Thursday, August 14, 2008

Will Conservative Plan "Screw" Canadians?

Oh, here we go again, this time John Baird with the Green Shift means Canadians get "screwed" rhetoric. Back in the playground, nothing substantive, appealing to the gutter, Baird follows the Conservative mantra. Politically speaking, it's all good, because there is no evidence to suggest the bombastic language works, in fact we've seen criticism when the Conservatives respond like juveniles. All that aside, in reading this piece on Baird's grave warnings to Nova Scotians, I was struck by this one sentence, in reference to the Conservative plan:
The Conservative document Turning the Corner says there would be higher prices for Canadians.

"Canadians can therefore expect to bear costs under the regulatory framework that are not trivial," it says.

People will remember, that when the Conservatives released their "plan", it was met with much criticism. In an effort to project credibility, people like Baird were running around telling reporters that the Conservative plan would come with a "cost" to Canadians. In fact, Baird emphasized the "costs", because that worked politically, the measure of effectiveness seemed to be how hard the plan bites.

The above quote is where the Conservative argument falls apart like a house of cards. If Canadians can expect an impact for the Conservative plan, which is "not trivial", then the question becomes- what are the Conservatives doing to offset the "cost"? If Nova Scotians are most reliant on carbon producing sources of energy, does it not make sense, that under the Conservative plan, they would be "screwed"? The Conservative plan will increase the cost of energy, by their own admission, much like The Green Shift.

Here's the kicker. Unlike The Green Shift, the Conservative plan comes with a "cost", but does nothing on the "relief" side. So, people in Nova Scotia get higher "costs", "screwed", and that's it, you simply pay more. Let's say for arguments sake that the Conservative plan "costs" much less than the Liberal plan, which is probably true, because behind all of this bluster, their plan has more holes than Glen Abbey. Even under that scenario, when you factor in the Liberal offsets on the tax side, you are probably worse off under the Conservative plan. Your "screwed" factor is higher.

Bringing it down to soundbites, the Conservative want to apply a "not trivial" cost increase on voters, period. The Liberals want to raise prices, but also offer substantial reduction on the income tax side, as well as credits, to offset any impact. Now, you tell me, who actually gets "screwed"? The Conservatives nonsensical arguments, the entire premise is counter-intuitive. I think they've boxed themselves into a irrational corner, it's now the job of the Liberals to expose it for all to see.


knb said...

It's about time the plan was reported accurately.

I don't hear Liberals pointing that out enough yet though, or at least not in print.

Harper held a news conference this morning in Nfld. He bashed Dion and his plan of course and not 1 reporter countered that their plan would have cost implications.

We really need a simple brochure that provides an honest comparison between the two.

Steve V said...

"I don't hear Liberals pointing that out enough yet though, or at least not in print."

I know, it's time to start hitting them back, right between the eyes. It's a common sense retort, who exposes the Cons hypocrisy, while also pointing to the fact that the Liberals try to offset. I honestly believe we can hammer them on this point, because it really is a ridiculous argument they are making, given what they say about their own plan.

wilson said...

''The Liberals want to raise prices, but also offer substantial reduction on the income tax side, as well as credits, to offset any impact.''

Good summary, but this is where the Green Shift gets on the merry-go-round.

1.If the 'impact' is to be offset, what's the point?
Libs answer is to make people use less carbon energy.
People say at $1.25 for fuel I have already conserved to a point I can conserve no more.
There is no alternative available.

2.The 'impact' is lessened for who?
Libs answer those who can least afford the extra costs, low income, seniors..etc.
Then the people, middle class, rightly say this is a tax grab to increase Liberal social programs thru the back door.

Should the middle class concede 'no pain no gain,
3. how will my additional tax dollars help the environment in terms of reduced ghg's, thusly trying to meet our Kyoto targets?
Will my contributions fund the excelerated development of alternate energy sources?
Liberal answer .... we don't know for sure.

