Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column
Tuesday April 3, 2007
By BILL TIELEMAN
Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
Will federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May come clean on why she completely contradicted herself on the proposed Clean Air Act in just nine days?
May must be wishing she had thought twice before saying the Conservative government's Clean Air Act should die on March 22 - because she was forced to praise it on March 30!
May called proposed opposition amendments to Bill C-30, the Clean Air Act, "a pointless exercise" in a March 22 news release. She urged the Parliamentary committee considering amendments to stop, saying the legislation was unnecessary anyway and should "rest in peace."
"Bill C-30 - the so-called Clean Air Act - was dead on arrival at its first reading last year," Green Party leader Elizabeth May said. "Ongoing attempts to breathe life into the corpse are a waste of time."
And she dug in deeper: "Ms. May said that Bill C-30 is not only bad legislation, it is also unnecessary. "The government already has all the legislative power it needs to reduce air pollution and meet Canada's Kyoto greenhouse gas reduction targets."
But just days later May rejoiced over the pre-Easter resurrection of the Clean Air Act.
Her March 30 release states: "Green Party leader Elizabeth May today praised members of the Legislative Committee on Bill C-30 for their efforts to rewrite the fatally flawed Clean Air Act legislation ... adding that the 'New' Clean Air Act looks uncannily similar to the Green Party's proposed amendments."
Hmmmm. Dead on arrival, MPs foolishly breathing life into a corpse one week and the next week, it's alive and well and thank God for those amendments!
And those "Green Party amendments" - who exactly would be proposing them in the House of Commons when her party doesn't hold a single seat?
In fact, New Democrat, Bloc Quebecois and Liberal party MPs in a rare moment of unity forced the changes on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority government.
And while NDP leader Jack Layton and Liberal leader Stephane Dion each claim credit, both parties' news releases state that they put aside "partisan differences" to fight climate change together.
But that proved May's earlier position that amendments were "pointless" and actually needed to be quickly recycled.
May has courted trouble before. My 24 hours colleague Sean Holman reported last year that May planned to continue undertaking national speaking tours funded by non-profit groups while also attending Green Party functions. That prompted Elections Canada to state such funding would be regarded as political contributions. Whoops!
Elizabeth May is green, alright; so green at politics that she isn't ready for prime time.