Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sitting Pretty?

Some are worried that Dion's tax shift is being defined for him, by his opponents, before he can define it himself. Some angst, that in waiting, the Liberals are losing the public relations battle, imperative for selling a policy, which will invariably have some complexities. After watching Ignatieff on QP today, and the subsequent questioning of Layton and May, I am more convinced than ever that the Liberals are really sitting pretty, as everyone else reacts, exposing themselves, without any actual commitment.

Ignatieff stressed that the general theme was developed, the carrot and the stick, but said people are still "working on the details". Ignatieff's only real talking point was arguing that the policy would consider the poor, people on fixed incomes, rural Canadians, farmers, those in northern regions. Ignatieff volunteered this angle, and it speaks to why waiting has been beneficial. The NDP and Conservatives have already articulated their attack lines, which allows the Liberals to tinker at their leisure, to ensure that the policy's ultimate release speaks clearly to any criticisms. I fall back on what I've said before, the Liberals have the benefit of watching a national focus group, debating the merits, laying out the pitfalls, all the while not defined, not boxed in to anything, able to digest and react. As Ignatieff said, the policy is still being developed, does anyone doubt people aren't focused on shoring up any weak spots? I consider this an envious position.

What became obvious later, Layton is now on the defensive, defending his own resistance to a tax shift, forced to show he hasn't lost the high road on the environment. The NDP are now reacting to the Liberals on the environment, they are taking their cues from Liberal policy, as opposed to the usual circumstance. On center stage, the Liberal plan, everyone else speaking in reaction.

On top of that, we now have Elizabeth May, effectively having Dion's "back" on a tax shift, supporting his idea, while simultaneously trashing the NDP. You can argue the merits of any plan, but I think it pretty much indisputable that having two separate parties arguing essentially the same idea has the potential to hurt the NDP, the Dion/May supposed alliance is starting to move to the practical:
NDP Leader Jack Layton's opposition to a carbon tax shows he's more interested in hurting the Liberals than helping the environment, says Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.

"Canadians are sick of politicians who don't tell them the truth," May said.

Some politicians "want to pander to prices at the pump while ignoring disappearing glaciers, persistent droughts and increased storm events," she said.

"We need to act on the climate crisis, and I'm disappointed that Mr. Layton is on the wrong side of this one."

Moving forward, there is no question that the acrimony between the NDP and Greens can, and if today was any indication, will work to the Liberals advantage. If there is one issue, that reporters will seek out May, it's on the environment, it's where she will get maximum exposure, and now, it just so happens she will argue in favor of the tax shift, while slamming the NDP. There will probably be minor points of distinction between the Green and Liberal plan, but the broad strokes create a two-pronged attack, somewhat insulating Dion. In terms of strategy, it's hard to see the downside for the Liberals in this scenario. It is actually Layton that runs the risk of being isolated, as environmentalists and economists, Greens and Liberals, argue from the same angle, and he is left to defend why cap and trade is the only way to go. Toss in the criticism, what is good for the NDP, over what is good for the planet, and you have a bad narrative developing. You can see it in British Columbia

Another poll out today, that shows growing support for a carbon tax, as well as potential problems for the NDP's resistance:
- Canadians are warming up to the prospect of paying an environmental tax on activities that cause climate change, but they don't necessarily expect to get the money back in the form of income tax cuts, a new poll has revealed.

When told that the government of British Columbia had recently introduced "a carbon tax on fossil fuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," 72 per cent of those surveyed in the poll said that this was a positive step versus 23 per cent who thought that it was a negative step. The poll surveyed 1,009 Canadian adults across the country between April 29 and May 9, 2008 and is considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The support for B.C.'s carbon tax is fairly uniform across Canada," he said. "Six out of 10 people definitely support it when you look at the numbers."

The strongest support for a carbon tax appears to come from Quebec and the Atlantic provinces where 81 per cent and 77 per cent of respondents respectively said that the B.C. tax was a positive step.

