Saturday, August 09, 2008

Timing

Everyone has noticed, that this government has a habit of releasing unflattering reports, or items they wish to bury, on Fridays. It's pretty simple really, avoid much scrutiny on a slow news day, heading into the distraction of a weekend. Last Friday, three separate releases, the timing obvious, the intent clear. It's a consistent strategy, that even Conservative partisans can't credibly deny.

With that philosophy in mind, what then are we to make of John Baird's department releasing part of their GHG emissions reduction strategy on a Friday? I mean, this is a key component of the Conservatives emissions plan, one Baird has been promising for months, one that apparently leads the world, tougher than nails, proof positive that all the criticism directed at the government is unwarranted. Where's the fanfare, where's the press conference, why release it when nobody will really notice? Seems odd, because really the government should want maximum coverage to demonstrate to Canadians that their approach is the real deal. Instead, quietly released, hardly any press, almost ignored.

Nothing is by accident with this government, so we can take the timing as a clear indicator. If this is a "big step forward" as Baird offered, why the "walking on tippy toes" release? Could it be because the plan is weak? Or, could it also be because the government would have to admit a harsh fact:
Baird conceded Friday that some forms of energy would be more expensive under his government's approach.

The last thing Conservatives want to talk about is a plan that will mean higher energy costs. What about the seniors, the farmers, the truckers, the people who buy groceries, fisherman? Every Conservative in the country is running around saying we don't need any initiative that will add cost to already high prices, how then could they then have to admit their plan does just that? A combination of a weak plan, full of holes, but coupled with the "selling" spectacle of admitting a cost, to show credibility, all congeal to a Friday news dump.

21 comments:

RuralSandi said...

Sounds to me like it won't pass the scrutiny of experts and economists...so they're hoping no one will notice.

So - we can let these poor reports and the CPC non-plan go can we?

knb said...

Do you think the media will finally start pointing out the fact that both plans, all plans in fact, will increase costs and only one offers an offset?

Baird and Layton's free ride should have been over long ago.

kody said...

It's like Dion pulling up in the driveway with a Ferrari on a limited budget, and pointing to Harper with his Cavalier, saying 'see he's doing it too'.

Comparing the Cons green plan to the massive tax plan that formed the central (and at this point only) policy put forth by Dion, and actively promoted for weeks now, is, frankly, dishonest.

Steve V said...

kody

I agree, Harper is the used car salesman here. Good point.

jaybird said...

Steve: there are two issues with any GHG emissions reduction plan. 1. actual reduction in GHG emissions and 2. costs to businesses and consumers.

The NDP has a hard cap on emissions for Big Polluters and will require that they pay for emissions credits. Those funds can then be used by the federal government to help all Canadians reduce their personal emissions through the funding of rail infrastructure, public transit, and retrofit programs for energy and housing. In terms of industry the funds will also help offset programs to assist in the creation of more green collar jobs.

Pocket book issues: The creation of more green collar jobs will help working Canadians (re-inflate the shrinking manufacturing sector). Retrofit programs will help Canadians save money on energy costs. More federal funding for public transit will help reduce fares and increase efficiency for average Canadians.

There is already a carbon market in the works that 4 provinces have committed to. The US is likely to implement a cap and trade approach nationally. We already have a cap and trade style mechanism to combat acid rain which has been incredibly effective. I mention these things because they support the argument that cap and trade can be implemented as/or more quickly than a re-write and re-org of our tax system and bureaucracy.

So far I have not seen any numbers from Dion and the Liberal brain trust that would show what the emissions reductions would be from a revenue neutral carbon tax.

I have also not been convinced that the offsets proposed by the Dion plan would be sufficient to truly offset the additional costs to working Canadians. I have seen numbers to suggest that even if they were enough to offset increased prices, the Liberal narrative that this will plan is as much an anti-poverty plan as an enviro plan is dubious at best. According to a leading anti-poverty activist, the shift would not raise folks above the poverty line. So at best it would be a zero sum shift.

The Dion plan seems to be neither fish nor foul. An anemic enviro plan and an ineffective anti-poverty plan.

Finally, I don't trust Dion and the LPC with a massive new program, one only has to look at the implementation of the long gun registry to see how the LPC can take a good, socially progressive idea and muck up its implementation.

Anonymous said...

"Everyone has noticed, that this government has a habit of releasing unflattering reports, or items they wish to bury, on Fridays."

Its not just this government. This is PR 101 that you release bad news on a Friday afternoon preferably when its a busy news day. The Liberals used the same strategy under Chretien and Martin and you can bet your bottom dollar they will do the same if they get back into power.

Its up to the media not to fall for these strategies and give bad news saturation publicity regardless of when it is released.

JimmE said...

Jaybird: "Finally, I don't trust Dion and the LPC with a massive new program,... "
So whom do you trust on this file? 'Ol buddy Baird? Smug Do-Noth'in-Jack? Ms May? or none of the above?
Ms May is a non starter - She will never be PM. Ditto for Do-Noth'in, so your choice is Dion or status quo. Even if in some wild lattie charged make believe world where Do-Noth'in was in charge,- given his track record at Toronto City Hall, Jack would preside over the biggest exercise in analysis paralysis in the history of this fair Dominion.

jaybird said...

JimmE: I would suggest that Mel Lastman and his corrupt cronies did the damage at Toronto City Hall and that it was Jack as well as other progressive city pols (including Miller) who did their best to protect Toronto. Most of Toronto's ills came from a poorly implemented amalgamation, massive downloading (thanks to Harris and assisted by Paul Martin's cuts to many programs and insufficient transfer payments) and Lastman and lib/con city pols mismanagement.

