Finally a cure for ‘family-time famine’

AARON WHERRY March 19 2007

Finally a cure for ‘family-time famine’

AARON WHERRY March 19 2007

Finally a cure for ‘familytime famine’

BY <dc:creator>AARON WHERRY</dc:creator> • Those wondering how the still-abstract concept of environmental policy will be packaged for the average Canadian family would have been well advised to note the rhetoric coming out of an aircraft hangar in suburban Toronto this week. There, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was promising $1.5 billion for enviro-friendly public transit and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty was framing the funding as a boost to traditional family values.

“Most of all I think that this is a great day for hard-working Ontario families,” McGuinty said. “It means that somewhere in the GTA, a dad who’s worked a long day is going to get home in time to sit down to dinner with his kids, in time to help out with homework, in time to simply enjoy time with his loved ones.”

This is the new spin. Forget the distant doomsday scenarios and focus on the family. If the prospect of dire consequences for your great-grandchildren isn’t enough, maybe you’ll be moved by the immediate enticement of a happier, healthier home life.

McGuinty is not the first to suggest a direct link between combatting climate change and preserving family values. Witness Green party leader Elizabeth May musing recently that income splitting for families might allow one spouse to work from home and subsequently drive less—cutting down on smog and helping little Timmy with his book report at the same time. Assuming the family hobby doesn’t include aerosol cans or burning coal, every minute spent around the home is a minute you and yours are not screwing up the environment.

“This is about helping families caught up in a just -in-time world,” McGuinty explained to reporters after Harper’s announcement, “who are suffering from family-time famine.” M