Do As I Say, Not As I Do Dept: Laurel Broten, Minister of the Environment


We watched in dismay while the Anti-Gore forces attacked him for the size of his house. Much the same is happening here in Ontario where Minister of the Environment Laurel Broten, whose initiatives lately have been impressive, has applied to build a garage twice as large as permitted to hold four cars. A difference is Al owned the house already; Broten just set herself up for this one with an appalling error in public relations. As NDP environment critic Peter Tabuns said :"I don't think she practises what she preaches when it comes to the environment."

Broten, who as a Minister rates a limousine and a driver, has a Ford Escape hybrid, a low-emissions Volvo SUV, a Mercedes and a Porsche in her driveway. (She lives in the City and could bike to work in an hour if she wanted to) She is married to a lawyer who likes cars and defends him saying "When you're a young guy that grows up in Sudbury and you're the first guy in your family not to work underground, once you're successful you have dreams of having a couple of cars and you can afford them, you buy them."

A case can be made that she is being criticized for the sins of her husband. A case can also be made that Ministers are public figures who should set examples, and perhaps building a faux chateaux garage for a car collection should have waited until she was no longer Minister of the Environment, this just looks really bad. ::The Star

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