People support cap and trade, so Layton finds support on that score, but it is really mute, since the Liberals are on board for that concept, plus:
A carbon tax and a cap-and-trade program both put a price on pollution - they're much more similar than Mr. Layton suggests," said Clare Demerse, a senior climate change policy analyst at the Pembina Institute. "Our poll does support Mr. Layton's call for investments in energy efficiency programs like home retrofits, but it also shows that Canadians want those investments to be in addition to carbon tax programs like BC's. Canadians understand the urgency of global warming and they see that we need both approaches."

Here we are today, Liberals standing back, watching everyone react, watching everyone expose themselves, flushed out of the weeds, with no details, no commitment, complete control. Allies are lining up behind, others are forced to defend, but there is no doubt who is on center stage. It is a great position, when you think about it, you can see the landscape ahead and you've yet to move, a rarity in politics.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

I know the details have not been anounced yet but I think it will be a hard sell. People that pay little or no tax, people who have to comute long distances to work and people on fixed incomes like students and retired people will do the math and decide wether they are personally better off under the plan or not. Many in the above categories will decide they are not.

Steve V said...

"I know the details have not been anounced yet but I think it will be a hard sell."

You only need a third to form government, four out of ten, it's a majority :) If this becomes THE issue in a campaign, and most agree it will, given the distinctions between the party's, it's doable.

Anonymous said...

You only need a third to form government, four out of ten, it's a majority :) If this becomes THE issue in a campaign, and most agree it will, given the distinctions between the party's, it's doable.

One problem Steve...Stephane Dion is your salesman.

Your unwavering support and untrained eye refuse to see this as a problem. It wil be yours and many other Liberal's biggest disappoitment on election night.

Dr. Tux said...

Anonymous,

There are few better than Dion to sell this policy. Few as tenacious, few as determined, few as steeped in the knowledge of climate policy, few as fair, and none in the position that Dion currently sits in.

knb said...

anon, you are dead wrong on that. In addition to what dr.tux said, Dion has credibility in terms of being honest, even in Quebec.

If this is the issue, I cannot think of place I'd rather be than behind Dion.

You're right when you say it will be hard sell. I don't think the concept will be difficult as polls are telling us, but getting an honest message track right will be important.

Steve V said...

"Your unwavering support and untrained eye refuse to see this as a problem."

LOL.

Anonymous said...

The Liberals and the Green Party can fight over the votes of people who want to let big corporate polluters get off scot-free while they saddle the average person with the blame and with paying the price for reducing GHG. The NDP can go after the much larger share of the population who want to see big corporate polluters and the rich pay the price of attacking climate change. I think that's a great position to be in!!

liberazzi said...

This might be a stroke of genius on Dion's part. Dion is taking the spotlight off himself and on to policy and clealy distinguishing the Libs from the other parties. Dion has also taken control of the agenda for the time being for the first time. Canadians are going to have a clear choice next election, but it is going to be a nasty fight. Can't wait...

On a side note, although it is good to have the Greens onside, but you have to wonder how it is going to affect their own numbers if the Libs are going effectively stealing their fire. Why vote Green if you are basically getting what you want with the Libs? I have a soft spot for the Greens, so it is a bit concerning.

Steve V said...

"The NDP can go after the much larger share of the population who want to see big corporate polluters and the rich pay the price of attacking climate change. I think that's a great position to be in!!"

The NDP can scream that the big polluters get off scott free, but don't expect to get much backing from the expert community, and then there is the risk of fear mongering, then you actually draw out people because its seen as outlandish. Dicey.

Everyone has their opinion, but I think the NDP is starting to get squeezed here, they're boxed in, which isn't necessarily the best position. I've already considered your point, that the Libs and Greens are offering the same, leaving the NDP with the lone alternative. Trouble with that idea, the Libs are on side with cap and trade too, people think you can have both, so it's not necessarily one or the other. Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see some Greens in parliament - in place of the "stale" NDP. New input would be refreshing.

Cons out, more NDP out, some Green in and Liberals IN.

Gayle said...

Interesting tactic:

Release some information on policy, allow other parties to go balistic, and then demonstrate the policy is not "scary" after all.

