Auditor casts doubt on enviro promise


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Manitoba's auditor general cast doubt Monday on the government's ability to fulfil a promise on which former premier Gary Doer once said he'd stake the 2011 election.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 07/12/2010 (4443 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Manitoba’s auditor general cast doubt Monday on the government’s ability to fulfil a promise on which former premier Gary Doer once said he’d stake the 2011 election.

In a report on the province’s climate change efforts, Carol Bellringer said Manitoba is not expected to achieve its target for greenhouse gas emission reductions for 2012.

In 2008, the NDP, under Doer, set an ambitious goal to reduce emissions by six per cent below 1990 levels by 2012, a reduction of 17.5 megatonnes.

However, in April, the Conservation Department forecast a gap of 2.7 megatonnes in meeting the target, and it is now re-evaluating its strategies, Bellringer said.

“While Manitoba’s management of climate change is evolving, the 2008 action plan in place at the time of our audit is not expected to achieve the target level of emissions for 2012…” the auditor said Monday.

In April of 2008, with great fanfare, Doer announced a number of initiatives setting the province on a course to meet the ambitious target set out in the Kyoto accord, which has long since been abandoned by most governments.

“This is not a situation where we sign on to Kyoto and don’t have a plan to deliver,” said Doer at the time. “If we don’t achieve it, the ultimate penalty in 2011 will be defeating the government.”

Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie said Monday it’s clear that the province set an ambitious goal for itself back then and “we’ve got more work to do.”

He also announced that the province believes that Manitoba greenhouse gas emissions for 2009 and 2010 — once the final tallies come in — will prove to be lower than what they were in 2000.

In response to an auditor recommendation for better reporting of climate change data, the province has developed a new web-based tool to track its future progress in reducing emissions, he said. Until now, the province has relied on Environment Canada information, which is released 18 months after each reporting year.

Blaikie said the province is still working to meet the Kyoto target and noted that since the auditor completed her analysis the government has introduced new GHG-fighting initiatives, including a project to capture methane gas from the Brandon landfill.

Manitoba accounts for about three per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. Bellringer praised the government for responding positively to climate change, creating an action plan and setting a short-term emissions target consistent with Canada’s Kyoto commitment.

Opposition Leader Hugh McFadyen said Doer’s 2008 promise was “about as strong a commitment as a premier can make,” and the electorate will ultimately decide the government’s fate on Oct. 4, 2011, the date of the next provincial election.

“At the end of the day, they made a promise, they didn’t keep it and people are going to have to judge future promises against their past broken promises,” McFadyen said.


Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

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