2021) also deepens the analysis of two key concepts: 'new denialism' and 'climate capitalism.' New denialism is essentially what Donald Gutstein describes in 'The Big Stall: How Big Oil and Think Tanks are Blocking Action on Climate Change in Canada' (2018) as the promise of clean growth, the Liberal-led shift from full-on climate denial to a regime of admitting there is a problem, but then implementing completely inadequate responses while convincing people they are reasonable. The key result is that the fossil fuel industry continues on with business as usual, or as close to it as it can."
David Gray-Donald, "Climate capitalism and 'regimes of obstruction'" (Canadian Dimension, 2021)
https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/climate-capitalism-and-regim...

On climate and carbon, the federal Liberals and Conservatives appear in the same chapter. The Alberta (all in) and BC (half in) NDP are on the same page.

On the social agenda, the Liberals and Conservatives wrote completely different books. THAT is the crucial difference.

Disassembling Trudeau's carbon policy for the pulled pork it is (with a few low-hanging-fruit exceptions like a national carbon tax) is easy and quick and provides pages and pages of opportunity for critics who love their lists of sins committed by others. But there is little rational advice said critics have for strategic voters in ridings where Liberals and Conservatives have an equal chance of winning and often do with the narrowest of margins.

Climate is very, very important; it's the issue of this century. But so is healthcare, childcare, EI and a number of other life-saving policies of the commons that also underpin the economy and provide better opportunities for single parents, the elderly, the disadvantaged and others.

Conservatives will dismantle BOTH the climate and social policy structures. Today, that means Harper on steroids -- firing scientists, muzzling environmental critics, closing hospitals, erasing the carbon tax, jacking the subsidies on oil production and export, Stasi-like reporting on the "barbaric" cultural practices of your neighbours, niqabs, the whole shipload of foolish and repeatedly discredited polices -- AND loonie toon conspiracies, Nazi flags, storming the seats of democracy and Trumperor rhetoric.

Those single issue critics who portray climate votes as black and white are not from -- nor understand -- the powerful fluidity of competitive ridings (usually urban) where every vote really does count and where the simple math of first-past-the-post and three+ party dynamics coldly subsumes climate and social principles without blinking. Nor do they understand that other people often have different views and are not as religiously obsessed with them.

Ridings where candidates of whatever brand regularly win with thin margins demonstrates this deep divide between policy and principle. In our electoral system, it is a fact of life. Lecturing others on the holiness of voting for a single issue (climate) at the expense of all other worthy initiatives and from the comfort of uncompetitive, worry-free one-horse political ridings, when a soul-crushing, climate killer Conservative candidate can easily get elected in other ridings on the principled votes for a progressive climate / social activist that actually deduct votes from the main competitor, is insulting, and is frankly quite ignorant of the danger of vote-splitting.

Given the way Conservatives have lately turned to supporting zealots and mob rule on top of the contempt they have indicated for even mentioning climate change in their conventions, and for their record of slash and burn social policies, we can't afford to allow them any chance at winning government.

Vote for the status quo, and the status quo is what we will get.

Or send the Liberals a message:
"We will vote for you if you take climate change seriously and stop propping up the O&G industry. Until then, no thanks. We are not buying what you are selling. We will not vote for climate disaster. Our patience is at an end."

To break the impasse, voters need to look beyond the short term. It's our long-term future that's at stake. When you are climbing a mountain, the trail does not always go up. Sometimes you have to descend a short distance before resuming your upward climb.

Too bad Alex does not have a solution to the problem he poses. To keep the Conservatives at bay, he plans to vote for Liberal climate failure forever.
Climate failure under the Liberal banner is just as deadly as the Conservative brand.
Alex comforts himself with the notion that he is also voting for healthcare, childcare, EI, etc. Enjoy your dental plan, Alex, while you watch your house burn down.

@ Alex Botta: Climate change is not one issue of many. It's existential. Climate is the lens through which all economic and quality-of-life issues must be viewed.
Most of us can survive, for better or worse, with or without Liberal social policies. We can't survive, much less thrive, amid ecosystem collapse.