Anonymous said...

tax big polluters...uh, huh. What do you think the "big" polluters will do? Get their losses back from consumers.

My, my - Jaybird thinks that Jack Layton, superhero saved Toronto? sigh.....that's when he was there and not being caught picketing with Eaton's employees when he should have been at work...got suspended for that...and we could go on.

Anonymous said...

It is up to the Liberals now to go into Nova Scotia and counter the Cons. by calling them liars. After months of attacking the green shift they can't be allowed to easily buy votes by applying their plan only where they feel like it.

The failure of cap and trade in Europe is the exceptions to favoured industries or free rides given them in order to buy votes. If the Liberals apply their policy equally across Canada no matter where it hurts then they must be vocal in holding the other parties to the same.

It will be interesting listening to Harper explain how taxing coal powered plants in Nova Scotia will be different between the Conservative and Lberal plans. Then compare how people on fixed incomes fair under each plan.

Oh yah if the Liberals are smart they should also be comparing the costs of administering each plan.

wilson said...

Steve,
government reports come out on a Friday for publication in the Canada Gazette.
The Gazettte is the official newspapaer of the Government of Canada.
The Gazette is published once a week, every Saturday.
Tho it seems the national media think they should get a leak before the Gazette gets it, the leaky days of the Martin govt are no more.

Sorry to burst your 'sneaky Cons hide reports' theory.
Tho I fail to see that it matters what day any report comes out, because news can be elevated to front page, no matter how old it is.

ex: Mulroney/KHS; decade old speech on 'fire walls'.....etc

Greg said...

Jimme your response is why many of us out here do not like the Liberal Party. You say nice things (like daycare and green shift), but your response reminds us that all Liberals are really interested in is power. I am sure this time will be no different from every other time your party has taken control. Suddenly the environment will take a back seat to "serious" issues like the economy and banking reform. That is one of the many reasons your party is bleeding support to the Greens. No one believes you anymore.

RuralSandi said...

Greg....You say nice things (like daycare and green shift), but your response reminds us that all Liberals are really interested in is power.

Oh and Harper is not interested in power? What a stupid, stupid statement.

wilson said...

I think Greg is referring to Liberals campaigning from the left, but once in power, they govern from the right.
So voters do not get what they voted for.

Dion campaigned against a carbon tax, once elected he reversed his stand and presented the Green Shift.
Do those who supported Dion in the Lib leadership race feel shafted?

Blues Clair said...

Wilson, so the Conservative's release the long-waited regulations for their Turner the Corner plan in the widely read Gazettte! And you claim they aren't downplaying this release. Interesting...

JimmE said...

Jaybird,
FYi I was at the Tor. Star Circus where Harris said he was dead set against Toronto Amalgamation -a year later he did what he said he wouldn't. So blame Mike for amalgamation. Merit to the argument that cities in Canada are underfunded ('member Martin's cities agenda? oh, I guess not since Do-Nuth'in Jack helped to Kill it!) The Do-Nuth'ins (who ironically call themselves PROGRESSIVES) at the City of Toronto are responsible for making a mess even worse. Want a specific? I've been involved with an affordable housing project for FOUR YEARS, the reason this project is not built is not lack of funding, it is EFFing conflicting regulations at the EFFing City of Toronto, these are not Mel's regulations these are the result of Ms Chow & her hubby's PROGRESSIVE efforts. Like all Do-Nuth'ins they prefer navel gazing to action & progress.

JimmE said...

Greg
".. many of us out here do not like the Liberal Party..." I know, the truth is so hard to deal with. I can TOTALLY see how the truth would P.O. folks, especially when Do-Nuth'in Jack is caring the can for the present PM. Liberals are only interested in power? Really? Funny, I guess I will never understand the DIpper mindset of sanctimoniously sitting on the sidelines & tut-tuting while others ACTUALLY DO STUFF. Your analysis has one major flaw, Dion believes in the file, & in his brief tenure at Environment proves this. Bleeding support to the Greens? I think your analysis is further flawed, the Dippers have seen as much (more?) slip to the Greens. Don't like Grits, fine, great, free country (I think) just remember how great it was in Ontario when we had a Harris majority government, & how really, really cool it will be with a Harper majority. Martin may have been a dick & may have promised lots of stuff he could not deliver; we'll never know. But now that Do-Nuth'in Jack got his way & Harper has the Fed's in deficit we will not be able to do lots of progressive things for the best part of a generation. Happy Now?

RuralSandi said...

Wilson - all over the blogosphere will silly statements.

By the way, Wilson - Dion, in an interview with Mike Duffy, admitted he was a one time against the carbon tax and that things had changed and a way was found to redistribute monies so Canadians aren't hurt by it....that's called truth and principle.

Oh and Wilson - what about Harper pretending to be in the centre when he is really very right-winged, just to get votes?

Double-standard as usual along with the bologna.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Greg's views are fairly wide spread and do explain why LPC drains support to the left.

Tomm

wilson said...

''Wilson, so the Conservative's release the long-waited regulations for their Turner the Corner plan in the widely read Gazettte! And you claim they aren't downplaying this release. Interesting...''

The media can choose to pick up the story or not.
So far TorStar, G&M, CTV and CBC have not.
But Steve did.
The Ottawa Citizen did.

ruralsandi, quit yipping at my heals.

Blues Clair said...

Ha ha, come on Wilson. This is a Government that once held a press conference in Vancouver to announce that they were going to introduce a Clean Air Act... though they had no details to announce. Like Steve wrote...

"If this is a "big step forward" as Baird offered, why the "walking on tippy toes" release?"