It all sounds vaguely familiar...

burlivespipe said...

It seems to be working so far. NdP falling all over themselves proving that they re the antithesis of economic stewards (yeah, let's chase the last big corporations right out of Canada!) while the CONs are dazed, with only their lame 'look, he's not a leader!' parrot choir at their website. I'm wondering if they aren't willing to produce a box of watered down climate control 'taks shifting' of their own just to fuzzify the overall issue - theirs of course would involve no real shift nor any resultant cap-n-trade nor any real pressure on industry...
I still remains in the details. And we better have something else up our sleeves, because Harper and his henchmen likely have some grenades in their arsenal saved for writ time. Rove wouldn't have schooled them any other way.

Anonymous said...

"Trouble with that idea, the Libs are on side with cap and trade too"

I predict that if the Liberals propose any sort of cap and trade at all it will be very, very weak.

There is a reason why rightwing economists and big business lobbyists are falling all over each other about how much they LOVE the Carbon Tax. My view is that when Tom D'Aquino and Andrew Coyne think something is a great idea - time to run in the opposite direction!

It's certainly way better for the NDP to stake out its own position on how to deal with climate change as opposed to having the Liberals say "let's have a Carbon Tax", have the Greens say "me too" and the NDP say "me three".

Anonymous said...

This basically sums it all up:

"David Coon, policy director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, says a "revenue neutral" carbon tax will not help the environment or reduce carbon emissions.

He says the only way a carbon tax can have a positive effect on the environment is if the resulting revenues are invested into environmental initiatives like renewable energy sources, construction efficiency programs, and public transportation.

"Neutrality is ridiculous. The point is that if you want to do something, we actually need to make some investments in things like converting our energy system over to one that is more environmentally sustainable."

A truly revenue-neutral tax could not theoretically accomplish any of those goals because government would not be accumulating any new revenues, said Coon.

He ridicules the idea that a carbon tax could somehow reduce energy consumption but won't be accomplished by skyrocketing gas and energy prices.

"If the expectation is that somehow that tax by itself is going to have any impact whatsoever on households, it will not. It will not have one bit of impact on households' consumption of energy," he said, noting that Efficiency New Brunswick's programs are already running on all cylinders."

JimBobby said...

Whooee! One correction, Steve.
On top of that, we now have Elizabeth May, effectively having Dion's "back" on a tax shift, supporting his idea, while simultaneously trashing the NDP.

"Supporting his idea"? Dion was opposed to a carbon tax not long ago. Elizabeth is supporting the same idea the Greens have espoused for years. It's long time GPC policy -- not Dion's idea. Sheesh! Steal it if you want but please don't claim the Greens are jumping on the Liberal bandwagon when the inverse is what actually happened.

The GPC and LPC are calling for revenue neutrality. The Con's are calling for doing nothing so essentally, they're on teh revenue neutral page, too.

The NDP is calling for raising costs for polluting industries and earmarking the additional funds raised for alternative energy initiatives.

Only the Dippers are calling for raising revenue. Dirty corporations and every other type of business derive their revenue from one source: their customers. Does anyone think that when dirty corporations are saddled with extra expenses, they will simply absorb those extra costs and not pass them along to the consumer?

Cap and trade can and does work alongside carbon taxes in many European and Scandinavian nations. It's not either/or and Jack should know that. He's driving voters to the Greens and Grits.

I'm curious as to why the NDP is so gung-ho on a free market solution. Especially a marketplace solution that is guaranteed to increase costs for the consumer.

JB

northwestern_lad said...

JB... "I'm curious as to why the NDP is so gung-ho on a free market solution. Especially a marketplace solution that is guaranteed to increase costs for the consumer"

Any plan that is actually going to reduce ghg's and emissions is going to increase costs, that's a fact, but it's how you mitigate those costs that's important. The NDP wants to use those funds to fund programs to allow people to acutally use less energy, therefore reducing their carbon footprint. Tax shifting does nothing put keep people in the status quo, and does nothing to reduce the emissions from those who have no choices. A carbon tax alone is a "cold turkey" solution, while what the NDP has been proposing for years is one that helps wean people off.