Our house is on fire. There is only one sane, rational response. Put the fire out. Anything less is failure. Doubling down on fossil fuels in the face of climate change is insanity -- no matter which side proposes it. Survival is non-negotiable.

Well said! The recent Ontario election clearly demonstrates the mess we're in. Less than half of people vote, then we end up with a party in 100% control who received less than 1 in 5 of eligible votes. We need to be marching in the streets demanding Proportional Representation, so that people can vote for who they want and not think 'strategically' about beating the Cons or the Libs, or resigning to the fact that nothing ever changes! PR should also drive collaboration amongst progressive parties and make them more accountable to their constituents, so we can actually accomplish something when it comes to Climate Change.

Thanks for putting paid to claims that this fedeal administration is "aggressively decarbonizing."
The author seems to be a bit confused: Canada's exports of fossil fuels are Canada's "carbon debits" to claim. There is no apparent decarbonization in the Liberal plan that is in any way sufficient to match even the planned increase of petro extraction in the same time frame.
Claiming there is is like calling Doug Ford an environmentalist: Ontario's not all that far behind their carbon reduction goals as of the time he took office and decided all the "future moves" could be cancelled because we'd already come so close to the 2030 goals there was nothing more needed doing till then. Of course, Doug Ford could be called a profound thinker too, though no sane person with a 3 digit IQ would consider doing so.
To the list could be added under-reporting of forestry-related emissions, including forest fires. I've always found it interesting that the bean counters claimed to be able to measure/count/estimate the amount of carbon absorbed by forests, but not the amount released upon burning. It's understandable if they're unable to calculate the amount lost underground. But ... dot dot dot ...
I'm beginning to be annoyed at the persistent claims of Liberal attention to the climate. They do exactly as little as they think they can get away with at election time. And even at that, they lie. Their mandate letters set out directions that are forgotten as soon as they're penned. And we've just financed $10bn more of TMX, because Mr. T's mom and dad were unable, if they tried, to teach him to tell the truth, keep his promises, and admit his mistakes instead of throwing good taxpayer money after bad. Not that in the instance of TMX any of it was a good idea.
But he got away with it. And continues to. And there's no relief in sight.

Author Arno Kopecky quotes Dan Woynillowicz, an energy-transition policy adviser and the founder of Polaris Strategy & Insight, who sees a “stark contrast” in the Liberals' and Conservatives' overall climate policies.

Here is Dan Woynillowicz endorsing the Liberals before the last election on The Observer:
"Each of the climate platform scorecards suggests the Liberals have found the sweet spot, offering a relatively ambitious target coupled with the most credible plan to meet it. Their plan is credible because it builds on their efforts to date.
"… But on Sept. 20, I'll be casting my ballot for the Liberals' climate plan, confident that they're up to the task and committed to the hard work needed to take the next steps forward towards a climate-safe future."
"Now, every election is a climate election and every vote, a climate vote"
https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/09/17/opinion/now-every-election-c...

Maybe next time Mr. Kopecky could quote someone who isn't a Liberal Party cheerleader.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, all true, but as usual your lengthy comments express a personal hatred of Trudeau as much as anything else. The reality REMAINS that the Liberals are the only party with any hope of change, which bringing in the NDP in an agreement shows acknowledgement of what's needed to defeat the deranged right wing. And note what just happened in Ontario's election, not to mention Biden's chances of victory, astonishing as that is under the circumstances. We're approaching a genuine crisis as more and more people turn away from politics, probably the right wing's most successful tactic ultimately so blathering on about the failings on the left is of no use. This article mentions the SIGNIFICANT differences between conservative "climate policy" even in Charest won, which he won't. None of it's enough, we all know that, but constantly ragging on Trudeau and the Liberals completely ignores the absolute horrors of the alternative.

