Sunday, January 21, 2007


Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn made his announcement today at the Toronto home show, although the dog and pony show would have been a more appropriate venue. The Eco-Energy Efficiency Initiative, aka Energuide II, is what everyone expected, with a few concerning twists.

First off, Lunn lied when responding to a question about cutting the Energuide program. Lunn argued that that program was still operational until March 1/07, the "checks are still flowing". Lunn attempted to show that, in fact, there was an overlap between the two programs, so the government hadn't missed a beat. Lunn failed to mention that auditors were fired within 24 hours of the government announcement last spring. All that is left of the program, a few accounting loose ends. To paint the program as still functional demonstrates how desperate the Conservatives have become.

It would appear that the Conservatives have actually weakened the old Liberal program. The Energuide program had two audits, while the Tory plan will only have an initial audit, with NO follow-up to verify actual results. This approach will reduce the administrative cost, but what of accountability?? The Tories also have done nothing, despite advice, to deal with low-income and seniors who want to participate, but don't have $15000 for new windows.

Lunn made two curious points. Lunn argued that the investment was more than a potential $5000 because you need to look at the subsequent savings to the environment, year after year. In other words, the program has an unending positive impact. Good point Mr. Lunn, which is exactly why the Tory argument about administrative fees with regard to Energuide was a bogus proposition. The initial 50% administrative cost was a one-time expenditure, while the savings to the environment and the homeowner went on "year after year". Lunn also stated that only 30% of people who had the initial audit had actually followed through with the renovations. Elizabeth May had the line of the day, saying she was one of those 70% who hadn't completed the program yet, as a result of the program being cancelled. How many other people were still moving through the process, when the Conservatives canned the program?

Everybody recognizes that this latest announcement is a fraud, nothing more than a re-tool, which might actually be worse. The situation is so pathetic, this is how Craig Oliver starts off his interview with Gary Lunn:

But really, it's a program you stole off the Liberals, why don't you admit that and then we want to hear how you are going to do it.

Nobody is buying, the transparency so profound.


Scotian said...

Quite correct. Nothing the CPC has done this week is original. Indeed most of what they did was to resurrect the programs they proudly cancelled last spring saying they were total wastes of taxpayer dollars (although we have no actual evaluation presented to show this to be true, gee I wonder why that was) and that the only sensible thing a responsible government could do was cancel these programs. Now Lunn is trying to claim that one of the programs his government cancelled is still operational despite the evidence to the contrary? It is clear evidence of the lack of any "made in Canada" plans/programs the CPC (indeed Reform/CA prior to merge) were claiming they would have presented the Canadian people actually were ever being worked on/created throughout that 13 year period and indeed the first year of this government.

If they have done any even preliminary drafting of environmental policy let alone legislation they would have presented it when they cancelled the Liberal programs last spring. Failing then they most certainly would have presented it by the time Ambrose delivered to Parliament the DOA Hot Air Act last fall. At this point the only progressive environmental programs the CPC government is willing to present on the climate change file are the old Liberal programs they cancelled with a slight facelift to try and make it possible to claim these are original to the CPC ideas despite the clear absurdity of such spin (which I am sure many of us have been seeing despite that absurdity).

The CPCers love to say the Libs did nothing on the environment, yet they are now reinstituting programs the Libs had both in place and running when the CPC came to power as well as further plans in the last budget prior to the fall of the Martin government. If the fact that they are restoring cancelled programs of the Liberals is not enough to get through to the Kool-Aid drinkers within the CPC that the Liberals did do some things (if nowhere near enough yet even the little they were doing was roundly mocked by the Reform/CA/CPC in Parliament while the Libs were in power) for the environment issue/file nothing can/will. Got to love the willingness to live in fantasy land despite all the quicksand on that island especially when they can cross the water to the wide open and much more clearly marked out pitfalls and good routes of the reality mainland.

ottlib said...

OK, I am confused.

