It seems that Canada’s Environment Minister John Baird is trying his best to live up to his critics’ expectations at the United Nation’s climate summit underway in Bali, Indonesia.
But it hasn’t only been the Minister’s unpalatable climate policies that are embarrassing his country on the world stage.
The Minister’s bumbling and fumbling as a diplomat is also garnering a lot of chuckles.
It’s like a blooper roll in real time.
The list so far:
On the evening of Baird’s first day at the Bali conference, the Minister took the opportunity to crash a reception being hosted by international environmental organizations. While sipping on a pint, Baird proceeded to berate environmentalists as the real cause of Canada’s rising greenhouse gas emissions and overall poor record on fighting climate change.
One party-goer rightly pointed out to the Minister that, “… he was indeed the Minister and that his government might perhaps have a teeny bit of responsibility for whether Canada actually steps up to the plate and sets strong absolute emissions reductions targets and protects Canada’s heritage.”
The next day at a media meet and greet for reporters a political staffer asked a photographer not to snap any pictures of Environment Minister John Baird. They were worried about the optics of a picture with palm trees in the background that might suggest a vacation getaway.
Talking Points Memo
Canwest Global journalist, Mike de Souza, who is in Bali this week was invited by the government of France to attend a comprehensive briefing by with their national media that lasted more than an hour. The reporters had the chance to talk about negotiations behind the scenes with the negotiators themselves.
And what was this top Canadian journalist offered by his own government?
Canada’s government offered reporters a list of “talking points” in an email that was sent by a spin doctor who was sent to Bali from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office.
And finally, at a big dinner reception organized by the Canadian delegation to present its climate change plan to the world, Minister Baird walked out on his own speech in front of the packed house.
According to de Souza, “[a] government spokesperson later said Baird left because he urgently needed to meet with Canadian negotiators.”
Right. I wonder if that was included in the PMO spin doctor’s talking points?