Down in the polls, the Liberals went on the offensive on Day 2 of the Conservative Party of Canada’s policy convention in Quebec City.

“Frankly, it's very easy to attack Pierre Poilievre on the environment,” federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said Friday morning. Guilbeault first made a statement in French and then took questions from members of the media outside the Quebec City Convention Centre.

The official leader of the Opposition considers himself a political leader, yet is someone “who does not believe that we should be doing anything about climate change,” he added.

“Yet again, [Thursday] he falsely claimed that Ottawa is working to take away Quebecers’ money to send it to Ottawa on carbon pricing,” said Guilbeault, referring to comments Poilievre made in a speech to caucus members ahead of the convention on Sept. 7.

“This is false,” Guilbeault said with emphasis. The Quebec government has its own robust carbon-pricing system, which Guilbeault said he worked on when he was in the environmental movement in Quebec.

“So false claims, denying science, I mean, we've played in that movie before.”

The environment minister also said the Conservatives’ framing of his recent trip to Beijing for a meeting of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development is misleading.

The minister said his appearance outside the convention was because the Conservatives didn’t invite any Liberal political observers to the event, a courtesy often extended by various parties.

Down in the polls, the Liberals went on the offensive on Day 2 of the Conservative Party of Canada’s policy convention in Quebec City.

Right now, the Conservatives are up in the polls and Poilievre’s personal ratings are positive, according to Abacus Data’s latest national survey.

“Obviously, the Liberals are under a lot of pressure to send a minister to go out on the attack,” said Alex Marland, a professor of Canadian politics at Acadia University. “They're worried … they see Poilievre and the Conservatives as a threat. If they did not see them as a threat, then they wouldn't bother.”

Over the course of the summer, both Poilievre and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did things to try to change the narrative. Trudeau did a cabinet shuffle, and Poilievre leaned into advertising and “a bit of an image makeover,” said Marland. There’s a lot of other things going on, like housing issues, but at this point, Poilievre is ahead in the polls, which “suggests that whatever the Liberals are doing at the moment, it's not working, hence the strategy to come out and go on the attack,” he added.

Guilbeault is a logical choice — it “wouldn't make sense to have somebody from outside Quebec go,” said Marland. Hammering on environment and climate issues also makes sense, given Quebecers are generally more concerned about climate change than those living in other provinces, he added.

Poilievre’s stance on climate change has largely been limited to talk of “technology, not taxation,” with few specifics on exactly what the plan would be, beyond repealing the federal carbon price, approving more oil and gas projects and supporting carbon capture and nuclear.

Aside from a resolution to repeal the federal carbon price, the list of policy resolutions for the Conservatives’ 2023 convention does include a few climate-adjacent items. One submission proposed a statement about promoting alternative energy and transition fuels but was modified to remove references to wind, solar, geothermal, biodiesel and other renewable energy sources. The modified resolution says in a gradual transition to a lower-carbon future, a Conservative government “will support the continued use of oil and gas while encouraging research and development” for “dependable and economical options, including carbon capture technology, battery-based storage, small modular reactors, and hydrogen-based generation.”

Policy resolutions are developed by the party’s grassroots members and then approved by local electoral district associations before being discussed and put to a vote. Policy resolutions aren’t binding, and Poilievre doesn’t have to campaign based on the resolutions passed this weekend.

Poilievre and his staff have yet to answer questions about the party’s climate policy posed by Canada’s National Observer.

In August, his communications team had to cancel a handful of events — often billed as “axe the tax” rallies, in reference to federal carbon pricing — planned in B.C. and Yukon due to wildfires. Canada’s National Observer’s application for media accreditation was denied without explanation by Conservative Party of Canada director of communications Sarah Fischer. Fischer informed Canada’s National Observer of the option to pay $1,700 to attend the 2023 policy convention as a non-member observer. Journalists from The Maple and The Breach were also reportedly denied accreditation.

Outside the Conservative policy convention, Guilbeault was asked why the carbon tax hasn’t stopped extreme events like wildfires and hurricanes.

