Congratulations on winning a majority in the election and now to form the government. I voted for Ramez Ayoub, your newly elected MP in my riding north of Montreal.
The point of this letter is to alert you to the issue of climate change. It was little discussed during the campaign, but it will be immediately forced onto your attention due to the conference next month in Paris.
The knee-jerk reaction would be to declare the Conservatives wrong on this issue and that Liberals will demonstrate change by reversing Canada’s position. That would be unfortunate and premature, considering all of the pitfalls and ramifications tied to this.
For an example of how to mismanage this issue, you need only look south to the US self-imposed predicament. President Obama picked a radical environmentalist, John Holdren, as his science adviser. Uncritically following that advice, Obama has now painted himself into an ideological corner, and will find it difficult to deny claims for payment of reparations from dozens of developing countries.
You could make the same mistake by appointing David Suzuki as your science adviser. He is a renowned environmentalist and biologist, but has no expertise in climate science, energy or economics. The so-called climate consensus surveys of scientists carefully excluded anyone not working for government or academia. That sort of unbalanced approach is wrong-headed.
Despite the pressure to make early commitments on this issue, I urge you to keep a cool head, have a scientific curiosity, and pick a team of advisers providing a balance of environmental and industrial perspectives. You might want to make an announcement that your government will respect the scientific and economic realities concerning the climate, including attention to cost-benefit analyses of policy proposals.
Ronald R. Clutz