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Harper’s United Nations no-show shames Canada

Posted on September 23, 2009

OAKVILLE – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s absence today from a special meeting of world leaders at the United Nations in favour of a doughnut factory tour highlights Canada’s faltering world voice under the Conservatives – especially in the global fight against climate change.

“I love my double-double as much as the next guy,” said Liberal Energy and Environment Critic David McGuinty. “But examining the latest in doughnut technology while the rest of the world’s leaders gather to confront the challenge of climate change is like Nero’s fiddling while Rome burns.”

While world leaders like Barack Obama and Gordon Brown are addressing the United Nations today on their way to the G-20, Stephen Harper passed up the opportunity to represent Canada to the world, opting instead to hold an event at a Tim Horton’s innovation centre.

“Only weeks ago, Stephen Harper slammed the United Nations behind closed doors, in marked contrast to leaders like Pearson, Trudeau and Mulroney, who knew that Canadian values could make the world a better place – and used their positions of leadership to do so,” said Mr. McGuinty.

Harper’s no-show comes in the wake of worldwide condemnation of Canada’s climate change record. Before Mr. Harper was elected Prime Minister, Canada’s emissions were going down in absolute terms and had a credible plan to meet our international climate change obligations. Since then, Conservatives has put forward three Minster and three failed plans, and emissions have risen dramatically for the first time in half a decade.

“Mr. Harper has no credibility when he claims he is serious about addressing climate change,” said Mr. McGuinty. “For nearly four years, his government has worked to sabotage efforts at the UN Climate change conferences in Bonn, Bali and Poznan leading up to Copenhagen.”

“Yesterday, Environment Minster Minister Jim Prentice had the sheer gall to express disappointment with India, Brazil and China’s failure to incorporate specific targets into an international treaty,” continued Mr. McGuinty. “Yet the Conservatives have no plan to reach their own weak targets, or any binding regulations to guarantee GHG emission reductions in Canada.”

“Stephen Harper won’t stand up for Canada on the floor of the UN, but he was content to stay for a five course dinner last night. Canada can do better than Stephen Harper.”