Why are these environmental programs being announced by the Natural Resources Minister instead of the Environment Minister?

Why are they being defended by the same NR Minister instead of the Environment Minister?

So far the only thing Mr. Baird has done is look concerned while standing in the devastated Stanley Park. He has not been front and centre announcing the Conservative programs.

Why? Could it be that Stephen Harper has already lost confidence in him? Or perhaps Mr. Bairds only function is to defend Conservative environmental programs, using his in your face style, during QP, which is not scheduled to begin again for a couple of more weeks.

I know it is early but so far Mr. Baird is worse that Ms. Ambrose. She often got it wrong but at least she was allowed to speak about programs and issues that concerned her department.

Dave said...

Good post, Steve. In fact, it reminds me of something that happened a little over 20 years ago in the soft-drink industry.

Heh, standby for a post on "marketing".

Steve V said...


The koolaid crowd can't reconcile the fact that you can't say "nothing in 13 years" and then make announcements based on that same nothingness.

"Why are these environmental programs being announced by the Natural Resources Minister instead of the Environment Minister?"

Well, you had the Minister of Finance discussing human rights in China to some bankers, and then the Minister of Foreign Affairs spouting policy on fiscal imbalance, I would say this announcement is entirely consistent.

Karen said...

I missed hearing May make that comment. She certainly speaks her mind.

Lunn also lied in saying that Dion had been the Environment Minister for the past 13 years. It drives me nuts that the media never correct such blatant lies, though if you watch QP, Taber and Oliver are constantly looking at their next question and rarely seem to hear the answers.

Playing Canadians for fools is such a terrible strategy, I'm surprised that they didn't learn that through the Clean Air Act debalcle.

Steve V said...

"It drives me nuts that the media never correct such blatant lies"

Hi knb. Take comfort in the fact, that despite the blitz of announcements this week, at the end of it all the media still wonders aloud if the Tories are serious about the environment. I would say, from a public relations side, this week has been an unmitigated disaster.

Karen said...

I would say, from a public relations side, this week has been an unmitigated disaster.

Agreed. I know I have to get a life, but I confess, I'm looking forward to the House sitting again.

Scotian said...

"The koolaid crowd can't reconcile the fact that you can't say "nothing in 13 years" and then make announcements based on that same nothingness." Steve V 6:09 PM, January 21, 2007

Doesn't stop them from doing so anyways, no matter how irreconcilable the two are. Which is of course what makes them wingnuts in the first place, the ability to hold mutually exclusive beliefs depending on whether they are helping or hurting your side at any given time. I never cared much for hard core part partisans when I was growing up and I find my taste for them has diminished significantly since then but this degree of idiocy is just outright offensive and insulting to the intelligence of even the most casual non partisan observer of politics.

Steve V said...

"I know I have to get a life, but I confess, I'm looking forward to the House sitting again."

You and tens of other Canadians ;)

Anonymous said...

steve v, scotian, and other LPC clones,

You are correct. The CPC is regurgitating vomit it mopped up and sent to the land fill last spring.

Are they doing it because it's good programming? or are they doing it because the public is afraid and to paraphrase Michael Moore (whom I assume you all know chapter and verse), when people are this out of control with fear, things get really weird.

It's not good programming, it is what it was under the Liberal's, pacifiers for the masses. Good programming is clean power, transferring "green" costs to the private sector, and tough regulations for the future on power consumption (carbon tax in the future?)

But that stuff requires real conversations with Canadian business and the provinces, something nobody has yet done (thanks to 13 years of lousy policy).

Stuff they were building into the Clean Air Act, that nobody gave them time to complete.

So, the CPC rather than building smart environmental policy that would take real time and effort, don't have time due to the unrelenting media pressure and are parading the old Liberal programming back out, with a new coat of paint.

Sad day for all of us. Hopefully the public will be smart enough to realize that the CPC aren't environmental baddies, they are just starting their learning curve.