Ms. Pargeter's analysis defies the evidence.
My criticisms of Liberal climate policy, widely shared by any number of voices on the progressive left (v. below), are based on the Liberals' actual climate record — not on any personal animosity toward Trudeau.
Environment Commissioner Jerry DeMarco. Green Party MP Mike Morrice. NDP natural resources critic Charlie Angus. All scathing in their criticism of Liberal climate policy.
The same criticisms apply to the actual record of provincial NDP leaders Rachel Notley in AB and John Horgan in B.C.

Liberal climate policy is dictated by Corporate Canada, the Big Banks, and Big Oil. Justin Trudeau is just the public face of the party in power that serves corporate interests. Liberal climate policy was set in motion long before Trudeau came to office.
Ms. Pargeter's hopes that the Liberals will change their minds if progressives keep voting for them are empty — wishful thinking at best. No evidence that the Liberals offer any prospect but long-term failure on the climate file.
Hopes that the Liberals will change course are unfounded. Why would they change when progressives continue to vote for them? A vote for Trudeau's Liberals rewards them for past failure — and guarantees future failure.

The Liberals, the provincial NDP, and the Conservatives all serve the same masters: Corporate Canada, the Big Banks, and Big Oil. The Liberals just happen to be more effective at delivering on Corporate Canada's agenda.
Unlike the Conservatives, the Liberals lead progressives astray, promoting the falsehood that we can expand fossil fuel production and still meet our emissions targets.
Unlike the Conservatives, the Liberals are in office. Winning three consecutive elections. That is the present danger.
Conservatives cannot be blamed for the Liberals' failure on climate. That failure lands squarely on the shoulders of Trudeau & Co.

If progressives continue to reward the Liberals with their vote, the Liberals have no reason to change. If the Liberals can count on the progressive vote, they will take continue to take progressive voters for granted.
Apologists for and supporters of Liberal/provincial NDP energy/climate policy are enabling disaster, economic as well as environmental. Progressives should not support any party or politicians who lead us over the climate cliff.
Whether we drive over the climate cliff at 100 kmh or 50 kmh, the result is the same.

Canadians are right to reject the Liberals' climate swindle. It is high time.
If I were duped, repeatedly, by the Liberals — I would direct my anger at the Liberals, not at climate activists.

Ms. Pargeter can keep voting Liberal, and I will continue to criticize Liberal (i.e., Corporate Canada's) climate policies. Liberal apologists can take the credit / responsibility for Canada's failure.

"Cracks appear in Liberal-NDP alliance as Singh condemns Ottawa's climate 'failure'" (CBC, Apr 27, 2022)
"Speaking to reporters after the federal environment commissioner released 5 reports critical of the govt's climate policy, Singh said he's deeply concerned about the Liberals' approach to the environment, adding there seems to be a disconnect between rhetoric and reality.
"'The Liberal govt is a failure on the environment,' Singh said.
"'The environment commissioner was scathing, and we believe him. It's not a surprise. Under the Liberals, every single target that's been set has failed to be met. They're not taking this seriously.'
"In response, Singh said the government's emissions plan is 'a complete mess.'"

"Federal watchdog warns Canada's 2030 emissions target may not be achievable" (CBC, Apr 26, 2022)

Seth Klein: "The New Climate Denialism: Time for an Intervention" (The Narwhal, 2016)
https://thenarwhal.ca/new-climate-denialism-time-intervention/

"Thomas Gunton: Canada's new climate plan contains serious gaps" (Apr 07, 2022)
https://vancouversun.com/opinion/thomas-gunton-canadas-new-climate-plan-...

Sabaa Khan & François Delorme: "Canada can and must get out of fossil energy" (National Observer, May 3rd 2022)
https://www.nationalobserver.com/2022/05/03/opinion/canada-climate-polic...

Martin Lukacs: "How Trudeau learned to stop worrying and love the Alberta carbon bomb" (Breach Media, Sep 9 2021)
https://breachmedia.ca/how-trudeau-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the...

