April fool 2011 :-)
In a dramatic campaign promise, embattled Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced that, if re-elected, his government would become a world leader in the production of clean, green energy, with plans to shut down the Alberta Tar Sands by 2025, and a commitment to do everything in its power to see that a global treaty on climate change is signed at COP-17.
Harper made the announcement in St. John’s, Newfoundland as he unveiled his government’s support for a $6.2 billion hydro-electric project for Churchill Falls which will provide clean electricity to Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia via undersea cable.
“[The Lower Churchill] has the potential of being a very important part of our efforts to fight climate change in Canada,” he said. “In terms of specifics, that would be decided in committee, there’s a lot of discussion yet to go, but I think this project’s enormous potential is evident to all Canadians.”
But that’s just his government’s first step in a bold new green initiative, he added. Formerly a vocal, uncompromising supporter of the Tar Sands, Harper indicated that his government would invest $53.6 billion in renewable and sustainable energy over the next five years, and elevate the environmental ministry to the top tier of cabinet positions, equal in status to finance. He also admitted that no one in his party knew the first thing about protecting the environment, so he would reach across the aisle and offer the portfolio to Green Party leader Elizabeth May, should she win her seat in British Columbia.
“We’re not doing it because it’s an easy decision,” Harper said. “We’re doing it because it’s the right decision.”
Harper indicated that he would scrap plans to buy fighter jets for the Canadian military, his corporate tax cut proposal, and his initiative to build new prisons, so his new green push would not affect Conservative plans to balance the budget in five years. He also announced a carbon pollution tax that would hit the Alberta especially hard, and suggested all the money raised from the tax would be plowed into off-shore wind energy in Atlantic Canada, which has the potential to power the entire eastern seaboard. As the tax is progressive, Harper speculated that the Tar Sands would be unprofitable by 2025.
The Prime Minister also pledged to personally attend the United Nations COP-17 climate summit in Durban, South Africa.
“Shamefully, through our party’s leadership, Canada has become the worst of the worst in terms of international climate negotiations,” Harper said. “Most Canadians don’t realize this, but internationally, everyone hates us. We’ve been named the world’s Colossal Fossil at each of the last four climate summits. For the old Stephen Harper, that was a source of great pride.
“But it was hard too. People won’t talk to me any more at international meetings. They whisper things behind my back. That gets to a guy after awhile. Everyone liked Canada under Jean Chretien’s leadership, and I find myself longing for the good old days.”
He pledged that a comprehensive deal would be signed in South Africa, come hell or high water. And that Canada, as one of the world’s most wasteful countries on a per capita basis, would dramatically increase in funding to nations facing the biggest threats from climate change.
“I am just like Saul on the road to Damascus,” said Harper, an Evangelical Christian. “I’m convinced that global warming is the biggest threat to humanity that our planet has ever faced. Accordingly, I have made a decision that is in the best interests of Canadians and our allies. It’s more important than balancing the budget. It’s much more important than my friendship with [Environment Minister] John Baird.”
Harper then tried to get reporters present at the press conference to join hands and sing a verse of Kumbaya. He had a grand piano shipped in for occasion.