“This question, which I've heard in the House of Commons by many Conservative Party members, including Pierre Poilievre, is yet another example of the fundamental disbelief that you have in climate science and in science, full stop,” said Guilbeault.

“We won't solve climate change overnight and we certainly won't solve climate change with empty slogans. It's going to take years of hard work to tackle this environmental crisis, and the fact that you believe that somehow we can flick a switch on a wall and everything's going to be fine just shows the total ignorance that you and many others have when it comes to the issue of climate change.”

Natasha Bulowski / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer

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"Environment minister calls Pierre Poilievre ‘easy to attack’ on environmental record"
Pot, meet kettle.
Not sure what the Liberals' strong suit is, but it's not the environment or climate.

Climate Action Tracker's 2022 report rates Canada's efforts overall as "highly insufficient". Same rating since 2011 -- in every year but one.
Canada's emissions record is worse than its G7 and G20 peers.
Canadians produce more GHG emissions per person than any other G20 economy. Canada produces almost 3x more GHGs per capita than the average bloc member.
"Canada among worst offenders as world falls short of climate-change targets" (CBC)

As detailed by Observer columnist Barry Saxifrage, Canada is a climate laggard, not a leader:
"Canada's fossil-fuelled sprint away from climate safety"
"Canada is a rogue super-emitter"
"Wrong-way Canada emitting more while our G7 peers clean up"
"'Electrify everything'? Canada cranks fossil burning instead"

Climate leaders don't build pipelines, much less buy them. You don't build oilsands export pipelines unless you are banking on climate disaster.

Up until the last minute before Pres. Biden cancelled Keystone XL, the Trudeau govt was still advertising that Canada's climate plan had room for new export pipelines transporting oilsands bitumen.
Kirsten Hillman, Canada's ambassador to the U.S.: "Keystone XL fits within Canada's climate plan" (National Observer, 2021)

"Feds approve offshore oil project days after IPCC begged world to say no to oil and gas" (National Observer, 2022)
Canada continues to ramp up oil and LNG exports, as well as maintain coal and petcoke exports.

Under Liberal leadership, Canada continues to be a climate laggard. Not on track to meet our inadequate targets. Paying lip service to science. Transferring billions of dollars from public coffers to largely foreign O&G shareholders. Making the public pay for O&G carbon reduction, as well as clean-up and reclamation.
Investing tens of billions of dollars in white elephants like carbon capture (CCS), SMRs, and blue hydrogen to keep the oilsands industry afloat.
Canada's idea is to "green" (i.e., greenwash) its fossil fuels, not get off them.

Canada grossly underreports its O&G industry emissions. Canada uses creative accounting to hide its logging industry emissions, which rank close behind the oilsands industry's.
"Government accounting masks carbon emissions from forestry" (CP)
"An analysis suggests Canada is using questionable methods to dramatically underestimate greenhouse gas emissions from the forestry industry, which it says equal those from Alberta's oilsands in some years."

"Canada is a continually bad actor on the global stage, despite protests that Justin Trudeau is ruining the oilsands. Drawing on research from Quebec's French-language newspaper Le Devoir, the New Democratic Party has argued Trudeau has been kinder to Big Oil than Stephen Harper ever was. He has also been crueller to the most vulnerable."
"Oil and gas approvals spell ecocide" (National Observer, Aug 18 2023)

The Liberals' climate plan is criticized across the spectrum for its duplicity.
"Federal watchdog warns Canada's 2030 emissions target may not be achievable" (CBC, 2022)

"Canada's billions in fossil fuel subsidies under mounting scrutiny" (National Observer, 2023)

Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development Jerry DeMarco calls out the Liberals on their "policy incoherence" on climate.
"… Canada is the only G7 country to have higher emissions today than when … all industrial countries came together in 1992 to fight climate change. Since 1990, 'no other G7 country has [had] any increase in emissions. All of the others have decreased from say two per cent to close to 40 per cent, so we're really an outlier."

Trudeau and the Liberal power players behind the scenes are sincere fossil fuel boosters and reluctant climate warriors — not the other way around.
Trudeau (2016): "There is growth to be had in the oilsands. They will be developing more fossil fuels while there's a market for it, while we transition off fossil fuels."
Trudeau (2017): "No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there."

