Just over five months ago I wrote about Rona Ambrose being useless as the Canadian Environment Minister. While there is a lot of support for the position that she was nothing more than a puppet for the PMO, she still proved to be useless in the sense that she couldn't really back up her office, policies or her party when it came to fighting back against critics and the opposition. Her general response to everyone, everywhere was to blame or throw back to the former Liberal government. Then the new year comes along and with it a new Environment Minister.
John Baird was supposed to be different as the new Minister. He was supposed to come as a sign of change, not necessarily drastic change in terms of policy but a change in approach, optics, control, etc. He was supposed to 'work' with the critics and silence the opposition. After all, that is what he is good at. Baird is a strong opponent who is also very good at dealing with the media and does well to rebut criticism. And with the NDP apparently in his corner, working together to develop a new Canadian green plan, Baird was going to change the perception that Conservatives don't seriously care about the environment portfolio.
Well, we are now practically into our fifth month of the new year and Baird has finally delivered and Canadians and the environment have been left wanting. The whole process to get to the announcement and the final product have not been much of a surprise to anyone that looked at the issue with any kind of skepticism. It began with the Conservatives big announcement of change. Eventually they began to throw out lots of other optical illusions in hopes of breaking the focus on the environment - which definitely doesn't do much for optimism. Then they tried to scare the public into thinking Canada was going to become a third-world nation if they aggressively dealt with the environment - which failed miserably for them. And then they released another really bad green plan - the second of their administration.
Once again, the Conservatives' green plan failed to deliver any real program to deal with ever-growing environmental concerns and problems. So it comes as no surprise that the significant people of the environmental movement (Suzuki, Gore et al.) have come out with all guns blazing, blasting the plan as insignificant, weak and ineffective. Though, this is exactly the type of battle the Conservatives were probably expecting to face and the single biggest reason Baird was given this portfolio. So how did Baird respond? He resorted to the same responses that Ambrose gave, "but the Liberals did it".
Maybe his lack of intelligent response is due to the fact he was severely intellectually out classed. Being publicly smacked by the likes of David Suzuki, one of Canada's most trusted, respected and admired citizens and scientists, and Al Gore, the shiny new champion on climate change who is also highly regarded by the public doesn't bode well for your image or your policies. This is addition to Dion looking greener everyday and countless other critics ripping Baird apart. It shouldn't come as any surprise that Baird doesn't have any real reply other than to deflect to the past and avoid the present.
It is because of his ineffective policies, his inability to respond and defend, and his pure lack of leadership he has now taken up the title that was once bestowed on his predecessor: Useless. Congratulations should be given to Baird because not only has he done Ambrose proud but he has also taken his role as Useless to even higher peaks since not only has he failed Canadians and the environment, but he has also failed his party by not being able to live up all the expectations and hype.
Though one thing he'll never have over Ambrose is that the title Baird the Useless doesn't flow as well as it did for his predecessor.