Paris Marx: "Justin Trudeau's smoke and mirrors climate policy" (Canadian Dimension, Nov 8, 2021)
Trudeau presented himself as a climate leader at COP26, but he’s nothing of the sort
https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/justin-trudeaus-smoke-and-mi...

David Gray-Donald, "Climate capitalism and 'regimes of obstruction'" (Canadian Dimension, July 27, 2021)
https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/climate-capitalism-and-regim...

David Gray-Donald: "The Liberal Climate Plan Is New Denialist Trash" (Media Co-op, Sep 16, 2021)
https://mediacoop.ca/story/analysis-liberal-climate-plan-new-denialist-t...

Angela V. Carter and Truzaar Dordi, University of Waterloo: "Correcting Canada's 'one eye shut' climate policy" (April 14, 2021)
https://cascadeinstitute.org/technical-paper/correcting-canadas-one-eye-...

Greta Thunberg: "You are failing us but young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you and if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you."
"You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency, but no matter how sad and angry I am I do not want to believe that because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil, and that I refuse to believe." (2019)

UN Secretary General António Guterres (April 2022): "[The latest IPCC report] is a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unlivable world." (2022)
"Some government and business leaders are saying one thing – but doing another."
"Simply put, they are lying. And the results will be catastrophic."
"But high-emitting governments and corporations are not just turning a blind eye; they are adding fuel to the flames."
"Investing in new fossil fuels infrastructure is moral and economic madness."

I appreciate Mr. Pounder's references but, ultimately, "All the References in the World", alone, won't pave the road to the Promised Land (to mangle a few metaphors).

Please allow this momentary digression.

I'm working my way through the 2-volume "Trudeau and Our Times", which I'm finding a fascinating read. One thing that is striking to me -- in this context of deciding which political wagons and ideas to hitch our horses to -- is (was?) the bench strength of the LPC. It's easy to refer to this as "the backroom boys" of yore but I think that it -- the B.S., as it were -- is broader than that. One specific anecdote relates to the work done by certain individuals within the party in '79 to limit the inevitable victory of the federal PCs under Joe Clark to a minority, and subsequently stage manage the return of Trudeau -- who had resigned as party leader following the election loss -- to a subsequent majority following the budget vote that brought down Clark. It was during that Second Coming, recall, that Trudeau's constitutional legacy was established. That likely would not have occurred without the party bench strength; specifically, according to the book, it was the vision and work of two -- mainly one, perhaps -- party individuals who were not elected representatives.

All that to say that it is the strength of an organization that largely determines success. In addition to goid ideas.

One can certainly argue the desired principles of economics and social structures and the (lack of?) ecological understanding upon which the LPC ideology, such as it is, rests -- and, indeed, whether or not they simply like power for power's sake and will say anything to retain it -- but the strength of the organization is compelling.

If only they were as forward-thinking and progressive as their press releases suggest.

To make brief comment on the Greens and NDP.

The Greens are a vital voice to have in parliament in a sufficiently critical mass; however, the notion that they are presently in a position to form a government is ridiculous. IMO, they should NOT hold it as a virtue to run candidates in every riding. Instead, I believe they should concentrate on offering a few excellent candidates in a few promising ridings (and suggest "best" alternatives elsewhere). This would reassure voters that the Greens are not "in danger" of, by some fluke, prematurely forming the government and it would therefore "be safe" to vote for the local candidate. After all, is it ultimately more important to run candidates or to have (an increasing number of) MPs in parliament? 2 or 3 is not enough, regardless of how hard they work.

The NDP -- and this is why I am very skeptical of any suggestion that Greens and NDP merge -- I see as merely the flipside of the coin which has the LPC/CPC on the obverse. Same underlying economics, same industrial extraction foundation, same inequality but with just a little more of the wealth thrown out to the workers; just enough to keep the pitchforks in the barn.

I know, a jaundiced view.

I hold out hope that proportional representation will be enacted while it will still be of use.

