Friday, January 12, 2007

Dion: "I'm Not A Treehugger"

In my biased opinion, Dion's visit to Alberta has been relatively successful. While there are the predictably boring detractors, there is also encouraging commentary:
Better to be true to your beliefs, and present your party as an alternative to the one in power...

Dion said he plans to use both “carrots and sticks” — incentives as well as regulation, but not impose rules so unreasonable that they would drive industry away. “I’m not a tree-hugger. I’m not a socialist,” he declared. “I believe in the market economy.”

Dion is a sincere and likeable man who deserves credit for reaching out to Alberta. If he hopes to overcome wary voters, however, he’ll have to be a lot more specific on what his green plan will mean to the economic heart of this province.

Even the oil patch is open-minded:
The oilpatch appeared to respond favourably to Dion's approach to environmental tax reform.

Greg Stringham, vice-president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said while his members want to study Dion's remarks in more detail, they like his tone.

"This is relatively new that they (the Liberals) would use the incentive mechanism to try and bring out new technologies to address environmental issues," Stringham said from Calgary.

Dion has been honest in discussing his environmental solutions. Today, Dion offered the carrot and stick approach:
Calgary —

Federal Liberal Leader Stephane Dion says Canada needs penalties for energy companies that don't reduce carbon dioxide emissions and water use, especially in Alberta's booming oilsands region.

"If you do the right thing, you pay less; if you don't do it, you pay more," Mr. Dion told a Calgary radio talkshow Friday. "The ones who are doing that will be rewarded and the ones that are not doing that will be penalized in the market where they need to be competitive."

Apart from offering tax incentives, Dion also spoke of a domestic carbon trading system. Most of the criticism surrounding carbon trading revolves around lost capital, leaving Canada to meet our targets. A domestic system avoids this critique, while lowering overall emissions. The system also allows for some flexiblity for industries that are particularly challenged, an idea which should calm oil patch nerves.

Dion also made his views known on nuclear energy, and I found his comments here quite interesting:
Speaking to the Calgary Herald editorial board, Dion acknowledged nuclear is part of the “energy mix” in Canada, but doesn’t believe it’s a viable option due to lingering concerns about whether waste can be safely disposed.

“I have no power to stop a province to do that. It’s provincial jurisdiction,” Dion said. “I am concerned about the waste and I don’t hide my concerns. It is something I would like to see as a debate in Canada.”

It's really none of my business, you can do what you want, but I have an opinion. Perfect. Dion is showing that he isn't shy, his words aren't political motivated and I think some Albertans will respect that. Albertans are quite concerned about the environment, so people are willing to listen. Dion's tour of Alberta has shown us many things, but the most striking in my mind is how inadequate the Tory rhetoric. Can someone please cite one quote where Harper has actually said anything meaningful, other than massive generalities and easy platitudes? We have one leader offering ideas, while we have another who conveys infinite negativism and no solutions.


Olaf said...


I could do a "Dion is just saying that, he doesn't really mean it, it's not reflected in his policy positions, it doesn't fit in with his parties history with the NEP, blabidy blabidy blah" response. Sort of along the lines of recent Harper posts around the Liberalosphere.

But I won't. He said the right things, and I might be skeptical, but I have no reason to think he's lying for votes, so I won't insinuate as much. See how that works?

Olaf said...

I mean,

I could have posted your comments at my blog, and then posted this, and then gone on a diatribe about how Dion's rhetoric doesn't fit his perception in the business community.

But hey, I have no reason to think Dion's a liar just out trying to win votes, and that his rhetoric is just a front, so that he can get into government and implement an environmental policy which is damaging to the Alberta economy. I wouldn't assume he has such base motives. Indeed, few people would. And yet, when it comes to Harper...

Steve V said...

"And yet, when it comes to Harper" we all know that he couldn't care less about the environment, but has read the polls and will now try and look relevant to get some votes.

Steve V said...

