Green Party leader Elizabeth May said the world needs a leader who cares about the environment and if he is anything like U.S. president Barack Obama, we are in good hands.
“Barack Obama understands the science and recognizes that if we don’t address the climate crisis nothing else matters,” May told a Toronto audience on Wednesday night at the St. Paul’s Annual 2009 General Meeting.
“(Prime Minister) Stephen Harper doesn’t think the climate crisis is real; he just thinks it is a public relations problem and his real goal is expanding the (Alberta) tar sands,” she said.
The Green Party, which earned 6.8 per cent of the overall vote in last year’s federal election but still won no seats, admires the environmental approaches Obama has set forth through his inauguration address, his campaign commitments and his cabinet appointments.
One of his appointments includes a national science advisor Dr. John P. Holdren. Harper, in contrast, dismissed his former science advisor, Dr. Arthur Carty, in January of last year. Industry Canada said the government decided to phase out the office of the national science advisor.
“At every level if you compare what Barack Obama is doing to what Stephen Harper is doing we are falling miles and miles behind,” May said.
According to May, a very thin line divided the relationship between Harper and former U.S. president George W. Bush’s environmental policies.
“We were exactly in lock stock with George Bush in terms of climate policies with Stephen Harper, but Barrack Obama is not George Bush and for that we can all be grateful,” she said
Although there is a lot of support for climate and environmental change within the country, May said the government that is currently in place refuses to budge
“We have a Parliament and the majority of votes in this country and the majority of MP’s support real action on climate change and unfortunately we have a minority government that doesn’t,” she said.
Jordy Gold, a campaigner for the Greens, said Canadians don’t see the leadership qualities in Harper that compare to Obama.
“I think a lot of people are watching him (Obama) with great interest and are probably wishing they saw a little bit more of that leadership in our own country,” Gold said.
Gold thinks the ideas Obama talked about in his last major speech, an address to Congress, encouraged taking a greener approach to the economic crisis, something he believes Harper does not focus on.
“It appears that the Harper government is completely off on another planet trying to pursue a totally different agenda that really doesn’t mesh at all with green party values,” he said.