Robert F. Kennedy Jr. praises Obama’s stimulus but not Harper’s plan

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      Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has a vision for the United States of America.

      The environmental activist and author sees a future in which every home in the country is equipped with solar panels. Giant wind farms dot the Great Plains. Massive geothermal energy sources are finally tapped. And a “smart grid” unifies the cities of America with a system that makes every homeowner a potential energy profiteer.

      In his vision of the future, Coal-fired power plants are a thing of the past. Gas-guzzling vehicles that once tied the nation to oil-funded tyrants are replaced by electric alternatives. American wars in the Middle East have been relegated to a darker chapter of the nation’s history.

      “For less than one trillion dollars, we could have free energy in our country forever,” Kennedy told an audience of hundreds at the Telus Conference Centre in Whistler yesterday (March 4).

      Speaking at the 20th anniversary celebration for the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment, Kennedy condemned what he described as an energy economy manipulated by lobbyists and corrupt politicians.

      “You show me a polluter, I’ll show you a subsidy,” he charged. “We’re giving $1.3 trillion in subsidies every year to the oil industry in our country. We give almost $1 trillion to the coal industry every year and about a half-trillion to the nuclear industry every year.”

      Kennedy continued, “Right now, we have a market in place which is rigged to reward the dirtiest, filthiest, most poisonous, most destructive, and most expensive fuels from hell, instead of cheap, clean, alternative fuels from heaven,” Kennedy said. “We need to switch that around.

      “There is no stronger advocate for free-market capitalism than myself,” he added. “The best thing that could happen to the environment is if we had free, true market capitalism in Canada and the United States.”

      Speaking for over an hour, Kennedy emphasized how important he feels U.S. President Barack Obama’s stimulus package is for reducing America’s enormous ecological footprint.

      According to various reports, US$100 billion or an estimated 13 percent of the U.S. stimulus package is intended for green measures. In contrast, the Pembina Institute says it’s calculated that only five percent of Canada’s stimulus spending is set to go to clean energy initiatives.

      Asked by the Straight where the Stephen Harper government’s stimulus package will leave Canada’s environment, Kennedy said he did not think Canada’s plan is good, but admitted he did not know its details.

      Turning his attention to the U.S., Kennedy praised the Obama administration for understanding that “an investment in green infrastructure in our country is the path out of this recession”.

      “It immediately begins paying divides back to our citizens, it creates millions of jobs, it reduces our trade deficits, it improves our balance of payments, it dramatically reduces our budget deficit over a very short term, and it makes us independent and it makes life in our country sustainable,” Kennedy argued.

      Adriane Carr, deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada, attended the AWARE event. Following Kennedy’s speech, she told the Straight that when compared to other countries’, Prime Minister Harper’s stimulus package is “the worst of the worst”.

      “We’re spending billions of dollars to prop up an old economy where the future is on an entirely different path,” Carr said.

      She criticized the Harper government for failing to follow the Obama administration’s lead in investing in renewable energy and instead focusing on nuclear energy and carbon sequestration.

      “Harper’s left us buried underground in the tar sands,” Carr added.

      Kennedy emphasized the green-energy opportunities that could be seized from the financial crisis.

      “We can turn every American into an energy entrepreneur, every home into a power plant, and fuel our country through our own energy initiatives rather than though Saudi oil,” he said, concluding, “Many of those same advantages would occur here in Canada through similar investments in an economic stimulus package that funds or encourages or incentives rational, green energy investment.”

      See also, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. slams B.C.'s run-of-river "gold rush".

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      Mar 21, 2009 at 5:37pm

      steek I quess really it is easy to make any statments you want when you have no real position in life but to be the son of some one. Can you realy please any any time all the time.

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      Mar 21, 2009 at 5:45pm

      steek People running for political power always seem to have the correct path to fallow, where as present leader ship has reality to deal with,(every home into a power plant) what the family on a tread mill hooked to a 12 volt generator?

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