He doesn't really mean what? The part about punishing polluters, or the resistance to nuclear power, neither of which will win votes with Albertans. How about the changing of royalties for developing the tarsands, another voter getter for sure?

The reason I characterize Dion's visit as a success, he didn't just go blow smoke up people's asses, he put forth his ideas, carbon trading and all.

Karen said...

Steve...Dion is honest and earnest. Even for me, this is new, but I'm loving it.

Olaf, you're being provacative, right? You're argument could be flipped too easily to be defense. The more I read you the more I like you. You may be one of the few honest brokers, from the "dark" side, lol.

Steve, his visit was a success, by all reports. It's a good thing and I think he will make head-way in the west. I'm sure he's got a strategy and this is phase one.

Harper and gang may try to attack, but if Dion lays this kind of ground work, the attack will sound like that from a bully...and that is getting very old.

Steve V said...


Dion doesn't sound political in his answers, which is especially refreshing, given the accompanying landscape.

wilson said...

Well his visit to the Dinning Land Paper Pushers may have been acceptable,
but here in Edmonton, Dion reminded us why we, and all of our new Albertans will, vote Conservative:

Grit and bear it
Liberal boss's fiscal plan for Alberta won't work

“We need to be a bit like Norway,” Dion scolded. Then he tore a strip off young guys heading for the oilsands.

“All these workers living too fast for the *easy money* in the north,”
the prime minister-wannabe blasted as Liberal-appointed senators Tommy Banks and Grant Mitchell looked on.
“It’s not good for the economy.”

(but we all know that attack on Albertans was for the boys and girls backhome in Quebec & Ontario; nothing new about Dion, same old Liberal tactics)

wilson said...


At the same time, the price of oil dipped below $52US-a-barrel yesterday.
The falling price may soon take care of the Alberta oilsands boom before the Liberals get a crack at it.

(if the Oilsands goes into a slump, who will pay for Dions Kyoto? Ontario?)

Anonymous said...

Ha, thanks Wilson2.3 for pointing out how another industry's in the toilet since Harpor took over (joining softwood). Over here in Vancoover, we're all wondering why you are sticking up for the Big Oil guys, who despite seeing the price of oil take a dump, continue to charge 1.05+ ... When the price spikes, its almost like the Dow ticker is connected to each station's sign, up-up-up! Now that its going down, they rumble on about delayed reaction, difficulty in delivery etc etc. And we're subsidizing these gluttons by the millions!
Here's a pure economic fact: if the oil industry was forced to ease production while investing in new, more ecologically sound production methods, the bounty of their stock -- oil -- will continue to rise in value. It won't become less valuable, but more valuable over time. Instead of opening the floodgates so that the CEOs can pass themselves millions of dollars in bonuses, the idea of forcing them to be responsible citizens is refreshing, no? And even then their oil will become more valuable, as other countries' stockpiles fade.
Imagine that, a Liberal leader who not only is thinking about social justice and the environment, but also giving the oil companies a means to reap better and cleaner profits in the future!

Steve V said...


The Sun, i'm shocked!


Hasn't the price of crude fell below 2005 levels now? Why is this not reflected in the price? People like wilson, defend big oil, despite the fact that they gouge average Canadians, while maintaining obscene profits. Clearly, if there is one industry that has the institutional "padding" to withstand fundamental changes, its the oil companies.

Anonymous said...

Answer me this: if Dion were sincere in wanting us to use less gas, why did he vote against California-style mandatory emissions standards last year?

Dion also said his solution to climate change in the oil sands is to have nukes power the whole thing.

Who says this guy's an environmentalist??

Steve V said...

"Dion also said his solution to climate change in the oil sands is to have nukes power the whole thing."


Mark Dowling said...

Dion also said his solution to climate change in the oil sands is to have nukes power the whole thing.
Oh god if only that were true. Here's why.

I was going to post the entire thing but it got a bit long :)