And Steve.... Elizabeth May is to Stephane Dion what Pierre Poilievre is to Stephen Harper. You have problems with Poilievre taking pot shots at people to cover for Harper, yet cheer Ms. May for doing the same thing for Dion. I'm quite surprised and I have lost a great deal of respect for Ms. May over the past couple of weeks, and I had a lot of it to begin with.

Last time I checked, there is no Liberal plan on paper yet, therefore nothing to attack people over, which is precisely why I haven't written about this topic to this point. I decided to wait to see the plan, look it over, and then comment rather than slam people who disagree with a plan that doesn't exist because they favour their non-existant figment of a plan. The whole tonne of this debate is disgusting me, and I know it's turning a lot of people like myself who might have considered taking their vote elsewhere away from both the Liberals and the Greens because of their "my way or the highway" attacks on the NDP. It's Harperish behaviour, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

How is it a "free market solution" to have government FORCE major industrial polluters to reduce their emission levels or else face heavy fines?

That is the OPPOSITE of a free market solution. It is a very interventionist solution!!

Jay said...

Northwestern Lad,
Do you realize that saddling big industry solely with the cost WILL have an impact on the average person in the form of job loss as the companies continue to ensure they make a profit?

Regardless average people pay, you can pretend they don't by only talking about the polluters but who do you think works for the polluters? I would rather pay a little more tax, save on my income tax than be unemployed as a company struggles to remain viable.

Jacks really messed up this time.

northwestern_lad said...

Jay.... now who's making assumptions. These companies are making massive profits, and if they pass the cost along, as you say, they won't be laying people off. Cap and Trade will not cost jobs in that sector right now.

A carbon tax, with offsetting corporate tax cuts that are revenue neutral, will not do anything to encourage these Oil companies to reduce their emissions, and if there is any shortfall in money, the companies will still pass that along. A cap and trade system will set hard caps, so if they are over that cap, they'll have to clean up their act and if they pass that cost along, the NDP plan will have funds, raised from the taxes paid on those emissions by the big polluters, to help Canadians reduce their energy needs through retrofitting homes and having more efficient vehicles. At the end of the day, this is supposed to be about reducing emissions and getting people to have better habits. That's not going to happen with a cold turkey approach.

Either way, costs are going to get passed along, but the question is how do you help mitigate those costs. Now you may be able to afford those costs, and I can too, but I'm thinking of others who are less fortunate than myself. Giving an income tax cut to people who don't pay income tax, like the poor and First Nations people living on reserve, does nothing to help them deal with the real costs of this.

As for Jack, this has been NDP policy for years, and long before Stephane Dion flipped all over on this. Those who are shocked by this haven't been paying attention and shouldn't be surprised.

JimBobby said...

Cam, do you think the NDP is opposed to a deal? What about accepting a combination of both carbon tax and cap-and-trade? Here's an article that talks about the complimentary nature of using a two-pronged approach.

Most environmentalists and economists agree that both methods are effective. Why not use both? They have both in many European and Scandinavian countries. Those countries are often held up as models of social democracy by the NDP. Why ignore and deny what they've accomplished?

The more I hear of Layton and his objections to tax shifting, the more it looks like obstructionism. We can't afford 10 years to build a cap-and-trade system while we do nothing else. We can't afford to wait until an undisputed champion sole solution rises above all possible choices. To wait for or hold out for a future perfect solution is to stand in the way of what is now possible.

Let's work together to save the planet. It's way more important than politics. We have an anti-Earth party and three earth-lovin' parties. Working together, we can get somewhere. When the Dippers line up with the anti-Earther Con's and stand in the way, we all lose.

JB

northwestern_lad said...

JB.... Layton's opposition to tax shifting has nothing to do with being obstructionist, it has to do with principle. The NDP has always pushed for a more progressive structure of taxation, not less. It's pushed for a system that looks at people's ability to pay. This move, shifting from income taxes that look at ones ability to pay, and replacing that with a consumption tax, that doesn't take the ability to pay into account, is a regressive tax move in that sense. That's one of the issues, and that's why the NDP has been against the Green's plan for so long. It's not about those who can afford to pay, it's about those who can't.

