NDP and Manitobans being lazy

April 20, 2010

Once again the embarrassing numbers are out showing how awful Manitoba’s record is in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Embarrassing may not describe things aptly enough; abysmal and horrendous is much better.

As if a risky taxpayer-funded deal for a new football stadium and running five more years of deficit budgets isn’t bad enough, this government is a complete failure on the environment.

Environment Canada has just released its annual National Inventory Report, a 582-page document detailing and accounting for the country’s GHG emissions. It shows in 2008 — the most recent data available — Manitoba’s emissions climbed to an all-time high of 21.9 megatonnes (Mt). That’s up almost a percentage point over the previous year and roughly 25% above the Kyoto target of 6% below 1990 levels, which the province has pledged in law to reach by 2012.

We need to drop our annual emissions by 4.4 Mt to reach the goal. That’s equivalent to taking 841,300 vehicles off the road in a province where, according to MPI, there are only 749,522 vehicles.

We’ve come to expect this news every spring.

Every year we’re told to expect better numbers next year. It’s time the province outright said they’ve failed miserably reducing emissions. They need to find a whole new strategy. In previous years, former environment minister Jim Rondeau tried to cleverly and colourfully spin the bad numbers.

“We found all the things that would be causing the issues and started to address the increases. I see (emissions) trending downwards now,” he told the Sun in June 2008. And last year he said “there’s been a delay in implementing the programs and seeing the results.” Well that’s getting closer to the truth. This year, it sounds like someone down on Broadway actually cares.

“We’re going to have to find ways to get big reductions. That’s going to be difficult and expensive and in the current environment that’s going to a challenge too,” current minister Bill Blaikie said.

Obviously the government needs a swift kick in the behind. But so do Manitobans.

Curt Hull, project co-ordinator with Climate Change Connection, a provincial environmental group is right when blames all of us as well. He says Manitobans are not making the smart choices they must, like taking public or alternate transportation instead of driving gas-guzzling SUVs.

The NDP have been out to lunch on creating an effective plan to deal with this, no doubt about it.

But it’s like the crime rate.

Everyone needs to contribute

Don’t jump in your car so much, walk instead. Stop being so lazy. Or take a bus.

Start now or you’re being as inept as the NDP.

— Paul Rutherford

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