"UN leader slams 'dangerous radicals' increasing oil and gas production"
U.N. Secretary-General Guterres: "It is a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unlivable world."
"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."

"Angela Carter[, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo and a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador government's Net-Zero Advisory Council] said moving the [Bay du Nord] project forward makes any climate commitments a 'farce' and noted the latest IPCC report stressed the need for no new fossil fuel projects.
"'We know based on the analysis from the IPCC ... that there's simply no room in the carbon budget for any more new projects. So I don't know how, I don't know why it is that we somehow get to defy science.'

Geoff Dembicki: "How Trudeau's Broken Promises Fuel the Growth of Canada's Right" (The Tyee)

When it comes to oilsands and fossil fuel expansion, Notley, Horgan, Trudeau, Kenney, O'Toole, Harper, Scheer, and Poilievre are all on the same page.

The petro-progressive provincial NDP and federal Liberals are not in a tug-of-war with Conservatives over climate. They are dance partners. The NDP and Liberals promote fossil-fuel expansion and take science-based policy off the table. This allows the "conservatives" to shift even further right, doubling down on denial and fossil fuel intransigence. But it's Notley and Trudeau who shift the Overton window. It's Notley and Trudeau who shut down the space for effective science-based policy.
The climate plans of the NDP and Liberals are premised on fossil-fuel expansion. It's the NDP and Liberals who ignore the science and undermine the climate movement.

When Danielle Smith jams a wrench into the spokes of renewables, or Poilievre promises to axe the tax, progressives fight back. When the NDP and Liberals build pipelines, progresses applaud or stay silent. "At least, it's not the Conservatives."
Party supporters, more partisan than patriots, falsely view the Libs and Cons as diametrical opposites. Good and evil. False duality. In reality, Trudeau and Poilievre are the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of climate disaster. Both parties serve Corporate Canada. Only the Liberals are far more effective.

So to fix all of these issues which have been building since before Diefenbaker was in office and ignored by EVERY government up until Trudeau’s, we should vilify the Liberals who have at the very least started to do SOMETHING, along with the NDP who of course those who have no understanding of just how the Westminster system of governance works, thinks are nothing but compliant lap dogs, and instead elect a political party that would immediately tear apart EVERYTHING that has up until this moment been done to mitigate even slightly the effects of climate change? Or elect the Greens? A political party that after 40 years of existence still can’t figure out how to BE a political party and function as a cohesive machine internally? They might be environmentalists but they are virtually just conservatives who drive EV’S and they have NO idea how to run any part of government! If they can’t operate their own party without constant infighting how on earth are they going to run a country, especially since their ONLY reason for existence is to stop climate change. What plans do they have for immigration, housing, working with our Allies, NATO and the war in Ukraine, reigning in the monolithic social media giants, pandemic preparedness, education, transfer payments, negotiating with the Premiers, etc?

Well said Alexis. Perspective. Thank you.

I think the point is that if we stay on the path of the Liberals, we can expect at least 3 degrees of warming and probably civilizational collapse. Certainly, the low lying island nations will be gone - along with millions of humans and billions of members of other species. On that path, we would need to be exceptionally lucky if we don't cross major tipping points that, for example, will leave the world with no arctic sea ice or Greenland ice sheet, no coral and no Amazon Rainforest; the science suggests otherwise.

That's a criminal path.

Sure the Conservatives are even worse, but does it really matter? Maybe. Every tenth of a degree probably matters in the 1.5 to 2.5 degree heating scenarios, but it's not certain that that will be the case on the Liberal trajectory.

The Liberals have a way of hiding this negligence; the Conservatives are shamelessly open. Perhaps the latter affords the best chance for people to rise up - the only way we're going to stop/slow this.

We should not trust any political party at this point - we should take to the streets in huge numbers and force all parties to get very serious, very quickly. Start with us on the 15th, 16th or 17 in the End Fossil Fuels: Fast. Fair. Forever actions. There must be an action near you!

