There has been a lot of talk about Canada’s role at the Copenhagen – most of it not very flattering. Yet despite the overwhelming criticism from seemingly all fronts, the Harper government insists that Canada has played a “constructive” role at the talks.

Let’s examine recent quotes from Environment Minister Jim Prentice to get at the real truth:

“It will not be possible to get a full international treaty in Copenhagen.”

“Jim Prentice on the challenge of Copenhagen” by Katherine O’Neill, Globe and Mail, November 16, 2009 (subscription required to view)

“The primary consideration in framing our strategy for climate change and the environment has been economic reality.”

Speech to the North American Forum, Canadian Council of Chief Executives, Ottawa, Ontario, October 6, 2009

“In 2050, prosperity will accrue to those who have mastered carbon capture and storage and clean coal technologies… to those who have successfully deployed carbon energy alternatives like nuclear energy…”

Speech at the Bennett Jones Lake Louise World Cup Business Forum, November 28, 2008

"The challenge at this time is to harmonize on a continental basis with the United States, and to do that, we clearly are going to have to know where the United States is headed on those critical questions."

“Canada must wait to regulate greenhouse gases: Prentice”, Canadian Press, November 17, 2009What can we read from these quotes? The Harper government pre-judged that Copenhagen would be a failure, and then worked to achieve this self-fulfilling prophesy. Prentice claims to be interested in a meaningful national emissions reduction program, but says the economy is more important than the environment. He supports false solutions like carbon capture and storage, so-called “clean” coal and nuclear energy. And admits that Canada will not lead, but be led the United States. By his own words, Mr. Prentice is clearly uninterested in anything constructive and meaningful for the climate at Copenhagen.