Steve Harper has decided that the Environment Portfolio has been mishandled by the 'babe' of the Conservative caucus, Rona Ambrose. His solution is to sic Mike Harris' and now Harper's favorite pitbull, John Baird.
It is obvious that Rona has been the 'fall guy' (if I may use that expression) for the non-policy 'Clean Air Act' foisted on her by Steve himself. There is no doubt that up to the election of Stephane Dion as the Grit Leader, and a few words of warning from Brian Mulroney, the Harper Government did not take climate change seriously. The Conservative leadership and more importantly, most of their big time right wing supporters did not believe in the science. Furthermore, quite apart from the science, they were concerned that their captains of industry pals did not want any part of any serious policy to reduce greenhouse gases because it was a threat to the profitablility of their operations. Stockwell Day (the Grits' "gift that keeps on giving" according to one erudite Liberal Blogger) even tried to make jokes about climate change in a recent communication to his constituents.
Dion's elevation to Leader and his obvious emphasis on the Environment as a major issue in the next election, together with Mulroney's warning that unless the Environment was dealt with seriously by the Government, it would suffer the consequences, changed all that.
Harper has now decided to get on the Environment bandwagon - which means that the 'Clean Air Act' will go the way of the Do Do bird even before it drew (or squelched) its first breath. It will be replaced by more comprehensive and 'serious' legislation that will seek to blunt any Dion initiatives or attacks on Government policy. To accomplish this, Harper has sacrificed the ill-fated Rona and made it look like the sham of the 'Clean Air' policy was all her idea. It will be replaced by more serious legislation in light of the challenges of Dion and Mulroney.
And to do all of this, he has called upon Mr. Nasty himself, John Baird - a renowned parliamentary attack dog, more familiar at this time to the good folks in Ontario than in the rest of the country.
Baird will have his work cut out for him. The Conservatives are late to the game, and will have to back track and scrap a policy, and start anew - All the while having to absorb what is sure to be wilting attacks by Dion and his attack
crew including Ajax -Pickering MP Mark Holland who beat up on Stockwell Day in respect to the RCMP handling of the Arar case.