While I understand why the opposition parties, including the Liberal Party, are trying to tie Maxime Bernier's 450-word climate change treatise in today's La Presse to Stephen Harper's inaction on the file, I'm not buying it. This is no trial balloon. Bernier is setting the groundwork to run for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. This was all about Bernier and his political career.
He understands that (a) he will never be admitted back into Harper's cabinet; and (b) there is a significant constituency within the CPC for whom being a "climate change sceptic" (the mere term is as absurd as claiming to be a "round Earth sceptic") makes Bernier a political hero in a Sarah Palin-like manner. This is his version of being a maverick. Vapid? That's an elitist question that ordinary Canadians aren't interested in. Attractive? Sure. Ready to throw red meat to the base regardless of "facts" or "evidence"? You betcha.
For shicks and giggles, read Palin's pre-Copenhagen op-ed from December in the Washington Post and compare it to Bernier's argument (such as it is) in his letter today.
On why the cost of taking action far outweighs the gravity of the problem:
Palin: "We can't say with assurance that man's activities cause weather changes. We can say, however, that any potential benefits of proposed emissions reduction policies are far outweighed by their economic costs."
Bernier: "It would certainly be irresponsible to spend billions of dollars and impose exaggeratedly severe regulations to solve a problem whose gravity we're still far from discerning."
On why mavericks like Palin and Bernier with "alternative" theories are finally being listened to:
Palin: "With the publication of damaging e-mails from a climate research center in Britain, the radical environmental movement appears to face a tipping point. The revelation of appalling actions by so-called climate change experts allows the American public to finally understand the concerns so many of us have articulated on this issue. "
Bernier: "The debate over climate change, stifled for years by political correctness, has finally broken out in the media...the numerous recent revelations on errors by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have supplemented the alternative theories put forward for many years."
On why Copenhagen is like the kissing disease and should be avoided at all costs:
Palin: "Without trustworthy science and with so much at stake, Americans should be wary about what comes out of this politicized conference. The president should boycott Copenhagen."
Bernier: " Canada may have taken a beaten by environmentalists at last year's Copenhagen conference, but he says it would have been wrong to take a deep plunge into regulating greenhouse gases."