Saturday, April 28, 2007

Good Strategy?

Yesterday, I argued we need an election, based on principle. Moral obligation aside, is there not a strategic dynamic that also makes an election call attractive? If you scour the issues that speak to Conservative vulnerability, the two that first come to mind are the environment and Afghanistan. If there is opportunity for the opposition, relatively, those two files offer the best chance to derail the Conservatives ambitions.

I've already read that the NDP and Bloc are both rejecting an election call over the Green Plan. However, there are efforts underway to introduce the opposition's revised Clean Air Act and have a vote, as well as the Rodriguez motion that is set for passage in the Senate. These two looming realities mean that the environment will remain front and center in the coming weeks, with the potential for a climatic showdown.

We are already seeing a theme develop in the media that has the potential to backfire on the aggressive opposition. Yesterday, two separate columns, two mentions on newscasts, that all present the same question- if the situation is so dire, as the opposition argues, then can they afford not to have an election? Andrew Coyne jumps on theme today:
"If they are truly as committed to stopping global warming as they claim, and if the Tory plan is as much of a betrayal of that aim as they will say, then they have no choice: They must defeat the government, as soon as possible. If they do not, then they will have admitted, we are every bit as hypocritical as they are."

The opposition has the upper hand on this file, but if they continue to avoid election talk, then they run the risk of losing the "high ground". The media is almost challenging the opposition to put their money where there rhetoric is, and this potential negative connotation might make an election the politically prudent counter.

When you look at the Liberal leader, the man awash in green at the convention, who has made the environment his central thesis, articulated in the recent television ads, you have to conclude- if not this issue then what? A red hot debate on the environment is Dion's best opportunity. You can debate the pros and cons of Dion's legacy, but there is no question that he has made this argument his make or break issue, so tactically now might be the time, while we are guaranteed a high profile debate. What issue best plays to Dion's supposed strengths?

From the NDP perspective, the rallying cry of "getting things done" is no better illustrated than Layton and others working to revise the Clean Air Act. Layton can accurately take some credit, and use the revised bill to demonstrate why the NDP needs substantial representation in parliament. I can't think of any other issue where the NDP has distinguished itself in this parliament, why wouldn't they welcome an election that highlights their "achievement".

The NDP also has some potential as it relates to Afghanistan. The only party that advocates immediate withdrawal, there is an audience for that perspective. The lines of distinction could work in the NDP's favor.

As for the Bloc, you can make concrete arguments why an election might have an attraction. Afghanistan is a killer in Quebec, particularly during the busy insurgent season. Quebecers are also reject Harper's environmental policies, which creates a favorable landscape to take it to the Conservatives.

The harsh reality, we can expect more casualties in Afghanistan as the Taliban become seasonally active. The best way to gauge if an election call is politically smart is to look at it from the Conservative perspective. I doubt many in the PMO see the merit in going to the polls with Afghanistan a big unknown and a united opposition on the environment. I'm sure the Tories would prefer an election fought on say, a mini-budget, crime, record of achievement etc. If you accept the premise that the Tories would rather avoid any election with Afghanistan and the environment as the two main talking points, it tells you all you need to know about what the opposition should do. Let's not forget, Tory insiders freely admitted that their hope with environmental initiatives was to "neutralize" the issue. I would hardly characterize the present situation as neutered, more like hot button.

There are many arguments why the opposition should delay an election, and most of them are valid. Having said that, I don't think people should dismiss a quick election call out of hand, because the landscape is starting to look favorable, never mind those pesky principles.

42 comments:

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I think the word "mandate" applies. Harper's minority has no mandate to disregard the Geneva Conventions. It has no mandate to abrogate our Kyoto commitments. With a mere 36% support in 2006, it really has no mandate to act other than by compromise and consensus with the majority of our duly elected democratic representatives.