And by the way, I take offence to the insunation that somehow the NDP is lining up on the anti-Earth side. There is more than one way to be pro-Environment, and it just so happens that the NDP doesn't agree with the Greens plan or the Liberals so far hypothetical plan. It's that kind of attitude that's getting in the way of anyone working together. When your leader gets on the TV and starts talking in those terms, it makes it that much worse. If you want to go the "With us or against us" Bush-type approach, you're welcomed to do so, but there is more than one way to day anything right, and the people of Canada know that. If the Greens were serious about "working together", they wouldn't be taking cheap shots that the NDP for taking a path that many European nations have gone themselves.

JimBobby said...

Well, Cam, sorry if you take offense but I am looking at the issue from the standpoint that both a carbon tax and a cap-and-trade system have merit. You seem to disagree. Despite all the effort that the Greens have put into making sure a carbon tax is fair and despite our well-defined anti-poverty policies to ensure that those who cannot pay are not penalized, we are met with a wall of resistance.

One part of that wall is the Con's, who don't want to do anything to save the planet. The other part of the wall is the NDP, who say they want to do only what they have determined to be the only solution. The effect is a combined resistance force that threatens to thwart real environmental action.

Dion, to his credit, has changed his mind. He's accepted the concept of a carbon tax. Flip-flopping like that is very dangerous, politically. It would hardly seem that introducing a new category of taxation would be an immediate winning strategy. Kinsella sure didn't think so. Why, then, would someone take such a risk? Maybe, just maybe, it was for the sake of the planet.

We need to work together for the sake of the planet, even if that means changing your mind once in a while. A recent poll said 30% of Canadians felt the Greens are best able to provide environmental leadership. Libs got 17%, Con's 16% and NDP 10%. Layton is out of step with environmentalists and with green sentiment among voters. Standing in the way of sound policy is going to cost Layton votes. If he insists on stalling real action while settling for nothing other than a marketplace solution, small-g green voters will move away.

JB

Anonymous said...

"The other part of the wall is the NDP, who say they want to do only what they have determined to be the only solution."

Every party has its own approach to climate change (or lack thereof in the case of the Tories). The Liberal/Green approach is to blame the average person and make them pay higher prices for things that most people have little or no alternative but to use.

The NDP approach is cap and trade which makes high industrial emitters pay the price.

The beauty of cap and trade is that it is so much more immediate. You impose a hard cap and industry is obliged by law to reduse their emissions. This can happen FAST.

Expecting people to make drastic changes in their lifestyles is something that could take a generation and would be very, very gradual. Climate change is too urgent an issue for us to be able to wait 50 years while people reduce their personal GHG emissions at a snails pace (if at all) in response to a very, very slow phase in of the so-called Carbon Tax.

Wayward Son said...

NWL - "Last time I checked, there is no Liberal plan on paper yet, therefore nothing to attack people over."

It appears as though you are upset at May for criticizing Layton for his party's position because there is no Liberal plan yet. But she doesn't need to know what the Liberal plan is to criticize Layton as she knows what the NDP plan is and finds it lacking (whether you agree with her or not, she has every right as a leader to criticize another party's platform in areas where it is different from her own). It is Layton who is criticizing a plan (Dion's) without having seen it. So I hope that you are as if not more disappointed in Layton.

