Nova Scotia, politics

Rodney and the looming environmental disaster…

He nearly lost an election called after two months of steady money-shovelling. He weathered the scandal over a plum patronage appointment, placing a campaign croney in a new position to which she was about as qualified as I. (Rodney, if there are any more of those 130K jobs kicking around, just comment here and I’ll get in touch.) Then he helped try to cover up a drunk-driving accident involving a cabinet minister that he put in office after his predecessor kicked him out for either idiocy or larseny (take your pick – Fage chose A).

Well, it appears Rodney DangerfiMacDonald is finally learning the ropes. He, or at least his handlers, have learned the first rule of things turning to shit when you touch them: When everything you touch turns to shit, stop touching things. For the past few months we’ve seen relatively little of Rodney – he went to ground recently and just kind of let things cool down a bit.

The big question posed to the handlers then became – how to reintroduce our new hero to the province that barely gave him the nod last spring? While cancelling the Commonwealth Games? Nah, too negative – just do a quick press conference and let Peter Kelly screw things up and take the heat. “Oh wait”, I can hear them say, “the federal budget, there’s the chance.” So, this past week we get to see Rodney in his new gunslinger stance (cue Ennio Morricone refrain) as he manly meekly takes on Stephen Harper as he sodomizes Nova Scotia and other poor provinces on the receiving end of transfer funds.

Heaven help us, but I’m afraid that this image is supposed to indicate the new Rodney will defend us.

“Okay, we’re back in the papers”, says Handler A, “what next?”.

Handler B strokes his chin, pipe clenched tightly between his teeth. “Leadership, think we can fake a little leadership? Obviously everything this government has done until now has been pooched, so it’ll have to be something new.”

“Yes, yes, that’s it! B, you’re brilliant! But how, we have no money?”

“Well that’s easy, A, we simply need a motherhood announcement of some kind. The question is, about what?”

Then, a small, quavering voice from the back of the room said “Global warming – it’s what all the kids are talking about.”

B’s mouth quickly unclenched, “Who’s that, the intern kid from the Mount? That’s brilliant! Hey kid, you’re my kind of marketer – you’ll get along fine here at Repeat, Rephrase, and Rehash. It’s got everything – it sounds resolute and we can put dates on it that make it unmeasurable within the regular election cycle. Hell, let’s keep it going until after I retire – I need a new boat!”

And so, in that vein we have this week’s announcement that Nova Scotia will become “one of the cleanest and most sustainable places in the world by 2020.”

Programs to that end will could include deposit fees on recyclable material like coffee cups, regulations suggestions that wetlands destroyed by developers “be replaced”, and an increased funding for reliance on energy from renewable resources by 2013.

Environmentalists are justifiably encouraged by this announcement, but, as they say, the devil is in the details, and with this government please permit me a moment of doubt. The upcoming budget will show us whether this government is actually serious about any of these proposals. Changing long-established patterns of consumption and material use will take time, but that does not mean we begin “sometime in the future” – we must begin now.

I will applaud any tangible steps taken toward these laudable goals, but not based on a single press conference.

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