Any election should be couched in teh terms of mandate. If the voters decisively choose the Cons, they will have a mandate to do as they promisee in an election campaign. Another minority, Con or Grit, will dictate that politics and governance be done differently.

Canadians are rightly ashamed of what's happening in Afstan. We are dismayed at Harper/O'Connor/Day/MacKay's performances this week in the House of Comments. We are insulted by the sham ecoPlan.

And I wholly agree, the opposition needs to act if they want to maintain the position that these matters are serious and require immediate resolution.

JimBobby

Steve V said...

jb

The prospects of another minority doesn't necessarily translate to status quo. As you say, it could "dictate" that things be done differently, particularly on the environment file, if the opposition acts aggressively, quickly.

Anonymous said...

Does $300 million warrant another minority government? I don't think so.

JimBobby said...

"Does $300 million warrant another minority government? I don't think so."

The current regime has, so far, refused to work together with the majority of duly elected democratic representatives in the HoC. Either they start working together and respecting the will of the majority, or we need to go to the polls. We can't simply allow ourselves to be ruled by a minority that disregards our international commitments (Kyoto, Geneva) and sullies Canada's international reputation at every turn.

Canada deserves better. If the Cons don't believe in governmnet waste, they'll start working together and negate the need for a $300 million election.

JimBobby

ottlib said...

The two commentators I have seen that have stated the Liberals should put their money where their mouth is are Mr. Coyne and Ms. Hebert.

Neither one of them are to be trusted by Liberals. Despite his recent diatribes against the Conservative budget Mr. Coyne is a conservative (small c and big C) and has no desire to see the Conservatives defeated. As for Ms. Hebert, she dislikes Mr. Dion and would like nothing else than to see him defeated in an election because she believes (wrongly imo) that the Liberals would then get rid of him.

Politics has always been a mix of principle and strategy. The controversy over the Afghan detainees does not appear to be going away anytime soon and we still need to let the fact the Conservatives broke Canada's word on Kyoto to sink in amongst Canadians.

So although I would like to see an election on these issues they should be allowed to fester some more. Allow them to eat into Conservative support on a permanent basis.

Once the writ is dropped there will be no more QP with which to question the government on the Afghan detainees. The media will turn their focus from it and talk about the election and if the past two are any indication that focus will be on the horse-race and the election strategies as opposed to real issues.

All this to say have some patience. You published a poll in your last post that indicated to me that the recent troubles of the Conservatives has not sunk in yet. Give it time to do so, then pull the plug.

Steve V said...

ottlib

Don Martin said the same (clearly a Liberal), as well as Don Newman and another CBC reporter this morning.

Gayle said...

I certainly think the liberals have to make the motion in order to be consistent. I know there is an argument there is no point going to the polls when all indications are the end result would be the same, but by not making the motion the liberals are opening themselves up to allegations that this issue was not so important that they were willing to risk an election on it.

If the Bloc and NDP defeat the motion that will work out well for the liberals - they would have "walked the walk" but still not gone into an election they would have trouble winning. It would also give them ammunition against the NDP when the election is called.

Steve V said...

gayle

I agree. If the other parties don't support the motion, then the Liberals insulate themselves from this developing media talking point.

Anonymous said...

Did you heard David McGuinty and Nathan Cullen interviewed on "The House" this morning? (Baird was invited to join in but declined the offer.) For a change, Cullen didn't criticize the Libs, and ended the interview outlining his frustration with the Cons disregard for Parliament. He wants to pass Bill C-30 and (I paraphase) shove this bill down the Cons' throats.

wilson said...

Former Liberal Government Knew About Torture
http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/

ottlib said...

*sigh*

The government of Canada walked away from an agreement it made in good faith, probably breaking international law in the process, and the questions the MSM are asking are what will the Liberals do? With hints that if they do not take a certain action then it must mean they really do not care about he environment.

Is it any wonder why I so despise the MSM?

ottlib said...

The Paul Martin government is gone wilson and the Harper government is in. I am really starting to wonder if you have realized that fact.

