"Today, We Resolve To One Day Act"
Just imagine if other politicians were clever enough to adopt this strategy. If Jean Chretien had vowed to scrap the GST by the year 2037, he could proudly say "we're one sevenths of da way dere. Gives me thirty more years!". And it doesn't even matter if the politician follows through on his promise. If George Bush gave himself a 44 year window to get out of Iraq, I'm not fully confident that's a promise which could be kept. But, even then, Dubya will be long gone by the time 2047 rolls around and with midterms around the corner he could proudly proclaim today that they're still on track.
And timelines like this could be golden for all aspects of life. Leaf fans may be demanding of a Stanley Cup but John Ferguson Jr. should patiently explain to them that he's working on a 44 year plan and that they'll win one by 2050 (once again, still a longshot, but at least it's not his concern). At work, insist that your deadlines be mapped out in terms of years rather than days or weeks. If your wife asks you to do the dishes, promise to do the dishes...within the next few decades.
So while the Clean Air Act itself may be a lot of hot air, I for one applaud Harper for his cunning political play.