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The environment is the Liberals’ biggest failure — and Suzuki is calling them on it

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When David Suzuki called for the resignation of Environment Minister Catherine McKenna this week, it was a far bigger development than merely asking a disappointing politician to step aside.

Suzuki knows, along with everyone else, that McKenna is not going anywhere, hypocrite or not. In part, that is because she is merely advancing the prime minister’s agenda, and in part because the day of politicians resigning over principle is over.

You can bet the farm that neither Justin Trudeau nor Dominic LeBlanc pondered resigning after they violated conflict of interest rules — Trudeau for his trip to the Aga Khan’s private island and ex-Fisheries Minister LeBlanc for awarding a lucrative crab license to a firm linked to his wife’s cousin.

Just as Stephen Harper never considered throwing in the towel as Conservative leader when he was found in contempt of Parliament. These days, unless someone has a videotape of a bloody murder, elected officials hang on with all ten toes, no matter what they have done — or in McKenna’s case, what they have not done.

Although Suzuki is not likely to bring about a change in the Trudeau cabinet by asking that McKenna step down, he has definitely not fired a blank either. What the country’s leading environmentalist has done by calling out McKenna is call out the Trudeau government on its signal failure — the environment. And that could significantly alter the coalition that delivered a majority government to the Liberals in 2015.

In part, what has happened to the Liberals on this file has to do with overblown expectations, triggered in part by giddy overpromises during the 2015 campaign.

For a champagne bubble moment, when the pony was shiny and new, optimism was king in this country. The dreadful reign of Harper had ended and so too would Canada’s reputation as the “deadbeat” of the environmental world. At least that’s what a lot of people were led to believe.

Trudeau was young, idealistic, and eager to announce that Canada was back. And not to add to the Harper government’s impressive collection of ‘fossil awards’ amassed over years of catastrophic........

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