This story really broke when it was revealed the Conservatives lied about the existance of that report from DFAIT and then were perceived to cover up negative aspects of it when they finally admitted its existance.

In short wilson, this story has gone way beyond torture, but keep the faith and by all means keep blaming the Liberals. Canadians love it when their governments lie to them and when they do not take responsibility for their actions. They particularly love it when the government does those things at the same time.

Steve V said...

wilson= grasping at straws

knb said...

I'm still not convinced that it's time to pull the plug Steve.

What really irks me though, is the damned media directing the story again. I really don't get how they feel they have the right to "create" opinion.

At least the opposition have all the heavy hitters on their side.

knb said...

gayle you make a compelling argument, but given that Layton offered to get the CAA back to Parliament, the Lib's could also be painted with, "more interested in power than acting immediately on the Environment", by doing as you suggest.

It's a tricky situation this one.

knb said...

ottlib: and the questions the MSM are asking are what will the Liberals do?

My sentiments exactly!

Steve, I've never thought of Don Martin as a liberal, to the contrary actually. Maybe I've only read his anti-lib rants.

JimBobby said...

wilson said...
"Former Liberal Government Knew About Torture"

When the Cons took power, they set about changing many things done under the former regime. They invested heavily in the military. They assured us that the neglect of the military under the Libs would be corrected under the Cons.

The Cons changed many Liberal policies. Are we to understand that they were (and still are) powerless to change this policy?

The Cons scrapped all sorts of Liberal policies -- Kyoto, childcare, Kelowna. To blame the Libs for this flies in the face of the fact that it is the Cons who have been in power for over a year and who continued with the practice.

If they wanted to change this policy, they could have done so. They didn't want to change it and they are continuing to defend teh practice. Blaming the Liberals at this point is buck-passing to the extreme. I thought the Cons wanted to be accountable.

JB

Steve V said...

Sorry knb, I was being sarcastic with the Martin comment, in reference to ottlib's Hebert, Coyne bias.

Thanks for the Gore link.

knb said...

Guess I'm a bit slow this morning Steve, :). Maybe another cup of coffee.

knb said...

btw Steve, Garth agrees with you and is finally speaking truth about the real Stephen Harper.

I wonder what it will take to shake the cobwebs out of the media's heads? If I read one more article about what a centrist Harper is I'm going to scream.

Gayle said...

knb - I do not want an election, and if there is any way the liberals can avoid it without opening themselves up to criticism then I am all for it - because you have to know the conservatives will certainly be playing the "then why didn't you table a no-confidence motion" card during the next election.

knb said...

I understand Gayle. It's a precarious place to be right now.

Scott Tribe said...

Interesting seeing Wilson link to National Newswatch..

I'd like to relate something. Craig Smith - who goes by the alias Ferrethouse - was the co-founder of the Blogging Tories along with Stephen Taylor. He stepped away from that... but he's still involved in blogging to some extent.

He's left a couple of comments at my site, and his referral URL he uses is the National News-watch link.

I asked him openly if that's his site. He's yet to reply.. but if it is his site, then Jason C. openly questioning who runs it might be something to be more closely examined.

Now, I haven't visited that site of late.. so have they anywhere openly identified who runs that site? It could be Craig is just using that url over my way to indicate that's where he reads... but most people use that with the understanding that they put in their own blogsite there so people will go check it out.

Anonymous said...

If you want to read Layton's letter to Dion and Duceppe, it's available at the NDP website.

"Use opposition day motions to recall C-30: Layton"
Jacqui

knb said...

Thx Jacqui.

