A pen stroke by Prime Minister Jean Chretien nervously anticipated as early as Monday, December 16th will confirm Canada's participation in the Kyoto Protocol. The weeks and months preceding have spurred on much heated debate as to whether or not Canada should ratify the accord. As announced by Prime Minister Chretien several months ago in South Africa, he and his Liberals, with support from the NDP and Bloc Quebecois, will vote to ratify the Accord by year's end. Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol is either met with optimistic enthusiasm or distrustful contempt, as the nature of the issues at hand, ecological responsibility and economic prosperity leave few indifferent and are cynically perceived by some to be mutually exclusive. .
Those in favor of ratifying the Accord argue that it is in Canada's favor to be proactive in the arena of environmental responsibility and that the Accord's implementation will have an economical cost, yet one that can be dealt with. However, cynicism runs deep with those who oppose the plan. Opponents of the Protocol accuse Prime Minister Chretien of "legacy building", of recklessly hurtling Canada towards a disadvantageous and potentially disastrous situation in the hopes of going out "green", of attempting to score historical points as a fighter for the environment, as he approaches his announced retirement date. Nevertheless, Canada will ratify the Kyoto Accord next week and will be bound to reduce its emission of greenhouse gases. With the details to be hammered out some time after ratification, many anxiously await the conditions and rules regarding implementation and sustainability. .
In December 1997, Canada and more than 160 countries met in Kyoto, Japan and agreed to collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by objectively verifiable targets. Those targets and the options available to attain them became known as the Kyoto Protocol. In this Accord, each country has to reduce its emissions of GHG's by between 4.