Stephen Harper is a man of deep principles. You may not agree with them, and I hope you don't, but he's a believer in what he believes. That's why his chameleonesque transformation from Mr. "So-Called Greenhouse Gases" to environmental champion has such a hollow ring to it.
In his bid for a majority, Harpo is throwing around all that cash the Liberals left him and he's tossing it about in big numbers - a hundred million here, two hundred million there and there and there too. He doesn't show his face anywhere these days without packing along a 9-figure cheque for the locals.
He's made a lot of noise about the environment and he's doled out a lot of cash but the question remains whether he really gets it or is he really trying to manage what he sees as the fallout of environmentalism. I think Harpo sees the global warming business as something he must appear to accept if he wants to survive. I suspect he's also gambling that the public interest is a fad and that he can best serve his real constituency, the Tar Patch and the province of Alberta, by ensuring that Big Oil and Big Coal get off as lightly as possible.
Hell, the guy just used the Stemlach to fence $150-million tax dollars to the fossil fuel industry. The money went to the province but that was the best way to politically launder it. At the end of the day, it's still a subsidy to the impoverished oil companies, using federal taxpayers' money so that Big Tar doesn't have to spend its own on cleaning up its mess. He fenced it, and it will be laundered but it's still a giveaway to Big Tar.
Of course scores of millions of dollars is just the start of Harpo's gift basket to Big Tar. The real present will be "intensity-based" limits on greenhouse gas emissions. That's about as close to business as usual as our Furious Leader can get without getting lynched by the public. Besides, it's the very same sham policy adopted by his American idol, the chimp in the White House.
This isn't environmentalism. It's damage control and it's a scam.