Steve V said...

scott

I emailed the National Newswatch, after they posted two Sun Media Peter Jackson columns that were pure Tory cheerleading of the worst order. The response was they strive for a balanced approach, and the response was quite offended that I suggested a right-wing slant. I still visit, but I do see some bias. Keep us posted if you find out anything.

knb

Garth knows Harper:
"Stephen Harper is a truly dangerous man. It is time to stop him. I’ve seen him close, and in action. I know the people he has selected to be around him, and I know his agenda. He is an ideologue, masquerading as a populist politician. His goal is not to give Canadians the country they desire and deserve, but rather the nation-state he wishes to create."

knb said...

He sums it up well doesn't he Steve? I wonder if there are any others in the con caucus that feel that way?

Gayle said...

"I wonder if there are any others in the con caucus that feel that way? "

There might be a reason his MP's are not the most "intellectually gifted" people around. No wonder why he is bending over backwards to keep Anders. :)

Tomm said...

Wow,

LPC supporters are opendly talking about a media bias against them.

As a Harper supporter I see a huge bias against my guy.

If the media is against my guy and your guy then who is the media for?

... and by the way, a word of caution because I like you guys, don't drink GARTH's kool-aid!

Tomm

Scotian said...

... and by the way, a word of caution because I like you guys, don't drink GARTH's kool-aid!

Tomm

4:23 PM, April 28, 2007

Right, just as soon as you stop drinking the Harper/CPC Kool-Aid about things like Liberal media bias, until then physician heal thyself.

Tomm said...

Scotian,

OK then, drink the kool aid.

But there is a left wing media bias in this country.

Perhaps we are both right and the bias is non-partisan. Maybe the media is just into polarization. Maybe they just want people at each others' throats and therefore they sow the seeds of division.

I can say that, but I don't believe it. I think that in the coffee rooms of CTV, or the editorial room used for picking CBC Reader's Letters topics, that they look for things to criticize the right with. The media mavens think the right wing is funny, quaint, naive, and dangerous.

Tomm

Gayle said...

The Sun chain is definately biased - but they admit that.

As for the rest, I think the bias is all about what is the juciest story. The media LOVE a minority government. I think they love the Harper government - not because they think Harper is doing such a great job, but because they can get a lot of stories out of it.

Tomm said...

Gayle said:

"...The media LOVE a minority government. I think they love the Harper government - not because they think Harper is doing such a great job, but because they can get a lot of stories out of it."

I think you have hit the nail on the head. The media loves to criticize this government, but are also looking for the divisions and polar positioning to continue.

The politicians should quit playing the game. They should turn QP into a sleepfest and begin agreeing with each other in public if that is what their real position is.

Maybe the media would then lose their wedge into making Canadian's as cynical as all are.

My opinion may not be lucid or objective, but perhaps this would be a way of taking our government back from the Scott Reid's, Tim Powers, and media mavens.

I feel like "V" on Guy Fawke's Day.

Tomm

Olaf said...

I love Ottlibs comments, they're classics:

The two commentators I have seen that have stated the Liberals should put their money where their mouth is are Mr. Coyne and Ms. Hebert.

Neither one of them are to be trusted by Liberals.


It's not about trusting a newspaper columnist for advice, it's about understanding the implications of influential media opinions. Clearly, they're not Liberal strategists, so they aren't to be "trusted" for tacical advise, however you ignore influential media opinions at your own peril, which I think is the point Steve was making which you missed entirely.

The government of Canada walked away from an agreement it made in good faith, probably breaking international law in the process, and the questions the MSM are asking are what will the Liberals do?

I also love the "making an agreement in good faith" line of argument. It's so convincing. What exactly demonstrates good faith to you? That neither Martin nor Chretien did shit all about the issue of global warming? That Chretien picked the arbitrary 6% reduction number because Clinton chose 5%, and he wanted Canada to look that much better? That high level Chretien officials recently admitted that his government had no intention of working in any tangible way towards meeting the Kyoto obligations? If this is good faith, I'd hate to see a cynical ploy. Wake up.

Steve,

As to your larger point, I see the arguments that you're making, and I agree the two issues (the environment and Afghanistan) that you highlight are the Tories weak spots.

