‘Trust us’ not good enough

The biggest knock on Parliament’s ratification yesterday of the Kyoto Protocol, led by the governing Liberal party together with the NDP and Bloc Quebecois, certainly isn’t the notion that nothing should be done to clean up our environment for future generations.
Rather, it’s the Chrétien government’s vagueness over just how Canada is going to cut its greenhouse emissions to six percent below 1990 levels between 2008-2012—and at what cost.
Basically, the government is telling ordinary Canadians, industry, and the provinces to “trust us.”
Perhaps there was a time, years ago, when that would have been good enough. Not anymore. And it’s particularly hard to swallow coming from a government that said “trust us, the proposed gun control registry is only going to cost taxpayers $2 million.”
That figure, of course, likely will top $1 billion when all is said and done, as Canadians learned last week from Auditor-General Sheila Fraser.
Provincially, we’re in the same boat. The former Mike Harris government pushed full steam ahead with opening up the hydro market to competition and introducing a funding formula for school boards—all with the same “trust us” attitude in the face of warnings of dire consequences.
Sure enough, now we’ve got a cap on hydro rates (not to mention rebates forthcoming) as well as a huge injection of cash into the education system (which Premier Ernie Eves, now at the helm, was to announce this afternoon).
No surprise, of course, that both moves come in the lead up to a provincial election.
“Trust us?” Oh, sure. And politicians wonder why voters have become so cynical.

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