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Leona Aglukkaq may be good at reading a newspaper, but she isn’t good at setting emissions reductions targets. That’s not to say that she’s alone—recent Conservative Environment Ministers have a pitiful record of setting and meeting emissions reduction targets, but it does show that she’s bad at her job. Her biggest problem seems to be that she doesn’t know what she is doing.

As countries around the world prepare pledges and set goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Aglukkaq is content watching the action unfold from the sidelines. Despite her Prime Minister’s oft-repeated commitment to work with the U.S. and to match American action, all remains quiet on the Canadian climate front. Sure, the U.S. just announced a huge climate deal with China, but Canada isn’t moving forward to match that action unless it “makes sense.”

Aglukkaq’s comments suggest that Canada doesn’t want to match the newest U.S. targets since that would require action in the oil and gas industry. Canada has refused to regulate the oil and gas sector for 8 years despite the fact that it emits more greenhouse gas than any other sector of the Canadian economy. Does that “make sense?”


Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq and Prime Minister Stephen Harper tour the Athabasca tar sands.

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq and Prime Minister Stephen Harper tour the Athabasca tar sands.
Dan Power/Fubar II Productions Ltd.


It’s hard to justify inaction in 2014, which is on pace to become the warmest year on record. Yet all evidence suggests that Canada will fail to meet its 2020 emissions reductions target. Badly. Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand says that Canada will fail because we refuse to regulate the oil and gas sector, and because we never developed an official plan to meet our 2020 targets. As though completely deaf to evidence and scientific consensus, we stand around without a plan, looking confused and refusing to regulate oil and gas. This feels like a recurring nightmare.

No one with half a brain and access to internet ever thought that this government was serious about tackling climate change. Still, everyone thought that Harper and Co. might move if the U.S. picked up some slack. Today, we know that belief was a fallacy. Canada is “increasingly isolated” in climate negotiations even though most Canadians fear the consequences of climate change. In fact, an Environics poll found that over half of the Canadian population supports a tax on carbon emissions. That should be enough to encourage our government to act. So what is Aglukkaq saying about regulating the oil and gas sector? She says that Canada must work with the United States to develop regulations. This is an era of legendary disbelief.