Friday, March 02, 2007

Get It Together

Consider this constructive criticism, we need to get it together- NOW. To be blunt, reading stuff like this is maddening:
A day after Liberal Leader Stephane Dion said the Liberals would consider a carbon tax, his office denied it is under consideration.
Outside the Commons on Thursday, Dion was asked whether his party would consider a carbon tax. "We have a set of possibilities, and it's a possibility," he said. But on Friday, Dion's office issued a news release denying that a carbon tax was under consideration...

John Bennett of the Climate Action Network said he was disappointed by the apparent confusion.

"It definitely does sound like a flip-flop to me. They'd better come up shortly with some strong regulations."

Maybe Dion shouldn't have said what he did, but he did. Either Dion was trying to appease or he was genuine in his comments, I prefer the latter. Whatever, the real problem I have is releasing a complete contradiction the very next day. Are we trying to fuel the flip-flop argument? Is there a better way to re-inforce the Tory attacks?

The carbon tax idea is controversial, the Conservatives have tried to score points and we respond. I think the tactical play, leave the Dion quote out there, downplay it, something like- "we are currently wading through all the ideas, once we complete out consultations we will have a firm approach, although I would stress that the carbon tax idea isn't on the front burner". Bottomline, we don't have a concrete policy yet, so any "slip" by Dion (is it really, or are we just reacting to the Tories) is temporary. What has lasting impact is the appearance that you flip-flop, especially when the word is already on people's tongues.

The press release today was unnecessary, it looks desperate, and worst of all it accomplishes nothing. I don't see anything particularly concerning about what Dion said, don't micro-manage and clarify, it just makes it worse. Now we have environmentalists criticizing Dion on his strength. Sometimes the less said, the better, instead of the appearance of elementary contradictions that fit neatly into your opponents main line of attack.


Mushroom said...

This is called running an election campaign with no solid policies. There may be none if Harper engineers his own defeat and calls an election soon.

Olaf said...


The real question is: is this a flip flop of a flip flop, thus making Dion consistent? I mean, the environment was supposed to be his strong suit all along, the place where he knew where he wanted to go and how to get there, and throughout the leadership campaign he eschewed the idea of a carbon tax. So, basically, he's just sticking to his guns, after briefly putting them down.

Ed said...

Dion needs to get things together soon if he is going to stand a chance. (Not that I'd vote Liberal, I live in McGuinty's riding and he's an ass)

Harper and his pack of hell hounds look to be bound for a majority.

A country always gets the government it deserves...etc. I am kind of looking forward to the multiple "I told'ya so's" I have in my future.

knb said...

Good gawd, can we remove this ridiculous childish term from our vocabulary? Flip-flop, is so 2004.

I think what came out of Dion's office was a reaction to Poilievre and others, stating as fact, that Canadians will be taxed, x number of dollars under a Liberal government. That particular piece of slime, Pierre, seems to have been given the green light to say whatever he chooses and he lies.

That said, I think it was not smart to react the way the Lib's did. I'm sure it is on the table, but as Olaf points out, he's never been behind it.

In the end, I think the Lib's are nervous right now and frankly, rightly so. Lies are being ingested by the public and I presume they want to kill them asap.

I would also suggest that they have not worked out a good communications strategy, both within the Party and to the masses. It's only been a few months for heaven's sake.

We who are Liberal's may be expecting too much in our fervour to oust Harper. Olaf will disagree, but I think the media is doing the same thing and painting Dion far too quickly, buying the strong Harp b.s.

Now for the bad news, :).

Strombo had Luntz on tonight. Yep, Frank. "he who has the most ironic name on the planet", Frank Luntz. Strombo didn't go after him, question him on his past, no, he kept holding up his book and spoke to nonsense, all the while giving Frank a free infommercial.

What's really sick, in closing, Strombo (who I thought was a dipper), asked Luntz what advice he'd give Harper. Luntz say's, "go after the fact that the Lib's had 13 years, did nothing, we've been here a short time and we're getting it done."

I almost lost my dinner, what say you?

Scotian, if you're reading, the show is on again at 11:00 I think, EST. Go to CBC to find out.

Orchard said...

Here's another interesting contradiction:

-Harper is in government and the general feeling is, wait and see.

-Dion becomes leader and the general feeling is, outright cynicism that he hasn't moved mountains yet.

Harper gets a pass while Dion is scrutinized under a microscope, and made to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he's got what it takes.

It's a double standard that is pretty ridiculous.

Anonymous said...


The Environment file is still one the LPC can leverage since nobody knows what is being cooked in the Committee cauldron. Nobody but David Suzuki is expecting much.

Here is where the LPC gets to cut policy.

There are three ways of applying the carbon "non-tax".

The one way, whiich is a bigtime loser is to apply it at the site of production and stick it to the big corporation. It sounds good from afar but sucks up close. Firstly, it is without a doubt a "carbon tax", secondly, all it has done is gotten a tax passed onto the consumer indirectly ansd also made our exports less competitive by the amount of the tax. Sounds like the NEP doesn't it? People living in energy producing provinces would think so too.

The next option is to tax the user directly. That would be a retail tax and would leave our corporations free and clear and instead put the use advantages on the backs of the consumer. Not a very efficient way to cut carbon emissions (ask the smokers and scotch drinkers about this one).

The third way is to give all consumers a carbon limit and we can use up to our personal limits without paying extra, if we go over, we end up buying carbon on the open Canadian carbon market (not international) to finish our purchase. I believe they are going to give this a go in England. It kind of sounds like two tier health care and it also may work.