The other thing I don't really agree with is when people say that "this" has been GPC policy forever, or "this" has been NDP policy forever on climate change as if a longstanding unchanging policy should be a badge of honor (and I am a GPC member and a former NDP member). I have followed climate change closely for a very long time and what I have found is that when people decide it is true they don't really adjust their thinking to reflect the reality of climate change. They adjust their "reality" of climate change to reflect their political ideology. For most of us it is generally very obvious when we look at Preston Manning or Newt Gingrich when they decided that climate change was real and a major threat. Lucky for them they knew the "perfect" and "only" solution and it just so happened to match their longstanding political views - they should buy a lottery ticket. What should happen is they should say ok the science is obvious so let’s take a look at every conceivable approach; evaluate them from as unbiased opinion as possible and come to a range of conclusions. What appears to have happened is someone explained how fighting climate change matched their far-right political positions and when they realized that climate change didn't have to challenge their ideology they accepted it as real. I find the same problem from the far left. The several socialists I know and the many I come across online seem to accept climate change (they don't know, understand or care about the actual science) because the acceptance of it "confirms" their long held views that capitalism must end. Have they ever thought about any eco-capitalist ideas? Nope, eco-socialism and the end of capitalism are the perfect and in fact only answers. Climate change to them is proof that capitalism is on the way out. The fact that the solution can never occur in a capitalist society is so obvious that to even question it would be ludicrous. Again they should buy a lottery ticket. It seems in all cases the bigger the crisis the more obvious it is that "my side" has the only answer.

That brings me back to the NDP and the Green Party (I can't really speak to the Liberals and Conservatives as it is only the GPC and NDP that I have been a part of) and when they accepted that climate change was real - which was from the beginning. Both developed policies, both felt that this was an issue large enough that it would change the way people lived. But both developed policy etc that matched and emphasized their long held political views and principles. Neither has ever thought that this was a large enough issue to put everything on the table. Neither has ever for a second wondered if maybe they should challenge any of their long held beliefs (as an example is the GPC and to a lesser extent the NDP on the issue of nuclear power. Their position is not supported by the majority of the relevant scientific community and even those in the scientific community with relevant expertise who really don't like nuclear power still think that an end to coal should take priority over an end to nuclear. But I have yet to see the GPC say maybe we should have an internal debate over this issue, bring in some experts to challenge our position, reevaluate what policies should take priority, maybe discuss possible ways that nuclear power could be a part of the solution in the short term. No, instead they hardened their position, and are making statements about nuclear power - like saying that lifecycle CO2 emissions are as high with nuclear as they are with coal and natural gas - which as far as I can tell have zero scientific support. Regardless they may be right in their position, but whether or not they are is not the point. They have never questioned their policy on nuclear despite the fact that the reality and challenges we face has changed dramatically since their position was developed 20 years ago, along with far better safety standards and back systems, newer technologies, and a reevaluation of the actual impact of Chernobyl. Things are viewed in black and white and when climate change reared its face the black only got blacker and the white only got whiter).

So I personally don't mind that the Liberals have yet to announce their policy and I hope that there is spirited and educated debate about how the policy should look. I am a supporter of the GPC and (probable) Liberal position of using both tax shift and cap and trade, for the simple reason that I believe broadness of ideas and policies and the flexibility that comes with it is the best way to approach a problem as large as the one we face.

Wayward Son said...

Anon - "Climate change is too urgent an issue for us to be able to wait 50 years while people reduce their personal GHG emissions at a snails pace (if at all) in response to a very, very slow phase in of the so-called Carbon Tax."

Again if climate change is so urgent than why would doing one (in this case cap and trade) be preferrable to doing both as even you admit that a carbon tax would have influence?

Anonymous said...

You criticize Layton for reacting negatively to a Liberal policy that hasn't been released yet - but then you turn around a shower praise on a Liberal policy that hasn't been released yet.

Why praise a policy that in all likelihood will be pathetically weak and inadequate? Dion has already murmured that his plan won't have any impact on the price of gas - so if it won't be applied to gas and there are going to be a plethora of other exemptions and exceptions - it makes me wonder whether in the end for all the rhetoric about a carbon tax - it will end up being so small and so symbolic that it will have virtually no impact at all!

If you want real action on climate change an AGGRESSIVE cap and trade system is the way to go. Either that or else actual outlaw behaviour that creates GHG - bring in CAFE standards that are so rigorous that it is almost impossible for any SUV to comply with them!

Anonymous said...

"if climate change is so urgent than why would doing one (in this case cap and trade) be preferrable to doing both as even you admit that a carbon tax would have influence?"