Quick thought, however: we all know that the majority of people vote first out of self interest, regardless of what they tell the pollsters. They vote for bread and butter issues before they vote for eco-altruism or foreign policy. It's an iron rule of politics - not that people ignore auxilliary issues, but that generally speaking they're concerned with their own well being before they're concerned with the well being of others, or with the environment.

Again, not to say that neither issue is capable of losing the Conservatives votes, or that Canadian's don't care about these issues, but I would submit that regardless of what the polls say, there are many issues "closer to home" which would be far more salient in determining shifting voter intentions. None of these issues (health care, taxes, child care, fiscal federalism, etc.) seem to find their way into your analysis here. Just a thought.

Mark Dowling said...

The Tories can afford to be on a war footing for an extended period - they have the money because their fundraising adjusted more quickly to the new norms of donation limits.

Can the Liberals keep up with the rate at which money gets burned in a de facto campaign? Cherniak's no-cost ads worked in the first cycle but it won't get as much free media play next time since the novelty value will have disappeared.

I find the concept of a "percentage" cutoff for mandate purposes of little value. I didn't hear Liberals complaining about Paul Martin's committing us to Kandahar with 36.7% or the majority governments Chretien got with 38-41%. This is the system parliamentary executives combined with FPTP gives us so to pretend that Harper's 36% falls critically short is just being a crybaby.

knb said...

By way of clarification here. When I was speaking of an election, I was considering the Environmental debate, not Afghanistan.

Personally, I don't think and don't want an election fought on that. I don't believe it is or should be a partisan issue.

The issue of O'Connor and such are valid issues to be sure, but whether or not Canada's International obligations are being met, I think the entire country needs to be rowing in the same direction.

I know it will be used and I'll be called naive, but that's what I believe.

What I cannot believe is how much this country has changed in such a short period of time.

Steve V said...

Tomm

Which party got a free ride during the last campaign, and which one was hammered relentlessly from all quarters. Exactly.

There are entities that have a left slant, and there are others that have a right slant. You just puppet the old Republican line that has become the conservative rallying cry, whenever everything doesn't go their way. Here's the deal in my estimation, which destroys the bias argument. A paper like the Toronto Star, which is considered a Liberal paper, does criticize Harper, but please find one nice thing that has been said about Dion since he took the helm, the paper has attacked him relentlessly. Now, contrast the "Liberal" paper with a Sun Media publication. That chain makes no apologies about its bias, in fact it flaunts it. If you do see a negative Harper piece, rest assured it will be countered by 3 apologist columns. In other words, Can West and Sun Media have an agenda, whereas a paper like the Star has a leaning. There is no comparision, and for people to suggest otherwise is intellectually dishonest, not to mention partisan. The left wing media is an illusion, and every study done on this subject has demonstrated the mirage, but conservatives can't accept that reality. It's a crutch.

Olaf

"None of these issues (health care, taxes, child care, fiscal federalism, etc.) seem to find their way into your analysis here.'

Fair points about real voter motivation, although I would argue that certain issues tend to dominate campaigns. If the media and/or events focus on the environment and Afghanistan, then those issues will be central to the election.

Of the issues you've mentioned, I fail to see how any of them necessarily play to Harper's advantage. As I've argued before, for every Quebecer happy with equalization, I can find another Canadian upset. Unless you subscribe to the "Harper sweeps" Quebec theory, then that issue will be a wash electorally. Health care? I see no mileage for Harper, his wait time plan isn't particularly strong and open for powerful rebuttal. Child care? Again, not really much there, or at least, not enough to put people firmly in the Conservative column. Taxes? Harper's might have a slight edge here, but again his last budget didn't really widespread tax relief, so he may need another mini-budget to cut personal income taxes before the rhetoric meets the reality.

