Environment Minister Rob Renner has been the MLA from Medicine Hat for 14 years. He was born in Medicine Hat. He will probably die there. He knows his City well and where it is on the map. He operated a family florist business there - which probably qualified him to be green enough for Fast Eddie to appoint him as his Environment Minister.
Renner's Legislative Assembly biography tells us that during the Dark Ages of the Klein years, he served as a Member of the Government's Agenda and Priorities Committee. Time has shown us, sadly enough, that the Agenda and Priorities Committee during that empty era had neither an agenda nor priorities.
The biography also states that during those Klein years, Renner served as Chair of both the Government's Health Professions Act Implementation Steering Committee and the Health Workforce Rebalancing Committee. His success in those jobs can be guaged by the acute shortage of Doctors, Nurses, and other trained medical staff that has plagued the Province now for at least a decade with no respite in sight.
The effectiveness of these Committees may be found in graveyards across the Province. It may also be observed in incubation treatment centers in Saskatoon caring for Calgary babies who can not be treated at home because of lack of facilities. So too it can be observed upon seeing expectant mothers miscarry in emergency wards while awaiting treatment, or being forced to carry dead foetuses in their bodies for days because of lack of space and service to treat such cases on a timely basis. Good work, indeed.
But there's more. Renner was Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Community Services. Its success in resolving issues such as homelessness, the availability of affordable housing or adequate funding for AISHE recipients, and the like is - well, to put it kindly - massively underwhelming.
And there's more. Renner was Co-Chair of the Automobile Insurance Implementation Team. In that capacity, he championed the cause of taking away the rights of citizens to receive reasonable damage awards for certain personal injuries by limiting awards to $4000 for pain and suffering, arguing that this would reduce automobile insurance premiums. The result: premiums have gone up and insurance companies have earned increased profits. The insurance companies got the mine. The little guy - as always during the Klein years - got the shaft.
So Fast Eddie, being obviously impressed with Renner's great record of success, made him Environment Minister.
This week in a speech given to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Renner was the Government's messenger respecting Alberta's growing contribution to Global Warming. As might have been expected, he stated what everyone - except the few remaining deniers, who in another lifetime would have argued that the earth was flat - already knew: that Alberta's greenhouse gas emissions are multiplying to the extent that by 2020 they could be 64% above the Kyoto benchmark, even taking into account expected technologically driven rate reductions. Therefore, intoned the Minister, government, industry and ordinary Albertans all have a role to play in reducing emmissions.
To further drive home his point Renner, obviously struggling for an analogy that his audience could grasp, resorted to something he knew something about - Medicine Hat and its hot summer climate. By 2080, said Renner, because of Alberta's continued belching of emissions, Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray would have similar temperatures as Medicine Hat. And so, because of that fact, the emissions problem could no longer be ignored. Ah yes, it was a meaty speech indeed.
The only response from Fast Eddie's Government to the growing emissions problem is the reduction of intensity levels. Renner would explain it this way to his constituents in Medicine Hat: if one barrel of oil produces 10 units of emissions, then we are making headway if we can reduce that to one barrel producing say 8 units of emissions.
But if production is tripled to 3 barrels of oil from one, those 3 barrels produce 24 units of emissions instead of 8. Production increases by multiples are what is expected to happen in the oilsands over the next several years. In the Green Age, intensity level reductions as a solution to the emissions problem is not acceptable either to most Canadians or most of the rest of the enlightened world.
Now, just what are the chances of this Minister of the Environment spearheading a solution to the emissions problem?
About the chances of the survival of a snowball in Medicine Hat on a hot July day.