Because the first step has to be to take the revenue from cap and trade and plow it into a massive investment in environmentally friendly infrastructure etc... You can't expect people to massively reduce their driving and massively reduce the amount of home heating fuel they use until the programs and alternatives are in place.

Why are people so eager to punish the average person - when the real culprit is industry? We could do more to reduce canada's GHG emissions by shutting down the oil sands than we would if every car in the country stopped running!

Steve V said...

JB

"Sheesh! Steal it if you want but please don't claim the Greens are jumping on the Liberal bandwagon when the inverse is what actually happened."

Maybe I didn't say it correctly, I didn't mean to suggest that the Greens are on the Liberal bandwagon, just that May will be onside with the Liberal position, a position she held previous.

Cam

"Last time I checked, there is no Liberal plan on paper yet, therefore nothing to attack people over,"

Then, if that's the case, why are all the NDP attack dogs going after the Liberals? Seems to be okay, so long as there is no incoming for the NDP.


Besides, I don't recall any concern when Layton and Harper were holding meetings, in the aftermath of the 2006 election, which was widely believed to be a mutual benefit pact to squeeze the Liberals. If this is happening to the NDP now, it's just a case of what's good for the goose, is good... It's politics, and the NDP knows the game well. Turnabout is fair play IMHO.

Anonymous said...

"I don't recall any concern when Layton and Harper were holding meetings, in the aftermath of the 2006 election, which was widely believed to be a mutual benefit pact to squeeze the Liberals."

Who else was there? The Jews, Freemasons and the Vatican and the Bilderberg group?? Did you big this meeting to figure out what was happening?

There is only one party that has voted with the Harper government on EVERYTHING for the past 8 months and propped them up in exchange for NOTHING - The Liberals.

Maybe it was Dion who secretely met with Harper and said "Yes sir Prime Minister - the Liberal Party will do its part to help you implement your entire agenda and we ask nothing in return"!!?

Steve V said...

anon

I suggest a re-read of Hansard for the spring of 2006. When you do, you will see EVERY Layton sentence prefaced with an attack on the Liberals, despite asking the GOVERNMENT a question. You will also see, around this time, and in the months after, Harper and company lauding the NDP as principled, in comparision to the Liberals. Pardon me for using my basic common sense. Isn't it strange, not one meeting with the official opposition in a minority parliament, yet Jack is invited for a few sit downs, to discuss what exactly?? Please, it was all so obvious, it actually insulted the senses.

Anonymous said...

Layton and Dion have had many meetings as well.All the party leaders meet with each other on occasion. Back in 2006 the Liberal leader was Bill Graham who is actually pretty good friends with Jack Layton from a way back and they would often meet for drinks as well.

If Harper says that the NDP is a more principled opposition than the Liberals - maybe its because he's right. You can hardly call the Liberal behaviour of the last 7 months "principled" can you? What principle are they upholding by propping up the Tories and letting every single solitary bill pass???

Anonymous said...

"I suggest a re-read of Hansard for the spring of 2006. When you do, you will see EVERY Layton sentence prefaced with an attack on the Liberals, despite asking the GOVERNMENT a question."

In the Spring of 2006, the Tories had been in power for such a short time that they hadn't even found the way to the men's room - let alone established any record. Canada was still being run under the policies of the Liberal ancien regime that had been in power for 13 years (13 years of TOTAL inaction on climate change i might add)

Steve V said...

See what you want, I have no doubt that Harper and Layton entertained ways to squeeze the Liberals. None.

Anonymous said...

See what you want, I have no doubt that Dion and May entertained ways to squeeze the NDP!

AND YOU CAN'T DENY IT!!

Steve V said...

anon

Good :)

Wayward Son said...

Steve - "See what you want, I have no doubt that Harper and Layton entertained ways to squeeze the Liberals. None."

Of course this is true. I have known Layton since the 90s. I had been pushing for him to be the next leader of the Federal NDP since late '99 or early 2000. In all of our conversations it was pretty obvious that Layton wanted the Liberals to cease to exist or at most to just being a skeleton, as has been the situation in the UK for years and the situation on Toronto city council - I, of course, agreed with such a goal at that time (although I have never agreed with the typical NDP rhetoric that there is no meaningful difference between the Liberals and Conservatives). It is really no secret among the NDP and why they always concentrate their attacks on the Liberals.

