Steve Harper can wax poetic about his environmental policy until he turns blue in the face. No one is going to buy it.
It would seem the conservative penchant for Teh Big trumps the setting of any kind of example for Canadians, particularly when it comes to their personal ground transportation.
Led by the new gas-guzzling black SUVs in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's motorcade, the federal government nearly doubled the amount it spent on sport-utility vehicles during the first full year of Conservative-minority rule.Bravo! Keep them oil sands turnin', big wheels keep on turnin'.
Even as the government offers rebates to encourage Canadians to drive more fuel-efficient cars, its own spending on SUVs rose 88 per cent over the previous year. The Public Works Department ordered 844 new SUVs last year, a large leap from the 500 purchased the year before and the 366 in 2004-05, the last full fiscal year under a Liberal government.
The government also paid for leases on another 85 SUVs.
David Jeanes, president of the public advocacy group Transport 2000, said: "It's not a good example for the rest of the country."Mr. Jeanes is making an error here. Conservatives don't set out to set good examples.
More at Where'd That Bug Go.
Update: The Vancouver Province article I quoted seemed to have omitted a paragraph from the story above in both the online and print versions. The Ottawa Citizen article however, carried this additional information.
... more than one-third of the SUVs purchased had gas-electric hybrid engines, which cost more, but offer improved fuel efficiency over conventional SUVs. The department now purchases only "greener" passenger vehicles and mini-vans, except for law enforcement or security uses, Ms. Brosseau said.Well that's a good thing. There is no information as to the make and model of the hybrid SUVs purchased as yet. Still, the sudden increase in the numbers of SUVs which have entered government service is quite stunning. What precisely did they replace?
Some domestic departments also made large SUV purchases, including the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which is responsible for ensuring the safety of Canada's food supply. The CFIA spent more than $3 million on SUVs last year, compared to $32,236 the year before. The agency says it was replacing an aging fleet of vehicles. All but two of the SUVs purchased were hybrid engines.