Harper government a no-show at climate forum in tale of two summits

The Harper government is sending three top ministers to International Economic Forum of the Americas in Toronto this week -- but can't be bothered to send a single representative to the Climate Summit of the Americas being held at the same time at the exact same hotel.

That's right, International Trade Minister Ed Fast, Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and Treasury Board President Tony Clement -- a guy with 50 million reasons to love international summits -- have all cleared room in their schedules to speak at the Economic Forum at the Fairmont Royal York hotel.

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq will be tied up in her home riding to celebrate Nunavut Day, but the government didn't think of sending a stand-in for the Climate Summit to speak alongside the governors of California and Vermont, the premiers of Ontario and Quebec, and the environment ministers from BC, Quebec and Ontario.

Mexico is even chipping in its top environment bureaucrat and former president, Felipe Calderón, who chairs the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.

So you could be forgiven for thinking that maybe one of the Tory trio attending the Economic Forum could find some time to talk about the government's plans to combat climate change down the hall at the Royal York.

Then again, they wouldn't have a whole lot to say on the file other than it's something their grandchildren can solve once the year 2100 rolls around.

The snub comes after a broad coalition of 10,000 people took to the streets of Toronto on Sunday for the March for Jobs, Justice, and the Climate to push for a transition to a clean-energy economy in Canada.

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Photos: Kris Krug and Eric Parker used under Creative Commons licenses.

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