I hope to God they don't bring back Rick Mercer and his One Tonne Challenge. At least spare us that.

I do want to thank the Liberal's for one small kindness, relieving John Godfrey of the environment job.


wilson said...

Why Lunn is making the announcements:

3.69 Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is accountable for achieving greenhouse gas emission reductions from the Wind Power Production Incentive, EnerGuide for Existing Houses (until it is wound down), and the Ethanol Expansion Program. Though these programs are only a sample of those under the Department's responsibility, they represented more than $800 million in authorized funding. NRCan's performance expectations for emission reductions from these programs were confusing.

3.70 Natural Resources Canada monitors and reports on funding and expenditures for the programs we examined in detail. However, the financial systems and processes are overly complicated, making it difficult to track and report authorized funding and spending at the program level.

Auditor Generals Report on Environment

Anonymous said...

It's with bated breath that I eagerly await the Cons supporters who are proud, partisan but equally principled to step forward and put some questions to their leader...

The past year we've seen the Harpor Cons' scrap a personal income tax cut for a 1% GsT cut; pump up the talk about senate reform while their appointed senator/minister kept the milk flowing into his province's coffers; kept their promise on accountability by silencing ministers and virtually all caucus members; pull a halloween tax out of a hat for all those Income trusters (we'll protect your income trust, they campaigned); on the verge of using renewable resource income from the provinces to quench the ever-hungry son that is Quebec; bitch-slap the elected Canadian Wheat Board leadership when it refused to be silent over their plans to gut it; develop a growing bond with the always helpful and ever-so responsible NDP (i seem to recall some interesting barbs from the leader of the opposition in 2005 about an ndp-gov't pact); slyly accuse the Liberals of muddying the environment by supporting research and development of the tarsands 14 years ago with a tax break (no doubt Ralph was kicking and screaming about that one!); get Harpor to study Parliamentary acting from Lou Ferrigno (don't make me mad and force an election, you terrible opposition you!); and now, so quickly upon embracing the previously evil climate change science, hook up all the recently whacked Liberal environmental programs to electrodes and jolt them back to life for all the warm and fuzzy photo ops, while also making use of that Super-Sized Check Book Harpor ordered for all those non-open tendered military shopping.

While I see a possible edge, thanks to many cooperative media outlets (Canwest still lusts after a little deregulation, otherwise their bastard child the NaPo may have to be euthanized) reading from the official press release and in the form of illusionary traction on an issue where they had been sliding backwards, I'm just wondering how stupid the Cons must think voters in Alberta, Saskatchewan and BC are to take it and still roll over in the morning...

ottlib said...

Tomm said:

"But that stuff requires real conversations with Canadian business and the provinces, something nobody has yet done (thanks to 13 years of lousy policy)."

Actually Tomm after the Canadian Parliament ratified the Kyoto Protocol the federal government began extensive consultations with both industry and the provinces on how to implement it.

Those consultations lastes until just before the 2004 election. They lasted for so long because both industry and the provinces dragged their feet in the negotiations, probably with the goal of wasting time so they could claim the Kyoto targets were not achieveable in the time remaining.

It worked and they had the added bonus of not having to live up to their side of the bargain after the negotiations ended because of the weakness and eventual defeat of the Martin government.

Around the end of 2002 the Chretien government finally decided not to wait for the elusive consensus amongst its negotiation partners and they decided to address GHG emissions from ordinary Canadians. It was at that point when they began developing the programmes that you label "vomit" and they were finally fully implemented by Stephane Dion during Mr. Martin's tenure.

The simple fact Tomm is Stephen Harper has never considered the environment as a priorty. That is why the Conservatives are so far behind the curve on this issue and why they will never really get ahead of it.

They will do their best to make this issue go away before the next election but they will never actually do anything to address the problems themselves.

Scotian said...

