George W Strawman II

The Tories released their Clean Air Act yesterday. Like 99.9% of Canadians, I haven’t read through the details yet but it seems that the media is particularly hostile to it, along with environmental groups. Luckily, they’ll use the old standby for criticizing Canadian conservative policy: George W Bush, of course!

George W Bush is unpopular in Canada because of the Iraq war and has low approval numbers in the US too. Like virtually all Canadians, I haven’t read the Clean Air Act, but thankfully the media, NGOs and Jack Layton will use Canadian dislike for George Bush to bring us up to speed on how we’re supposed to feel about the proposed Conservative legislation on clean air.

“The proposed federal regulations presented today by the Harper government line up with the outdated and weak standards of the Bush Administration, not the stringent standards of the state of California” — The Sierra Club

The government strategy also misses the point that in today’s world, the battle against global warming is an iconic cause on par with the war on international terrorism. To witness the passionate crusade led by former American vice-president Al Gore for more action on climate change.

But then it could be that it is much easier for Harper to borrow a page from George W. Bush on fighting terrorism than one from a Democrat such as Al Gore on fighting climate change. – Chantel Hebert, Toronto Star, Oct 20th, 2006

The Conservatives’ plan is similar to one announced three years ago by U.S. President George W. Bush, who called for an 18 per cent reduction in emission intensity by 2012.

Bush argues any attempt to cut emissions would harm the U.S. economy, particularly because two major competitors, China and India, aren’t bound by the Kyoto Protocol to reduce theirs. – Peter Gorrie, Toronto Star, Oct 12th, 2006

Canada’s commitment to the Kyoto Accord is being ignored, and Harper is following George Bush‘s lead in working on smaller green issues while climate change isn’t directly addressed. — Midland Free Press, October 18th 2006

Some environmentalists saw the minister’s insistence on legislation as little more than a stalling move reminiscent of tactics used by U.S. President George W. Bush. The Conservatives insist their approach amounts to an effort to inject some accountability into pollution-fighting efforts. — Red Deer Advocate, October 11th, 2006

The Harper government has closely aligned itself with the American philosophy, which in environmental terms is not really the type of neighbourhood in which you would want to raise your children. Under George Bush, the Americans firmly believe global warming is largely a media creation, national parks should be harvested for their natural resources and the Alaskan wilderness is only there so it can be tapped for oil. — Chatham Daily News, October 20th, 2006

But environmentalists noted the intensity-based approach, also adopted in the U.S. by President George W. Bush and by the provincial government in Alberta, make it easy for large industries to increase emissions and still meet their reduction targets when the economy is growing. — Ian Bailey and Mike De Souza, Canwest, October 11th, 2006

Its targets have been consigned to the recycling bin by Ambrose, although she insists her government still subscribes to the international climate accord. She also (echoing an argument from the Bush administration) says technological advances, including storing carbon emissions underground, may accelerate progress on greenhouse gases. — Susan Riley, Ottawa Citizen, October 20, 2006

For example, at the first hint that Ontario carmakers might be forced to further restrict tailpipe admissions last week, Premier Dalton McGuinty — an alleged green champion — was warning Ambrose to back off.

He was supported by another nominal “progressive,” union leader Buzz Hargrove. The autoworkers boss claimed that if the Big Three are dragged, protesting all the way, into the future, and an era of more energy-efficient vehicles, they will be driven out of business — taking thousands of jobs and the Ontario economy down with them. George W. Bush couldn’t have said it better. – Susan Riley, Ottawa Citizen, October 9, 2006


(Brad) LAVIGNE: There are no timelines, Geoff, no timelines and no targets. So, yes, do we want a clean air act? Well if it’s in the look of Jack Layton’s with targets and timelines, we love it. But if it’s a Stephen Harper-Rona Ambrose-George Bush special…

(Geoff) NORQUAY: There’s that George Bush again.

LAVIGNE: I got it in there.

— From Mike Duffy Live, October 11th, 2006

“No targets means no accountability, … This announcement is nothing more than a recipe for delay. Adopting the Bush administrations standards will not lower emissions from vehicles.” — John Bennett of the Sierra Club.

The intensity targets to which legislation refers are even more troublesome. These are used heavily in the George Bush environmental platform. — Brantford Expositor, October 20, 2006

This is basically the Bush approach to greenhouse gases … Bush has adopted an intensity target for the U.S. which translates into a considerable increase in actual emissions.” — Matthew Bramley of the Pembina Institute

It’s essentially a Xerox copy of policies right out of the Bush administration. It shouldn’t be called a Clean Air Act because the air is going to get dirtier and dirtier over the next few years. — Jack Layton

Intensity targets, which have been favoured by the Bush administration in the U.S., would reduce emissions relative to a measure of output; for example, every barrel produced. — Doug Ward, Vancouver Sun

‘Intensity-based’ are words beloved by the Republican Bush government which will allow for an actual increase in greenhouse gas emissions as the economy grows — John Godfrey

Contrast that with Harper’s tentative approach to cleaner air and smog reductions. Nowhere in Mr. Harper’s speech is there mention of global warming. Only once did he allude to a connection between air pollutants and climate change. Clearly, he speaks from the same environmental textbook as George W. Bush. — W.E. Bill Belliveau, Times & Transcript, October 14, 2006

In fact, George W. Bush, like Harper, also introduced legislation to improve air quality. — Keith Boag, CBC, October 10, 2006

Harper’s announcement in Vancouver today was very much like one made by U-S President George W. Bush three years ago — John Bennett, director of the Climate Action Network of Canada

Well it’s really clear, I’ve said it before, but Stephen Harper is a carbon copy of George Bush, and not just on this file, but on this one the pun is intentional. We are following George Bush‘s approach on intensity targets. Bush invented that. And we’re calling something a clean air act reminds me very much of George Bush?s clear skies program that resulted in more air pollution. — Elizabeth May, Green Party Leader, October 10, 2006

That George Bush ought to resign if for no other reason than to stop being used as a strawman for the Canadian media, Jack Layton and Elizabeth May. But seriously, using Bush this way comes at the expense of much needed debate in the MSM on the legislation.

And now, I’m off to read the Clean Air Act.

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