Friday, February 26, 2010

Bernier On Thin Permafrost

Much debate about what Bernier is up to with his denier commentary. Some are suggesting these statements are a "trial balloon", as the denier camp is emboldened by recent controversy. Others think Bernier is positioning himself within the Conservative camp. We've seen the Conservative base rise up in support of Bernier, but beyond the mostly ignorant winger camp, are his comments productive?

According to EKOS, if Conservatives think this denier line will resonate, they are sorely mistaken. In fact, there is considerable risk that this open debate amongst Conservatives will harm the party. Some interesting numbers:
Catergorizing the perceived threat of global warming:

20% seriously exaggerated
44% consistent with the level of risk
31% seriously underestimated
4% dont know

What we see is a very limited audience, Bernier's view is clearly a fringe position. If you breakdown the numbers further, you'll see that outside of Alberta (which Graves mentioned on P and P), Bernier's view is even more marginal. The Conservatives enjoy base support of 30%, those that share Bernier's view don't even come close to that total, which means a large percentage of Conservative voters aren't on board with the denier arguments. The numbers are even worse, when one considers the numbers the Conservatives actually received in the last two elections.

Far more people actually think we are underestimating the effects of global warming, combined with the "consistent" camp, it's an overwhelming MAINSTREAM opinion. If Bernier is a trial balloon, I would suggest it will be met with disapproval, more capacity for harm than good.

Those of us on the side of global warming should take comfort in Bernier, and the emerging support from many Conservatives. An open debate amongst Conservatives will demonstrate once again that the party doesn't represent Canadians on this issue, particularly where it matters electorally. The opposition would be wise to highlight Bernier and cultivate more discussion, because this stance is a clear LOSER politically. You win no converts and simultaneously alienate moderate Conservatives.


Jesse said...

Any thoughts on how "sticky" those views are?

Tom said...

ctions, the picture changes completely. Canadians want to pay lip service but not pay money.
BTW why does Alberta always get marginalized when poll results are announced? Shouldn't the opposite province be excluded as well (Quebec)? That would make the results more meaningful.

Steve V said...

Nobody is marginalizing, except in the sense that it is a safe Con haven. When you're calculating electoral implications, a massive Alberta "exaggerate" skew doesn't really help the government. If these were swing seats, it might be relevant, but preaching to the choir doesn't help the Cons in this instance. Quebec is far more important in that sense.

Jesse said...

I can't see any reasons other than because Quebec has more than twice the population and 47 more seats in the House, and that the Cons won 27 of 28 seats in Alberta last year, whereas Quebec's a potential "swing province.

I think you've exposed the media conspiracy.

JimmE said...

This is an interesting wedge. Many here & elsewhere have spoken about Liberals need to unite the Left.
LPC is a Centrist party.
Mr B's comments may be an opening for Iggy to reach out to Red Tories (Tomm's POV not withstanding). By playing to folks who in the past have voted for Clark, & Muldoon, & are feeling a teeny bit uncomfortable with Mr B's views are part of the road that needs to be traveled by the LPC.
Much as I hate to admit it, looking to policy that gets even half of the Dipper vote guarantees Reformatory victory.

Steve V said...

Comments from another Con MP:

bigcitylib said...

Weird, this would indicate that about a third of the Tory base has a more or less mainstream view of the issue, but dyou ever see a blogging tory that makes any sense on it at all?

Steve V said...

I think it shows that mainstream Blogging Tory land is really a collection of marginal misfits. I knew that already ;)

Tomm said...


What are you up to? Trying to change people's minds with one piece of spin after another?

You said:

."..what Bernier is up to with his denier commentary..."

"...the denier camp is emboldened..."

"...Those of us on the side of global warming..."

This isn't a frickin' war. The G&M translation of what Bernier said is:

“The debate over climate change, stifled for years by political correctness, has finally broken out in the media,...The numerous recent revelations on errors by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have supplemented the alternative theories put forward for many years...We can now see that it’s possible to be a ‘skeptic,’ or in any case to keep an open mind, on just about all the main aspects of warming theory...It would certainly be irresponsible to spend billions of dollars and impose exaggeratedly severe regulations to solve a problem whose gravity we’re still far from discerning,...The alarmism that has often characterized this issue is no longer valid. Canada is right to be prudent."

The above is the English translation of Bernier's comments.

Yet you make it seem like a swamp creature just walked into the light to the horror of us all.

Everything Bernier said is either TRUE or a reasonable opinion. If that makes him some sort of social villain in your world, then why don't you read up on the Salem Witch Trials, or the Spanish Inquisition. You apparently want to toss the last 300 years of social evolution into the trash bin.

Gene Rayburn said...

I see Tomm has come to "tell the truth". Must be a slow day on Bizarro World for him to have made the trip.

Steve V said...


You're a joke.

Tomm said...



I have to admit I did find the post funny as well. "thin permafrost" was both funny and accurate.

I am a little concerned that Steve doesn't want to debate the merit of things usually just the political effects of things.

I guess that is why he is a political blogger.

But let's be honest. the move from science to advocacy will do nothing but hurt the credibility of the science around climate change. We're starting to see a backlash about the over the top rhetoric.

Journalists are starting to sense they've been taken for fools. Although I recognize and see the reality of climate change in a big way I also recognize that with China, India, Brazil, US, etc. using it as a wedge and the EU using it as a cash cow, the Kyoto type attempts at mitigation is really going nowehere fast (except to empty our wallets).

Back in 1994 the UN had adaptation and mitigation as two equally important tracks. Kyoto put all the light on mitigation and forgot about adaptation.

We need to begin looking at mechanisms to cope and adapt to the changes. That is our reality.

Nations like China will not do anything that they feel is against their own self interest. If we end up with a workable carbon management mitigation plan (e.g. Cap and Trade), it will be because China will have seen value in it for themselves, likely at the expense of others.

Tomm said...


Sometimes I wish I were. My comments accurately quoted both you and Bernier (to the best of my knowledge).

What Bernier said did not bother me in the slightest. Any thinking person who reads his comment should be left with the view that it is a reasonable position based on what he has seen and heard.

Those looking for scapegoats and villains can read into it what they like.

Steve V said...

Oh okay Tomm, let's debate Bernier's sun spot nonsense. Sorry, if you want intelligent debate, bring some freaking intelligence to the table. Your crowd is made up of mostly ignorant people who ignore most of the arguments, merely focus on what suits them at the exclusion of everything else. I frankly can't be bothered, and have absolutely no respect for most of you. If that sounds elitist, oh well.

Get a clue.

Tomm said...


What is going to happen to our climate based on the last 15 years of empirical evidence?

And if you can answer that one (and there are reasonable things that can be said), then how does that fit in with a multi-billion dollar carbon trading plan (which will result in increaed costs), a new carbon tax, and what essentially becomes a nationalization of the oil sands?

I'll help you here. The answer to the first question has precious little linkage with the answer to the second question. This is where science jumped out of the canoe and the advocates took over.

Steve V said...

Thanks for proving my earlier comment.

Hippo yawn.

Tomm said...


Remember my views in the coming years and remember that I was debating you on these same points as early as 2007, I believe.

At least give me credit for consistency.

Steve V said...

Yes 2007, the year of record ice loss in the Arctic. You are consistently clueless. Anyways, embrace Maxime Bernier, read your Lorrie Goldstein and please visit KKKate. What an impressive bunch. Says a lot actually...

That's it for me.

Tomm said...



...for now.

Gene Rayburn said...

and with that Tomm turned into a bat and flew off into the moonlight to his crypt in the foothills of Alberta.