Monday, July 20, 2009


I agree with everything Scott said, a worthy idea for sure and something the Liberals should/could embrace.

Tossing this idea around, one criticism or hesitation, the notion that this environmental plank could be complicated. First off, seems a pretty simple concept, that anyone with a mortgage or knowledge of personal finances should be able to figure out with little effort. In addition, when you look at some of the incentive programs now, the audit retrofit concept, this idea hardly seems daunting in comparison.

I won't rehash the program, Scott and Antonio provide excellent reviews. What I find fascinating, how will the Liberals approach the environmental file in the next election. Everyone knows the economy will be the central issue, but that fact doesn't mean other files don't deserve innovative attention and/or that voters won't focus on them. In many ways, now more than ever, there is a practical imperative to tie environmental considerations with the new economy, countries that understand this reality will be best placed to thrive. The Liberals would be well advised to formulate a union, a coherent economic package that puts all measures at their disposal into concert, towards the new "green economy".

A chief worry I have, that Liberals will shy away from a green agenda, given what happened last election. It would be a colossal mistake to confuse poor messaging, a poor messenger (let's keep it real) and a "hail mary" political motivation as a conclusive template. That's not to say I think we should rehash the carbon tax, as much as I found it easily the best policy, it's a political albatross at the moment, it just reads TAX, TAX, TAX to Canadians. I have no interest in trying to change perceptions, so the idea is effectively dead and that is one legacy I can concur with. That said, stepping back, it doesn't mean Liberals need cede the whole file- put out your basic timid and bland platform, with pedestrian goodies, nothing that DARES, nothing that DARE offend.

The last polling I saw, the Liberals were actually tied with the Conservatives on the environment. Ick! Tied on a measure that is one of Harper's worst, we can do much, much better than that. People can comfort themselves that it's not a "big" issue anymore, but that doesn't consider the economic tie in, nor does it recognize what our opponents will use. To date, about all Canadians know about the Ignatieff Liberals, we're big supporters of the tar sands. To be fair, Ignatieff has talked about environmental sustainability, not viewing development with a "klondike-like" mentality, but really the central theme is support for a dirty technology. Because of this perception, I think it makes it doubly important that we articulate a progressive, innovative, creative environmental platform, so that our message is more coherent in totality.

Do we really want Elizabeth May scoffing at Ignatieff during a debate? Do we really want Gilles painting the Liberals as "pale green"? There is potential bleeding at hand, rather than looking at the environment as a vote winner, at the very least you need to consider it as a way to shore up your flank, to stay in the conversation with credibility.

Don't let past perceived failures and misfounded fears turn us into VANILLA.


Anthony said...

the environment has to be an economic argument, for whichever party puts it forward.

The Liberals turned it into a fiscal scheme nobody was willing to pay attention to, never mind the messenger.

For years governments of all persuasions in all countries have been spending money on "the environment".

This is the best bang for your buck type of injection when the economy could use it.

Steve V said...

"the environment has to be an economic argument"

Agreed, and there is no reason it can't be.

CuzBen said...

In Ontario, the ONEIA does a good job of presenting the benefits of green business. I've seen them lobby up close and watched even the most conservative eyes widen. Maybe one place to look for ideas.

Anonymous said...

Who says Ms. May is going to be at the next debate?

Steve V said...

Thanks Ben.

LMA said...

I couldn't agree more that the Liberals need a "progressive, innovative, creative environmental platform" that is tied in to a new green economy. Concentrating on the power of a green economy to create jobs for the future will appeal to many voters. With respect to climate change, what can we expect in Canada, and how can we create new industries to adapt to the changing climate, in the Arctic, prairies and coastal areas? Also, why not get specific about how Tar Sands development can be made environmentally sustainable, e.g., there are plans in the US to plant 38 million trees on abandoned mining sites in the Appalachians. Liberals could do much to inspire Canadians with forward-looking economic and environmental policies.

Steve V said...

I don't understand why the idea of promoting the "jobs of tommorow" based on solid green logic, isn't attractive in areas of the country where the industrial base is shattered? It's a message of hope, to retool the economy, shake off the rust. People will connect with that message. The Conservatives are throwing money at everything, but there's no unifying message that speaks to the future. Particularly in Ontario, which is so obviously crucial for the Liberals, a innovative platform that conveys an optimism, that's the ticket. How any of this is risky, given the climate, escapes me. I just don't want to see some garden variety, standard "red book", because it will be met with a collective yawn. I worry that we'll play it safe and miss the real plot here.