Hi Mark

"I find the concept of a "percentage" cutoff for mandate purposes of little value. I didn't hear Liberals complaining about Paul Martin's committing us to Kandahar with 36.7%"

Did Martin have no support from the opposition? Actually, if you combine the Tories there was a full majority in favor, so I don't think that is the best example for your thesis.

ottlib said...

olaf:

The Kyoto Protocol was negotiated by scores of countries. The 6% below 1990 levels was agreed on by them. I am not certain who suggested that level or of the details surrounding those negotiations.

As for signing the deal in good faith it is true. We were at the negotiating table. We bargained from the standpoint of Canadians interests while other countries bargained with regard to theirs. Compromises were made and an agreement was hammered out.

The Government of Canada agreed to to the Protocols provisions. That is a simple fact. So unless you are saying the Chretien government agreed to it without having any intention of implementing the Protocol I would say that Canada agreed to it in good faith. As well, I stand by my statement that the current government is breaking the collective word of Canadians.

On another note, Liberals should not take advice from people who do not have its best interests in mind. If you have a problem with that statement might I suggest that you call up Stephen Harper and have hime take some advice from say, Jean Chretien. He is very experienced in the art of politics and a proven winner so the Conservatives would ignore his advice at their peril.

Scotian said...

I can say that, but I don't believe it. I think that in the coffee rooms of CTV, or the editorial room used for picking CBC Reader's Letters topics, that they look for things to criticize the right with. The media mavens think the right wing is funny, quaint, naive, and dangerous.

Tomm

5:13 PM, April 28, 2007

Which is why I keep telling you I won't do serious debate/disagreement with you. Which is also why I keep telling you that while your reasoning skills appear decent if the underlying assumptions you use as your foundation is crap then it doesn't matter how good those reasoning skills are the end result is still garbage. I have watched the myth of the liberal media bias grow for decades, first in the USA and now in this country from NA conservatives who could find no other explanation for why their beliefs did not sell, especially when honestly critiqued and honestly compared to those from liberals of various types.

You claim to see all these signs, has it ever occurred to you that you are suffering from confirmation bias? This is why I keep saying to those that proclaim they believe in this bias that unless you can point to a scientifically rigorous study for such in the media that this is faith based nonsense. The two studies done by McGill during the last two election campaigns did not support the contention of Conservatives like yourself about that bias, if anything they showed the Libs getting a harder time and the CPC getting an easier time. There isn't even that much evidence where the American claim is concerned.

So long as you continue to accept myths as fact, let alone claim that anyone that does not agree with your myths is clearly lying/ignorant/partisan you are not worth the effort of trying to debate with. You are entitled to your own opinions and I have no problems with that as I told you at Saundrie that while I would not respond you were free to continue commenting there and if others responded to you that would be fine, what you are *NOT* entitled to is your own facts and this is a classic example of this tendency of yours.

You seem like a nice enough person, you clearly are capable of thinking in a reasoned manner, but until you learn to distinguish between myth and reality/fact there is no point in trying to argue/debate with you. You claim we are the Kool-Aid drinkers, yet you are the one that clearly believes in an unsupported, unproven myth. This is why you get mocked despite being one of the more reasoned and polite supporters of the Harper regime online, it is not because you support Harper it is that you buy into his myths like the liberal media bias/conspiracy. Do you believe in the decades long Liberal judicial conspiracy from the Trudeau days to legalize SSM like Harper did in fall 2003 as well? Because both have as much hard evidence supporting them and both are positions that the PM you respect so has taken.

So yet again I say, physician heal thyself first before trying to treat others for that which you are clearly suffering from yourself, if nothing else you would be seen as far more credible and taken seriously for doing so.

Steve V said...

"The two studies done by McGill during the last two election campaigns did not support the contention of Conservatives like yourself about that bias, if anything they showed the Libs getting a harder time and the CPC getting an easier time."

Everyone knows McGill is a biased institution ;)

Olaf said...

Ottlib,

I thought I told you why the term "good faith" does little to describe the conditions under which Chretien signed Kyoto, which you have ignored entirely, so I'll try again.

