John Baird all hot air; Vatican gets greener

In the seven lean years of Mike Harris in Ontario, there was no cabinet minister who oppressed the poor more than the slick John Baird. Friends in the Legislature who defended the poor were absolutely disgusted with his vicious streak. A single man with no dependents, he took great glee in stomping on those on the margins. His lowest moment as recalled by one member was his disgusting photo op of drug needles suggesting the poor were blowing their money on drugs.

Now the fast talking Baird is on the national stage spinning the Tory plan on the environment. The Kyoto Accord according to Baird’s boss,PM Stephen Harper was simply a “socialist scheme” to suck money from the state. And after the hapless Rona Ambrose was dumped, John Baird arrived with smoke and mirrors.

Two people who know a little about the environment David Suzuki and Al Gore dismissed the Torys’ latest response to Kyoto.According to Gore this plan is a “complete and total fraud designed to mislead the Canadian public.”

The former U.S. vice-president blasted the Conservative environmental platform as ‘complete and total fraud designed to mislead the Canadian public.’

Adding to Baird and Harper’s woe and certainly a shot across the bow of the Bush White House, the Vatican has stepped up its criticism of the free marketers who do not understand the sacramental nature of the environment.

According to a press release on the weekend of April 28 Pope Benedict urged bishops, scientists and politicians to “respect creation” while “focusing on the needs of sustainable development”.

Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, head of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, said: “For environment … read Creation. The mastery of man over Creation must not be despotic or senseless. Man must cultivate and safeguard God’s Creation.” Benedict is expected to become even more green than his predecessor John Paul ll.

In a major surprise young conservative evangelical churches are increasingly at war about the human contribution to global warming.They seem to be in contrast with the bizarre rantings of the apocalyptics who welcome environmental degradation as it hastens the end times. “They are the most effective lobby,” said one observer yesterday. “They represent the conservative vote so Bush has to listen to them.”

Seán McDonagh, a Columban missionary and author of books on ecology and religion. “The Catholic church’s social teaching on human rights and justice has been good, but there has been little concern about the impact on the planet. The church has been caught up on its emphasis on development and on resisting population control, but if we are pro-life we should be banging the drum now about climate change.”

One wonders now how many sermons will be delivered on this topic and how pastoral priorities will change. Or if the Catholics in the pews of Nepean will continue to vote for reactionaries like John Baird.

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