Back to the first question.
...If there is no measurable 'impact', and what impact there would be is 'offset', what's the point?

At this point, Liberal MPs do their best to sell a GS they don't fully understand,
because the GS is still a 'work in progress'.
Like a scatter gun, out they come to shoot down the Cons 'tax on everything', and in the process further confuse Canadians.
Side deals, no side deals...etc.

It appears that Dion calculated the $$$$ needed to pay for Libs new social programs,
using his green credentials,
then worked backwards (still filling in the blanks using the public's reaction to the GS),
instead of setting a ghg reduction goal and calculating the costs to get there.

p.s to 'screw' something/some one, by dictionary definition means, to use trickery or deceit.

Anonymous said...

I don't want this to sound too sour, but your post today is one that hits that bit of soap-box climbing part of me that comes out every once in a while.

I think more directly the question you ask could be, "When the hell is the liberal party going to actually engage the wider public in the defining of their Green Shift plan?"

You are absolutely right it is common sense that a party launching a new policy initiative of such sweeping magnitude, one that catches the media and public's interest (as was intended), would be fully prepared to at every reasonable opportunity 1) explain the policy in detail and 2) defend spurious attacks against it

And if you're going to launch that initiative during the summer because "you need time to explain it to the nation," then you'd damn well better be out doing just that.

I just don't believe having lunches with a few folks with an obscene inside interest in understanding policy details and mentioning a website a few times at the beginning are the keys. Every time there is a slam like this, someone ought to be on the phone to the media or better yet on-site to refute the erroneous data point by point.

I just don't get it. It's like a bunch of marketing folks created this great launch announcement, then slapped each other on the backs and left for summer recess.

I don't buy the money argument at all because we're talking about media coverage. In every instance like this where the PM or the government makes a press remark, the media would be ready to take any response the liberals might have. But nada. nothing. It just hangs out there unanswered. A chance to refute the facts and explain the plan again to the nation - not just those attending political picnics in August - comes and goes.

Second thought, instead of complaining about how the 10% flyers from MPs are being mis-used by conservatives, why not gin up several that promote the website to learn more about the plan and refute the more obvious charges, or explain that the liberal plan is the only carbon initiative that gives money back to the consumers who do their part in their everyday lives?

Are there any media types actually working on the liberal team? If not, they need to get them on board right now because the current public strategy is falling beneath the bar.

It just pains me because I fear this could be mentality that carries through into an election. And if so, that could spell trouble no matter what the mood of the country is and no matter how many times the conservatives have shot themselves in the feet.

I want to be proven wrong, and hope that come September there is a renewed push, but I feel the time is slipping away now. The party did acknowledge that the green shift plan took time to explain to the public.

So, tick tock tick tock. Time's a wastin' . . .

Steve V said...

"Every time there is a slam like this, someone ought to be on the phone to the media or better yet on-site to refute the erroneous data point by point."

Joseph, I completely agree. Where is the "rapid response", it seems the Libs are slow to respond. I also agree that having a "tour" isn't near enough, and I would argue that we should have some targeted ads, enough that it gets reported to utilize free press. I don't think the release has been a disaster by any means, because after all the summer is never a prime political season, but that doesn't mean we can't do more.


Very hard to understand you disjointed ramblings, but on this:

"p.s to 'screw' something/some one, by dictionary definition means, to use trickery or deceit."

And, there, in a nutshell is the Conservative approach, attacking something on one hand, then arguing on the other that they do the exact same thing. Hey, and Baird was so desperate to find validity for his plan, he recently quoted from a Mintz opinion piece, wherein he specifically said Baird was "less than forthcoming" about the real impacts of his plan. That's how pathetic you guys are on this issue, and that's why you're going nowhere, despite spending wildly attacking. Keep it up, it's all you have I suppose.

RuralSandi said...

Steve V - you really should be part of the Liberal war room - you'd be a great asset.

Steve V said...

Sandi, not sure of that, but thanks :)