Anonymous said...

"It is really no secret among the NDP and why they always concentrate their attacks on the Liberals."

I guess that's why the NDP keeps voting non-confidence in the Tories while the Liberals keep propping them up and supporting their entire agenda!

Möbius said...

The NDP can go after the much larger share of the population who want to see big corporate polluters and the rich pay the price of attacking climate change. I think that's a great position to be in!!

That's a pretty silly thing to support, considering the "big corporate polluters and the rich" are smart enough to download costs to you and me, the consumer. Carbon tax or cap and trade, the consumer will (rightly) be paying.

It's the biggest problem with supposely not charging a "direct" carbon tax on gasoline, as well. The latter is why I suspect it's political bullshit, even if I support the concept.

Steve V said...

"I guess that's why the NDP keeps voting non-confidence in the Tories while the Liberals keep propping them up and supporting their entire agenda!"

It certainly explains all these confidence motions they keep introducing, just a vehicle to embarrass the Liberals. I mean, I argued the Libs should have supported the climate change motion, but even there it was blatant opportunism on the part of the NDP. I wanted to bring them down, so I supported voting with the NDP, but I was under NO illusions, as to what the motivations were. I know this might be hard for you to believe, but yes, egads, the NDP and Jack Layton play politics, with great frequency. The horror.

Anonymous said...

"the NDP and Jack Layton play politics, with great frequency. The horror."

Why shouldn't they? I expect politicians to play politics - otherwise they should be doing something else. The Liberals sure as hell play politics too.

Steve V said...

"Why shouldn't they? I expect politicians to play politics - otherwise they should be doing something else."

Exactly, so quit moaning when the shoe is on the other foot, or claim some moral high ground, when we all know what everybody is trying to accomplish. If I was the NDP, I would be trumpeting the fact that they are the real opposition, and doing everything I could to cement that narrative. Just don't try and tell me it's all about principles, because it isn't.

northwestern_lad said...

Steve...

""Last time I checked, there is no Liberal plan on paper yet, therefore nothing to attack people over,"

Then, if that's the case, why are all the NDP attack dogs going after the Liberals? Seems to be okay, so long as there is no incoming for the NDP."

First off, you'll noticed how I first mentioned how i'm holding my fire. Second of all, where do the Liberals get off attacking the NDP for a plan they actually have while they are busy pumping up a non-existant plan??? Right now the Libs are running on fairy tails and pixy dust as a plan right now, and if that's not fair to point out, then nothing is.

Finally, this whole "the NDP is only out to get the Liberals.... the NDP does nothing on principle" bit is getting really old. If we meet up at the Prog Blog bbq this summer, i'll be sure to bring you a piece of tin-foil headwear for you, because you're starting to sound "Conservative Paranoid" ;)

Steve V said...

"Finally, this whole "the NDP is only out to get the Liberals.... the NDP does nothing on principle" bit is getting really old."

Almost as old as, "everything we do, we do for you" routine. I never said principle was void, just pointing out, that the NDP does employ political strategy, and that take precedence from time to time. NDP supporters just seem a tad sensitive, when anyone suggests an alterior motive. It's alright to trash the Libs, but don't dare say a non-confidence motion wasn't hatched to embarrass, when anyone with remedial political reading can see otherwise. Look, I voted for the NDP, but I was never under any illusions. I still say, the 2006 debate, watching Layton, was one of the most transparent political powerplays I've ever seen.

Anonymous said...

"just pointing out, that the NDP does employ political strategy,"

No one ever denied that. The main difference is that the NDP at least has SOME internal debate over the principles that are at stake over a given issue. I'm convinced that "principle" never even enters the conversation in Liberal circles. If they thought it was good politics to send Canadian troops to fight in Iraq - they would do it in a New York minute. I don't think there is ANY line the Liberals wouldn't cross if they thought it would get them more votes.

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