Earlier, Public Eye broke the news that Louise Comeau, director of the Sage Centre's climate project, will be joining the provincial government's climate action secretariat where she'll be responsible for public outreach and strategic engagement. But that appointment may raise some eybrows in Ottawa. Earlier last month, Jennifer Ditchburn reported, "Insiders from three federal parties told The Canadian Press they have concerns that some of the activists judging climate-change action have become too cosy with the Liberals" - with Ms. Comeau being "one of the main targets of criticism."
"Comeau is a widely consulted environmentalist who has been on the beat for 20 years, a fixture at such high-profile events as the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and the meetings that formed the Kyoto Protocol in Japan in 1997. She also provided advice, while at a previous job at the Sierra Club of Canada, to the Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney," wrote Ms. Ditchburn.
"But Comeau had the closest relationship with the Liberals under Paul Martin. That began around 2000 when Martin unveiled funds for green municipal projects, and Comeau was working at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Comeau acknowledges she was consulted on the Liberal Kyoto plan called Project Green in 2005, but insists she was not involved in the actual writing of the document. One former government official saw it differently, saying Comeau was deeply involved in the formulation of the Liberal plan. Comeau also commented on the plan in the media as an environmentalist."
"That same year, Comeau and Martin's former policy adviser Brian Guest formed a think-tank called the Canadian Centre for Policy Ingenuity, of which Climate for Change is a direct offshoot," continued Ms. Ditchburn. "Guest left the organization to help Stephane Dion's Liberal leadership campaign last year."
"Comeau says she might have been 'naive' not to imagine that working with a former political aide would cause scrutiny, but she energetically rejects any suggestions that she has partisan motivations. 'The relationships I have are based on people's commitment to the environment and I'm very proud of the friendships I have, and they're not politically motivated,' she said. 'If that means this government doesn't like that, it's not a problem for me. I do my work and my analysis.'
"But author Jamie Heath, a former chief of staff to (New Democrat leader Jack) Layton and formerly with Greenpeace, says Comeau and others are far more critical of the Conservatives than they were of the Liberals - even though the Liberals were unable to meet the commitments of the Kyoto Protocol themselves."