Do you live here? Reality check: it's still about numbers, and it's STILL a horse race at this point. Do you just like arguing for the sake of it for gods' sake? I'll vote Liberal because of that reality and you will vote for WHOM? The NDP? They have never been in power federally despite how many attempts and for whatever reasons which is clearly a tough thing to change. I vote for them here in Alberta and voted Green in Victoria, so it's not just the party or the leader, it's the circumstances and the reality before us.

Re: "Liberal climate policy is dictated by Corporate Canada, the Big Banks, and Big Oil." You forgot Big Auto and Big Meat and Dairy.

It was an election in which neither the Liberals nor the NDP had credible platforms, and in which both of them ran a really poor and ill-advised campaign.
It might be a good thing if Polievre wins: he can alienate everyone but the alt.right.

Unfortunately, Trudeau's not going to change, and he's not likely to be booted out as leader as long as he wins elections. It's not a hate-on, it's just having watched what he does as long as he's done it. Ultimately, he says different words than Ford, but their actions aren't an awful lot different vis a vis climate.

And doubly unfortunately, at this point, we don't have time to let the Cons win in '25 to make it clear that we held our collective noses in the last election. Or didn't vote. When there's no real choice, or all the choices are bad ones, people don't vote. I've been tempted to write in my own name on the ballot, with the explanation that I'd be a lousey leader, but not as bad as any of the choices offered.

And still I blame the education system. If everyone understood very basic maths, it would be clear that just getting to zero (let alone "net zero") at a minute to midnight on New Year's Eve 2049 doesn't do it. My guess is that Mr. T doesn't understand, either, that it's the area under the curve that counts, not where the curve crosses the x-axis.

I've been toying with the idea of turning my garage door into an elementary explainer on the BS doing the rounds. If I changed it out every couple of weeks, it might encourage ppl to think a bit logically about it. And stop flying.

Please note, re: "Roman Baber may not have a snowball’s chance in a 3 C world of becoming the next Conservative leader."

No one has a snowball's chance of surviving a 3ºC world, let alone being a political leader in it.

Oh, and Monsieur Charest, you can't have zero carbon emissions in 2050 AND still be burning fossil fuels in 2050. Just wanted to point out that little mathematical reality. (And "net zero" is nothing but a dangerous boondoggle.)

Nobody with any power or influence in Canada is taking this seriously.

Quite a long article/opinion piece that I soon lost interest in following this snippet which contains two assertions that are clearly wrong:

"It’s true that replacing a difficult goal with an easier one improves the achievement odds. Whether that strategy also alleviates public cynicism is debatable.

"Still, Charest and his co-conspirators are correct about at least one thing: Canadians are no longer willing to elect a party without a serious climate policy."

First, it is not, necessarily, true that "replacing a difficult goal with an easier one improves the achievement odds." Human response to a lesser challenge can be a lesser effort applied which could result in even the lesser goal being missed.

Second, the author's "I Heart-ing" of the Canadian electorate notwithstanding, the recent re-election of the Ford government in Ontario tosses into the bin the author's assertion that "Canadians are no longer willing to elect a party without a serious climate policy."

There was not much point in continuing to read what remained.

I guess if you replace a difficult goal with an easier one, it's easier to make up the plan to not reach it, than to make up the plan to not reach the harder goal.

However, having a goal of arriving at the docks after the ship has sailed is no better than having no goal at all, in practical terms.

Politicians and media are very used to things that come up, and then go away, because that's the nature of human foible and stupidity: there's always something stupider to get eyeballs on the ads.

Until politicians treat the whole thing of climate change as an existential challenge, rather than as an "election issue, maybe #5 on the list" we're dead, my friends!

I can't understand how thinking people have the heart to have children these days. But still want grandchildren, myself. Wanting and loving are two different things, though. I don't understand how the politicians with young children can see their faces, and then go out and do nothing much if anything about climate change. Or, like ours do, make climate change worse.

We need more than a grudging policy. The Conservative party needs to accept responsibility and make a break with its past. We need a fulsome apology for the years of denial and deception and obstruction. Their irresponsible counter-attacks have lulled large swaths of our electorate into complacency and set Canada back years.