I am more heartened by the role pure economics will play to stick it carbon than by protests led by frequent flying millionaire climate activists and best selling authors.

Renewables are outcompeting all fossil fuels everywhere. Politicos like Dannielle Smith are angry and terrified about that to the point of nearly, but not quite, banning them from Alberta. Thirty three billion dollars and 5,000+ employees in Alberta's wind and solar industries are not exactly an invisible force. Their money and contribution to the Prairie economy -- let alone power to directly displace carbon emissions -- will be badly missed one day before this decade is through should the moratorium become permanent.

Naomi Klein says Biden's IRA year-old policy is not enough and wrote many unkind paragraphs about the USA's tepid progressive presence in Washington on climate policy. Well, take a second look next year, then, because the Act is in its infancy. It's having a profound effect on the stuff that will lower and hopefully defeat liquid petroleum fuels by the early or mid-30s. Just recently the largest lithium deposit in the world was discovered ... in Nevada. And lithium will be replaced by even cheaper and more abundant and benign salt and silicon soon enough.

The Alberta and the world's oil industries need cars, gas tanks and gas power plants and furnaces to survive. Coal has peaked in China, the world's largest consumer of the stuff, and is being replaced by the nation's own solar and wind. EVs, renewables, and grid-scale batteries will chew them up on price alone, let alone efficiency. So will better quality urbanism. All these efforts, warts and all, are bound to make a difference.

Michael Mann is a climate scientist who I respect more than any professional bookseller, protestor, political party sins data base builder or progressive shit disturber who loves infighting with her/his peers, calculated that if emissions stopped increasing, then the planet's temperature will stabilize at a plateau then start decreasing within ~30 years as the oceans and terrestrial plants slowly absorb more carbon. Thirty years to stop the increase, and thirty years to begin the stabilization and decrease. That's three generations away, and obviously today's politics and protest angst are not up to the job of making happen sooner, but economics just just be. The IEA has the data on the economic power of renewables which is building more proof every year that it is becoming a very powerful force for change.

No need to "vilify" the Liberals. Their record speaks for itself.
It is essential to identify the dynamic between the Liberals and Conservatives. Far from being polar opposites, the two parties agree on and promote fossil-fuel expansion and climate failure. The Liberals' duplicity on this file enables the Conservatives to move further right.

As Naomi Klein observes:

"For all of [Naomi] Klein's blistering critiques of right-wing conservatives, it's the liberal moderates who elicit in her a particular frustration. Last year, she wrote that the Biden administration had to be 'dragged kicking and screaming into passing the Inflation Reduction Act — flawed as it is.' The I.R.A. is the biggest climate legislation in American history, garnering comparisons to the Green New Deal, but in an email to me, Klein maintained it isn't enough: 'We can't afford to celebrate half measures in an emergency.' This has been a consistent talking point in her work: that incrementalism is not just insufficient but often damaging. In 'Doppelganger,' she declares that the political chaos of the last several years is partly the fault of centrists who sound the alarm about problems like climate change but then fail to act accordingly. 'One form of denialism feeds the other,' she writes. 'The outright denialism in the Mirror World is made thinkable by the baseline war on words and meaning in more liberal parts of our culture.'"
"When Your 'Doppelganger' Becomes a Conspiracy Theorist" (NYT, Aug. 30, 2023)