1) If I make a commitment to do something specific, and do absolutely nothing to fulfill that commitment, it is normally not considered to be a commitment made in "good faith". If someone asks you to pick them up at the airport, and you agree, but don't make any effort to drive to the airport even though it was completely within your capability, it's probably little consolation to the person left at the airport that you assure them your commitment was made in "good faith". Surely, a commitment without any interest in acting towards it's fulfillment can't be considered one made in "good faith", can it?

2) It has been revealed by numerous media sources (Coyne and Wells to name two) that Chretien picked the 6% reduction target simply because Clinton picked 5%, and he wanted to have the moral high ground. It wouldn't look good for a Canadian to be out bid by an American, would it? Good faith, indeed. And if you still think it was a matter of "We bargained from the standpoint of Canadians interests while other countries bargained with regard to theirs", consider that Austrailia, a much smaller, much warmer country, decided to pledge a 8% INCREASE in ghg emissions under the protocol. Again, think about it.

3) Eddie Goldenberg, one of Chretiens closest advisers, had this to say about the signing of the treaty in "good faith":

In a speech to the Canadian Club in London, Ontario, Goldenberg said Canadians were not ready at the time for the political changes necessary to meet the targets laid out by the protocol, supporting the agreement’s principles only "in the abstract."

"Nor was the government itself even ready at the time with what had to be done," he said. "The Kyoto targets were extremely ambitious and it was very possible that short term deadlines would, at the end of the day, have to be extended."


Heartwarming, really, the good faith involved. I know you're a Liberal, but it doesn't mean you have to reserve all ability to think critically when examining the miraculous Liberal reign.

Steve,

I wasn't saying that the Conservatives actually have an advantage when it comes to the "bread and butter" issues necessarily, I'm just saying that if you're attempting to assess the possible outcome of a campaign without considering those issues closest to voters hearts, you're missing a big piece of the puzzle.

Furthermore, although Afghanistan and the Environment are obvious Conservative weaknesses, I'm not sure they're as weak as many hope. On the environment, despite the incessant crowing of environmentalists, most agree that the Conservative initiatives (Liberal initiatives +) are more substantial than anything the Liberals put together in the past decade. Even if Dion and many other informed observers say that it's not good enough, it's at least action on the issue that is relatively painless to the average voter, and according to the Coyne thesis, that's all most Canadians want.

Secondly, on Afghanistan, the Liberals are committed to keeping our troops in the south until 2009. Technically, so are the Conservatives, as they haven't yet endorsed any other policy beyond the motion they passed through the commons (with the support of many Liberals) last year. So where are votes to be won? Sure, Dion could pull a Martin, and tell Canadians that no matter those dastardly Conservatives say, they're planning to keep our troops there until George Bush lets them leave, but it's no guarantee that will work out in his favour, especially considering his lack of personal popularity as compared to Harper. If Afghanistan is going to win any party votes, it probably won't be the Liberals, considering that their policy is for all intents and purposes the same as the Conservatives, right?

ottlib said...

Olaf:

The Chretien government signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. It ratified it in 1998.

It then spent the next 6 years consulting with industry in Canada on how to implement it. However, Canadians industry generally disagreed with the Protocol so they stalled, never agreeing to an implementation strategy.

My greatest criticism of Jean Chretien on this file was the fact his government did not just give up the consultations on 2001 and implement the Protocol without further industry consultation. In short, impose it on them.

They did not do that. It took Paul Martin's government to begin doing it but we all know how long his government lasted. Indeed, Paul Martin's newly minted Environment Minister ended all consultations with industry and began putting together a plan to meet Canada's Kyoto targets, including regulations for industry. Any guesses as to who that minister was?

Olaf, you can deny it all you like but the Canadian government signed this Protocol in good faith. The international community believes that so the Conservative decision breaks that faith and the consequences of that action are incalculable.