"steve v, scotian, and other LPC clones," Tomm at 11:26 PM, January 21, 2007

I realize this is a hard concept for you to grasp but I am not a partisan of the Liberal party of Canada. While I currently see them as the best means of soundly defeating the Harper strain of conservatism I oppose that does not make me a supporter of the Liberal party overall. However, I do believe in giving various governments their credit when they have it coming as well as critiquing them, I was even able to find things in Mulroney's day I could wholeheartedly support like his opposition to Apartheid and his work on Acid Rain. So the fact that I am not willing to let the lies of the Harper CPC stand regarding the prior government does not automatically make me a Liberal party loyalist as you like to think I am.

No, what I am is in direct opposition to the Harper/Calgary school political philosophy which I see as a dangerous threat to this country. This is not to say I oppose all Conservatism just the ones rooted in foreign doctrines/premises/paradigms like Straussian thinking as the Calgary School is so rooted. So I oppose this configuration of the CPC under the leadership of this strain of conservatism. If that for you is too difficult to understand well that is your problem.

You want to call me an opponent of the CPC that is one thing but you do not get to call me a party partisan unless you have proof that I am a member of said party and since I know for a fact no such evidence exists on or off line that is rather difficult for you to do. It is this sort of sloppy thinking Tomm that has left me less than impressed with your work despite the fact you are alas one of the more eloquent and coherent of the online CPCers. You assume and presume an awful lot because it suits your needs/beliefs to do so like you did here calling me a LPC clone despite only your impression and zero actual evidence to back it up with.

This is alas something the online community sees a lot of from the CPC part of the spectrum. While there are the odd lefty bloggers who are equally in the fantasy land of their ideology there is a much higher density/percentage of such blinder wearing folks on the right. If you want to be taken seriously Tomm you have got to stop assuming things like this let alone treating them as facts when they are totally unsupported by, you know, actual proof.

Just because someone opposes the CPC and does not find the Liberals objectionable does not make them a Liberal party clone. Anyone that has actually bothered to study my writing knows that until the past few years I would vote PCPC, NDP, or Lib depending on the leader and candidates at the time. However the PCPC was destroyed in a hostile takeover, the NDP elected a leader whose actions I find are clearly motivated solely by his quest for power, and the CPC elected a leader that I have had grave concerns about for nearly 2 decades and who is a follower of an ideology I consider to be highly dangerous to the welfare/future of this nation because of its roots in American as opposed to Canadian Conservative thought. That leaves me with the Liberals currently as the least evil option that I see as having a credible chance of taking out the CPC in the next election as I had hoped would happen in the last election. I want the Harper CPC so humiliated that the Harper strain of conservatism is discredited within it and a more Canadian rooted Conservatism comes to the forefront of that party. Then I may well be able to support the CPC but until that conservative strain I consider so much a danger is removed I will oppose them at every turn.

This is something I have said at RT's in the past Tomm where you should have already known this. So I find your willingness to brand me a Liberal "clone" yet another example of your dishonest approach to discourse and will add this to the list of reasons why I no longer find you a credible voice despite your more reasoned and civil manner than many of your brethren online.

Steve V said...

""steve v, scotian, and other LPC clones," Tomm at 11:26 PM, January 21, 2007

Just to add to Scotian's point, I didn't even vote Liberal last election. Try again with the blind partisan crap, that dog don't hunt.

Anonymous said...

Scotian & Steve V,


I will try to leave my assumptions of partisanship at the door. But please, keep in mind that I am reading some stuff that is... "partisan" pure and simple. Scotian, like yourself, I belong to no party. I have my views and for reasons such as yourself, have found that only one party captures my imagination.

So perhaps we have more in common than what I may have thought.

That being said, if we are going to debate, let's debate the merits of policies.

You identify the Harper School as a threat to this country. I see it as perhaps the best hope I have seen and the only beacon of light out of our present mess of too big government, too little civic responsibility, "entitled" groups, and a slide into mediocrity.

I am very afraid of the "nanny" everything. The only party I see pulling in the right direction is the CPC.