Exemplary is defined as "extremely good and deserving to be admired and copied."
That's how Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford is characterising the Conservative government's environmental record. Maybe he hasn't heard of these descriptions of it: "atrocious," "irresponsible," "dismal", "disastrous," and "an extreme disappointment."
Here's what Rickford actually said this week in New York (video clip below), indicating the minister may not only want to check his words, but also his facts:
1. "We are using our natural wealth to grow our economy." Except...
- economic experts say the government has been "playing a losing hand" basing their "political strategy on the performance of a commodity economy." The Conservatives' boom-and-bust resource economy has been, well, a bust.
- the Bank of Canada just revealed economic growth is at zero, the economy demonstrably shrank last month -- and the "full impact" of slumping oil prices has yet to be felt.
2. "... while enhancing our already exemplary record of environmental performance." Except...
- maybe Rickford didn't hear that Canada just missed a United Nations deadline to submit greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Or that Canada's premiers just collectively called out the federal government for a lack of leadership on fighting climate change.
- according to Environment Canada, Canada is projected to finish the decade producing 20% more emissions than it pledged to cut -- and a 2014 analysis said Canada has the worst climate change record in the industrialized world.
- one reason Rickford might be confused? His boss, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has said Canadian emissions are in decline -- a claim that is at odds with Environment Canada.
3. "We are ready and willing to work with the U.S. to harmonize environmental standards in other areas as well, such as oil and gas." Except...
- Harper called regulations "crazy" in December and was forced to backtrack on CBC.
- and what about eight years of unfulfilled promises? How many federal environment ministers does it take to craft oil and gas regulations? We're at five and counting.
- the Conservatives have already ignored U.S. leadership on the file and then Harper recently called for a "continental response." Now the U.S. and Mexico have signed a new climate co-operation deal and there's still crickets from north of the border.
Photo: Used under Creative Commons licenses.
Video: Bloomberg New Energy Finance