People should start talking about the options that are out there.


Steve V said...

Why are we "reacting" to irrational attacks? It's a defensive posture, which is the exactly the reaction the Tories want. It's all irrelevant until we have a firm platform. It's interesting that Luntz comes up, because this Republican 101.

There is no excuse for not having a good communications strategy, it's not like the Liberals within Dion's circle are rookies.

Olaf is right with the "strong suit" comment, which is why the appearance of weakness is a concern. The sky isn't falling, I don't mean to sound pessimistic, but we don't have the time for prolonged on the job training, that's just the reality.


"Harper gets a pass while Dion is scrutinized under a microscope, and made to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he's got what it takes."

People will probably remember the media treating Dion with kid gloves during the run-up to the convention. Puff piece after puff piece, which led me to believe that the media appreciated his intelligence and sincerity. It is quite strange to listen to them now, we can't understand him, what is he saying, weak, etc. There doesn't seem to be any balance with Dion. The only caveat, the media will probably turn again.


I'm all for a carbon limit, especially for a place like Ontario, which produces GHG's for electricity. A formula, with stepped rates, which punish excess. Electricity needs to be seen as a precious commodity.

Anonymous said...


Call up Dion and get him to "ask" people their views.

If he wants good press, the best is for him to talk for 20 minutes explaining simple alternatives and then turn it over to a town hall where he listens attentively and nods sagely.


lance said...

Steve said: "we don't have the time for prolonged on the job training, that's just the reality."

Actually, that isn't the reality.

It depends on your perspective, I guess. If you expect to win the next election, they yes, I suppose there is no time for OJT.

If you want to train a new shadow cabinet, new advisors, and a new leader then it probably isn't out of this world to think that they might need a bit of time on point before the job becomes second nature. Maybe, god forbid, get their asses kicked in an election.

We've all been here before. The difference is that the last time the losers of this type of exchange wasn't the vaunted "natural governing party".

UWHabs said it on Calgrits Poll post. I'll paraphrase it here, Liberals need to get over themselves.

Canadians really don't care that the Liberals aren't in power. Honest, they really don't.

_You_ (the general one) may think that Harper is ruining the country, but most people don't. Deal with it.

If you're lucky Harper won't trigger an election, if you aren't . . . oh well. C'est la vie. The Liberals will lose and that'll be that for another 1.8 or 4 years.

Oh well. It don't mean nothing. We'll all be here the next time.


Jason Bo Green said...

Get it together NOW? It's way too late. I was excited about Dion at one point, but I'm over him. If Tory claims that they assisted in knocking Rae out early are true - well, chalk a victory up for them, then.

Jason Bo Green said...

A bunch of "I told you so's", uuughhh, give me a break.

You sound like any brainiac conservative talking about how "liberals are going to ruin the country". Liberals didn't ruin it, Harper won't ruin it either.

Grow up.

Steve V said...


I approach this as if the next election is still winnable, otherwise what is the point really.

I honestly don't understand the "get over yourself" angle, you have a philosophy, you see a government that is diametrically opposed to those value sets, so you don't want them in government. It has nothing to do with the natural governing party, it's more a rejection of a right wing agenda, and make no mistake, that is EXACTLY where we are heading.


I have no idea what you are referring too.

Gayle said...

Today, in the politics section of the Edmonton Journal, there was an article on how Harper is not following his own Accountability Act. The article suggested he was deceiving Canadians on this front.

No mention of carbon tax, at all.

lance said...

Steve, I wasn't saying that fighting the fight isn't worth the time, energy and money. Been there, remember? 15 years of campaigning, financial support, rallies. Everyone knew that there wasn't a hope of winning, not with a fractured right. Everyone still wanted to win and played to win.

All I'm saying is that as much as the liberal blogosphere hyper-ventilates at the mere mention of a CPC majority, I don't think Canadians in general share that anxiety. After a year, the "boogey man" has been shown to be just another Mulroney, just another Chretien.

The "get over yourselves" that I mean is that it will not be the end of Canada as we know it if Harper wins a majority. Canadians aren't going to see that the Liberals need to swoop in and save the country.

Dion's biggest issue isn't defeating Harper, it's trying to lower the expectations of the liberal support structures.

There is _no way_ a new leader and team can step in and right any ship in three months, or even a year. It will take time. Time to rebuild the party, time to develop strategy, time to develop policy.

When Harper pulls the plug we'll be left with a CPC majority or another CPC minority. That's a _good_ thing for Liberals. It gives them time.

More Liberals need to think of that and stop expecting miracles.


Gayle said...

I agree with that last post by lance. I certainly have concerns with some of Harper's policies - his tough on crime stance for example is going to be very expensive, and, if history is any predictor, will probably result in higher crime rates rather than lower rates. However, except for the hundreds of people who may become life-time criminals rather than be rehabilitated, things will be corrected when Canadians elect a government that will do the right thing rather than the popular one.

The most damage Harper could do is to the constitution - and I highly doubt he is going to get the support for that.

I would certainly prefer him in a minority though :).

Anyway - the talk on some blogs about how the liberals will have to find a new leader if Dion cannot beat Harper in the next election is really silly and self destructive. It supports the view of many conservatives that liberals feel they are entitled to lead this country. No democracy is healthy unless there is a change in government every few years. I come from Alberta so I speak from experience!