I haven't read Naomi Klein's book yet but Naomi Wolf, her doppelganger, came off as a solid feminist/progressive, and although we tend to link those two normally, she diverged and jumped to the right, possibly for more public attention that was waning in her case, but still an unexpected and unsavoury U-turn it would seem.
But in an interview with Jia Tolentino from the New Yorker what I got from Naomi Klein was how deceptively appealing and mildly addictive Steve Bannon's podcast was, and how "cuddly" he was/is to his listeners, even to HER of all people, which she found baffling enough to become quite covert about it with her husband, but was honest about it, and a bit worried, so wanted to explore that in her book. The banality of evil kind of thing came to mind, and how susceptible many obviously are in the current, unprecedented context of "poly crises." She also comes off as TOO tribal, die-hard NDP, connoting a certain blinkering that even someone as brilliant and nuanced as her still doesn't seem to recognize.
After the NDP unexpectedly lost here in Alberta last time, I read some theorizing about the NDP possibly identifying more with and being addicted to "losing," maybe because of the heroic martyrdom embedded in that, which it happens to have in common with Christianity? There IS massive solidarity and comfort in that identity. But despite them being right all along, as was the "Leap Manifesto," Alexis reminds us AGAIN that, all emotion aside, the Westminster system of governance is inarguably the system we currently HAVE, so have NO CHOICE but to work within!
We're on a knife edge here politically because of the ongoing vagaries and weaknesses of human nature as it is, we don't need to fall in with mindless tribalism, blaming the Liberals for every bloody thing! Steven Guilbeault is bona fide and was selected by Trudeau, he's working on the cap, Trudeau and the Liberals are absolutely part of the agreement with the NDP that is giving us the precious time needed for the inexplicable excitement around PP to hopefully flame out naturally.
Not NEAR enough credit or recognition is given to the reality of having to not only work within our system but ON that knife edge AND having to counter unalloyed obstructionism CONSTANTLY in the form of rabid conservatives who are completely irrational, to put it mildly.

Well said.

We do not have perfect or even good choices in our politicians or the electoral system. The quality of the parties are all in the low to middling range. So let's hammer the best politicians of a poor bunch, shall we, and leave the conservatives alone to their gutter ideology and flamethrower policies toward all social programs without criticism? That seems to be Geoffrey Pounder's modus operandi, which inadvertently causes Poilievre's mouth to twitch in a momentary smirk.

Perfection exists only in heaven, if heaven exists at all. Otherwise, we are left to choose the leaders who will do the least damage through a highly inadequate system.

This comment was meant in reply to Alexis Thuillier.

Alex Botta: "We do not have perfect or even good choices in our politicians or the electoral system. The quality of the parties are all in the low to middling range."

Citizens must demand better. Hold politicians and parties to account. Citizens can voice their displeasure with government and party policies by writing letters, taking part in protests, and voting.
Voting for Liberal failure election after election enables, rewards, and ensures failure. The Liberals have no reason to change course if people keep voting for them, especially out of fear of the loathed conservatives. If you want the Liberals to keep failing on climate, keep voting for them.
Vote for the status quo, and the status quo is what you get.
Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Isn't that the definition of insanity?

Unfortunately, Mr. Botta has no strategy to challenge or improve Liberal party policy. He plans to vote Liberal forever because to him the alternative seems even worse.
Is it?

GP: "When Danielle Smith jams a wrench into the spokes of renewables, or Poilievre promises to axe the tax, progressives fight back. When the NDP and Liberals build pipelines, progresses applaud or stay silent. 'At least, it's not the Conservatives.'"
In fact, the federal Liberals and provincial NDP parties (AB and B.C.) have proven far more effective than the Conservatives in delivering on Big Oil's agenda.

Which is worse? Climate sabotage on the right — or betrayal by "progressive" parties?
Who's worse on climate? The deniers who deny their house is on fire, or the deniers who accept their house is on fire, but throw fuel on the flames — then stand back and watch it burn?

Trudeau, Notley, and Horgan did something else Harper and Kenney could never do: lead progressives over the climate cliff. Many of their acolytes now embrace fossil-fuel expansion.
When Harper and Kenney says no to a shift away from fossil fuels, the progressive option is still ON the table.
When Trudeau and Notley say no, they took the progressive option OFF the table.
When Harper and Kenney deny the science, progressives reject their arguments and head in the opposite direction.
When Trudeau and Notley deny the science, progressives accept their arguments and enable their climate sabotage.

Fossil-fuel expansion will lead us over the climate cliff, whether under the petro-progressive or conservative flag. The Conservatives' explicit denialism is loud and strident. No incoherence in Poilievre's pronouncements on climate. Progressives rightly reject it.

