No Room for Good Climate Policy in Tory Caucus

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Now independent MP Garth Turner“My position when the Harper Administration releases its plan will be that climate change is the greatest all-round threat this country faces, and that my nation’s government should not let us down with half-measures, a curtsy to junk science or a sellout to the tar sands.”

For those words, at least, former Canadian Conservative Member of Parliament Garth Turner was expelled from his caucus yesterday. We’ll get specifics later today as the Tories introduce their “Clean Air Act,” but all signs so far point to legislation full of half measures and junk science – not merely a sellout but a homage to the tar sands.

As always in politics, the Turner story goes a little deeper than the national media were prepared to dig. While the Tory establishment complained that renegade Garth was not keeping caucus secrets, it seems clear from this post on Turner’s blog that he engineered his own expulsion by cuddling up to Green Party leader Elizabeth May. May has been saying for some time that the best way to get a Green Party MP is to recruit one who is already sitting, rather than try to elect one in Canada’s problematic (for her) first-past-the-post system. Read Turners post – about a sitting MP escorting the Green leader into hallowed and restricted ground in the Commons – and ask yourself if this doesn’t look like a set-up.

I suspect that Prime Minister Stephen Harper got to the final paragraph, in which Turner sums up the current situation (“Unexpected, perhaps. But utterly unavoidable. And a moment now looking for a heroine”), and Harper realized that Turner had already made a choice between “the petite, angular, cool, brunette and impeccable (Conservative Environment Minister Rona) Ambrose,” and Elizabeth May’s “earth-motherliness punctuated by flying blonde hair, black glasses, an uninhibited laugh and lots of touching.”

This might be a moment to hustle up the Liberal leadership race, because at this pace, the Tories don’t look like they’ll last till Chirstmas.

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