Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Liberals Issue

Yesterday it was childcare, today Stephen Harper is bullying the opposition parties on its crime legislation. Clearly, Harper has calculated that his priorities are unstoppable and he can operate with relative impunity. We are beginning to detect a certain arrogance with this government, which is not without justification. How can the opposition argue against tax cuts, childcare money and tough action against violent criminals? For Liberals, there is only one realistic issue on the horizon that trumps Harper's full proof plan.

The new Strategic Counsel poll offers the glaring clue to pierce Harper's strategy. When Canadians are asked what issue is most important to them, for the first time I can remember the environment comes in a solid second. This finding reflects the emerging consensus that we must act on the environment in a decisive way. Other polls have shown that the Conservatives score their lowest approval when it comes to the environment. Conclusion, the Liberals must make the environment their centerpiece issue as they emerge from this leadership debate. Harper is obsessed with staying on message to attain a majority, the only realistic option to sideswipe the manipulation is to trump him on environmental issues.

Despite what Harper may claim, he will never be able to champion environmental issues. The ties to big oil and gas, evidenced by the Environment Minister's past stances, negate any real chance for a progressive environmental agenda. If the Liberals are bold, and resist half-measures, they will find an electorate that is increasingly ready to tackle the reality. Even the death star had a weakness.


Stacy R said...

Harper said today in Winnipeg in response to the high gas prices that it is a world wide reality that we have to face and that, along with wanting to clean up the environment, is why they are actively purusing alternative energy sources and encouraging people to get on board with this. They have introduced the bio fuels measure that will require at least 5% bio fuels by 2010. Ethanol plants are opening up all over the country. Thee is a small incentive for a tax break on transit passes to encourage US to take some responsiblity.
The environment may affect us all - be WE all affect the environment.
Do people have to actually be BRIBED into doing their part?

Dennis said...

Brian Mulroney (a Conservative of sorts I always thought he was actually a Liberal because he has the same big corporate backers as Liberals) is being heralded as the "Greenest" Prime MInister in the history of canada.

Nominated by the lefty environmentalists including Suzuki and the Sierra Club.

Who knew.

Anonymous said...

Please let us not forget the newly conservative dull knife emerson; he has a wealth of info and sway on forestry issues.

Steve V said...

Harper has seized on this bio fuel alternative, when in fact it was largely underway already as a result of rendering plants looking for alternatives in the wake of mad cow.

You know the Harper perspective is lost when he puts faith in profit-driven monoliths to come up with solutions that contradict the bottomline. Regulation is the only way to reign in emissions, it's simply counter-intuitive to expect companies to act against their narrow self-interest.

For anyone who thinks Harper is serious about the environment I suggest a re-read of his "blue book" which offered token words, largely as an afterthought.

Anonymous said...

Government only has a limited amount of sway in this matter...but not in a traditional sense via direct regulating.

If the Canadian government were to use a combination of putting up large sums of capital for R&D (mostly the D side as the R side has been pretty much done for a couple decades now), plus mandate increasing mileage standards on vehicles across the board and also mandate that all new federal pool vehicles after a near future date are to be either hybrid or alternative/renewable fuel powered, this would have a large scale effect on the market.

Government could start the landslide that would be up to the rest of us to keep in motion.

Increasing gas prices are definately also going to help.

I remember reading an interview in a auto mag back when Chrysler introduced the Viper. When one of the top VP's at Chrysler was asked why are they introducing a 10 cylinder monster he replied that if the general public wanted cars and trucks that ran on hamsters and rubber band engines, you'd better believe that the auto industry would respond. For now, John Q public likes driving his/her gas guzzler.