During Harper's term, Hollinger/CanWest/PostMedia was a shameless cheerleader for its home team, the Conservatives. Cheerleader? No, 'whore' is more befitting and they were busy whoring right up until election day.
With Harper dispatched, one might have expected The Star to come out as the fawning champion of everything Trudeau. There was some of that, inevitably, but the paper seems to understand that its job is as watchdog of government, not government lapdog, no matter who holds the levers of power.
Which was why I enjoyed Thomas Walkom's candour in weighing the failure that was the fledgling prime minister's first attempt to wrestle his provincial counterparts into a climate change deal:
Canada is still not on the road to reach the carbon reduction targets called for by last year’s Paris climate summit.
It is not even on the road to meet the far less ambitious targets set out by Canada’s former Conservative government.
When all of the rhetoric is stripped away, Thursday’s Vancouver Declaration, the somewhat grandiose document summing up the one-day session, demonstrates only that any fault lines existing before this conference still hold.
There is no overall agreement to use so-called carbon pricing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – which is what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wanted.
There is only agreement to contemplate carbon pricing as one in a “broad range of domestic measures … adapted to each province’s and territory’s specific circumstances.”
In other words, the first ministers have agreed to continue to disagree. Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia are fine with carbon pricing, either in the form of a direct tax on greenhouse gas emissions or a cap and trade system that financially penalizes those who emit more than is allowed.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall still resists, pointing out that carbon pricing in either form eventually translates into higher costs for those who use fossil fuels. (Indeed, that’s the point of it.)
They all say, as they did before the meeting, that Canada must use this opportunity to move toward a greener economy.
Yet they provide no specifics on how to get there. Nor are there specifics on the targets that must be set for the reduction of greenhouse gases if a climate change disaster is to be averted.
In opposition, Trudeau’s Liberals derided as inadequate the carbon reductions promised by then-prime minister Stephen Harper’s governing Conservatives. In Paris last year, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna referred to the Harper target as a “floor.”
But there is no indication from this meeting that anyone is willing to move above the floor.
Somewhere, I expect, Stephen Harper is having a giggle. Let's be honest, carbon pricing is a means not an end. It will not, of itself, cut emissions. At best it may dampen demand for fossil fuels. At worst it's merely gestural and, because of that, it's perfect for those who are fighting a rearguard action against serious emissions cuts.
Then again, what did we expect from Junior? After all, this is the same guy who dismissed the armoured war wagons Canada is selling to Saudi Arabia as little more than "jeeps."