The Liberals' implicit denialism is far more devious. Dressing up oilsands pipelines with carbon tax schemes that shield O&G producers from effective carbon pricing. Saying one thing and doing another.
The new denialism. Just as delusional as the old kind but more insidious. And far more dangerous.
"The New Climate Denialism: Time for an Intervention" (The Narwhal, 2016)

When I criticize the Liberals on climate, I stand in good company, as the sources quoted above attest. I stand at the back of a long line of critics.
"REALITY CHECK: Climate crisis: Justin Trudeau worse than Harper" (NDP, 2021)

Holding governments and politicians to account is a basic civic responsibility. Criticizing the Liberals on climate in no way signals support for Conservatives. Obviously, if I reject the Liberals' plan to fail on climate, I also reject the Conservatives' efforts to do likewise.

GP: "Far from being polar opposites, the two parties agree on and promote fossil-fuel expansion and climate failure. The Liberals' duplicity on this file enables the Conservatives to move further right."
One can scarcely overestimate the importance of this dynamic. When petro-progressive parties abandon science-based policy, that allows conservatives to shift further right. That initial failure is on petro-progressives like Trudeau and Notley and Horgan — not Harper, Scheer, Kenney, Smith, and Poilievre.

Geoff Dembicki: "How Trudeau's Broken Promises Fuel the Growth of Canada's Right" (The Tyee)
The Liberals are hardly blameless in the surge in Conservative support in Canada. On the contrary. Liberal duplicity and policy failure are essential to Conservative fortunes. That's what Liberal partisans miss.

Too bad Mr. Botta 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.
Mr. Botta 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.

Neil Chantler, a defence attorney who represented numerous clients arrested at protests of the Trans Mountain pipeline: "These environmental disputes, these resource extraction cases that have been before the courts so often in the last 10 years, are a failure of government, and the failure of government is a result of people voting for these governments."
"A 'revolt' against the court may be why B.C. is prosecuting 19 arrested on Wet'suwet'en territory" (The Narwhal)


No, I have never voted or planned to vote Liberal "forever." Nor do I intend to.

That comment is merely projecting someone else's words into my mouth and thoughts into my head. You are not a ventriloquist or mind reader.

Strategic voting thrives in competitive ridings. It's a mystery how intelligent critics can be so blind to the mechanics of three-way races. It worked marvelously to see Harper off to a generously pensioned retirement on 2015 after wreaking great damage. It will work again, one day, after the Liberals are hammered into the ground by the electorate fueled by untold criticism of his weak climate policy and Poilievre has his way for a couple of terms.

I would hope you will maintain your sharp documentation and list-making skills over the next decade to compare Poilievre's deeds to Trudeau's and measure the huge chasm between them.

The only acceptable alternative to strategic voting in my particular riding and under our particular voting system is to stay home and up my critical commentary game, or just forget about politics altogether and concentrate on creative pursuits while the world passes by.

This is bracing:

It takes Aussie satirists to pull the Band-Aid off.

That it does :)

Too bad the political parties aren't listening...

Though the conservatives would be 100 times worse when it comes to climate change, the Liberals could do less talking and more action. Pierre the snake oil salesman and the CPC still won't acknowledge that climate change is real and are still more interested in pushing more oil & gas. Pierre talks about technology as a solution, but that is just his snake oil message from an industry that uses that for greenwashing. Neither side has any interest in solving the emissions problem, and nor will technology either.

Personally, though I do my best to not be part of the problem, I am convinced we have passed the point of return with climate change. Sure, we can slow it down, but there will be a lot worse to come before things potential will get better. Every year breaks records around the globe, 2024 or later won't be any better.

The government has done a bad job getting the message across what climate change means to everyone living on our planet. Just because someone personally doesn't experience the effects, doesn't mean it isn't real or just a hoax. The nonsense on social media which is nothing short of a disease, constantly pushes disinformation at every turn on climate change. We do know the conservatives with their 3rd part trolls and the oil & gas industry are behind a lot of the disinformation.

I feel sorry for the next generation who will feel the brunt of climate change, whereas, my days are numbered given my age, but I suspect I will experience the effects of climate change more before I exit this world.