She's failing as an environment minister and she's failing Canada. After a grand (perhaps "grandiose") start full of promise, Catherine McKenna has squandered her opportunity and morphed into an enviromin Stephen Harper could be proud to call his own.
Dr. Eoin Finn, PhD, has taken the measure of McKenna. Here is a partial list of her failures.
- Failure to clarify what, exactly, Canada’s GHG emissions target should be if we are to play our part in meeting the COP21 goal of limiting climate change to an increase of less than 20C. There is a looming gap between Environment Canada’s 2030 GHG emissions estimate of 817 megatonnes and the Copenhagen target of 524 millions. Nobody in McKenna’s remit (or Energy Minister Carr’s) seems to wants to grasp that 300 megatonne nettle, nor venture an estimate of what further reductions will be needed to meet COP21 commitments
- Maintaining the Harper Government’s unambitious and inadequate GHG emission targets of 17% reduction by 2030, which, without swift action, we have no hope of meeting
- Bowing to the desires of a few Premiers to kick the carbon-tax proposal down the road and (they hope) out of sight
- Inaction on the review of the Oil & Gas industry emissions that successive Environment Ministers in the Harper Government had promised year after year. This industry contributes over 26% of Canada’s GHG emissions. Singling it out for inaction suggests that this Government is also a “captive regulator”
- A decision to continue the 30% accelerated capital cost allowance for LNG facilities – a fossil-fuel subsidy granted by the Harper Government in 2014
- Approval of the Woodfibre LNG plant in Howe Sound, despite its almost 1 million tonnes of annual GHG emissions. This puzzling and highly-unpopular decision also belied another Trudeau promise – that of “politicians may issue permits, but only communities can grant permission”
- Cabinet’s approval of NEB’s decision to approve Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline extension, LNG Canada’s 40-year license extension for its Kitimat plant and Steelhead LNG’s 5 export licenses – each of which represents a vast expansion of Canada’s GHG emissions
- Publicly supporting the Keystone XL and Energy East pipeline proposals
- Silence and inaction on repealing any of the Harper Government’s egregious environmental legislation – particularly the omnibus Bill C-38, which shredded environmental protections in the Species at Risk Act, Navigable Waters Act, NEB Act and 60+ others
- Promises to reform the National Energy Board and its farcical review process replaced with nominating yet another dubious set of second-guessers. This is hardly the stuff of meaningful reform to “restore public confidence” in the NEB;
- Not one concrete legislative or regulatory action on Liberal energy efficiency promises –boosting renewable alternatives, setting tighter automobile emission standards, elevating building insulation standards, promoting public transit initiatives, and inaction on the PM’s lofty promise to the U.N. that “Climate change will test our intelligence, our compassion and our will. But we are equal to that challenge. I encourage other signatories to move swiftly to follow through on their commitments”. Since then – nothing, nada, zilch.