Opposition MPs , others left out of Bali delegation

Written by  //  November 22, 2007  //  Canada, Climate Change  //  No comments

Opposition MPs fuming about being left off Bali delegation
JENNIFER DITCHBURN
The Canadian Press
November 22, 2007

OTTAWA — There’ll be no room for opposition MPs in the Canadian government’s inn at next month’s crucial climate-change talks in Bali, Indonesia.
Environment Minister John Baird’s office confirmed yesterday that representatives from the three opposition parties would not be welcome as part of Canada’s official delegation at the United Nations conference.
That’s a departure from a long-held government tradition of bringing critics along to major international conferences. Opposition MPs participated in a major UN environmental conference in Nairobi last November, for example. This coming meeting will set the stage for a follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012 and does not include the developing world.
Baird spokesman Garry Keller said in an e-mail that Mr. Baird “… is going to Indonesia to work for global action on climate change, and not fight partisan battles.
“Environmental groups and other third parties are planning on attending the conference, and opposition members are free to attend the conference if they wish, as there is nothing stopping them from attending,” Mr. Keller said.
He added that the government would be taking a number of Canadians to help advise during the talks but did not specify who.
It is also unclear whether representatives from the provinces will be included as part of the delegation.
The Liberals note that while leader Stéphane Dion was the environment minister, he brought Tory critic Bob Mills “to pretty much everything,” and arranged for Mr. Mills to participate in some meetings with foreign ministers at which Mr. Dion wasn’t present.

Being named a part of an official delegation confers a number of privileges, including access to limited accommodation, official briefings and much of the international talks themselves. Payment of transportation costs is not necessarily picked up by the federal government, but ticket bookings are often co-ordinated on behalf of delegation participants.
Environmental groups have also been told they would not be part of the Canadian delegation.
Still, the Sierra Club of Canada and the David Suzuki Foundation, among others, will be sending representatives as official observers through the United Nations.
“To me this is just another example of this government trying to control the message on climate change, and prevent other voices that actually represent a majority of Canadians from being voiced on the international stage,” said Emily Moorhouse of the Sierra Club.

Opposition steams at exclusion from global warming summit
Mike De Souza , CanWest News Service
Thursday, November 22, 2007

OTTAWA — Opposition parties are accusing the Harper government of excluding them from participating at next month’s United Nations climate change summit to muzzle any criticism about its environmental policies.
Environment Minister John Baird is expected to negotiate with elected officials from around the world at the conference in Bali, Indonesia, to establish a framework for a new international climate change treaty. The new deal, expected to be finalized by 2009, would be designed to respond to the latest scientific evidence about the impact of human activity and rising greenhouse gas emissions on global warming.
But opposition parties say Baird’s decision to keep them out of Canada’s official delegation would muzzle the opinion of a majority of Canadians who want the government to respect its binding targets under the Kyoto Protocol and adopt stronger policies to crack down on industrial pollution.
The government has invited provincial governments such as Quebec to attend the conference at their own expense, but said that it wanted to focus on getting results to fight climate change, instead of fighting partisan battles. …
The opposition parties have summoned Baird to appear next week at the Commons environment committee to explain his plans for the conference. They have also invited Canadian experts who contributed to the last international reports on climate change to answer questions about the latest scientific research and its impact on government policy.
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