Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Please Stop Talking

When pandering becomes offensive:
Tories, Liberals defend oil sands

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, who recently positioned himself as a supporter of the oilsands, was emphatic in his disdain for the National Geographic story.

"National Geographic is not going to teach me any lessons about the oilsands," he said.

"This is a huge industry. It employs Canadians from coast to coast. We have oil reserves that are going to last for the whole of the 21st century. We are where we are. We've got to clean it up, and we've got make it a sustainable place to work and live."

Ignatieff has ALWAYS been consistent, this idea of energy policy as national unity issue. The federation is fractured, there is much regional angst in the land, and it's true the level of tolerance is on the wane. It's imperative that the Liberal Party, even if it doesn't translate into sweeping seat totals, appeal to the entirety of Canada, because this country needs a unifying voice. I believe Ignatieff is sincere in his desire to bring people together, and I have high hopes for him as Prime Minister in this regard. I also understand, that in the game of politics, nuance is required along with some heavy petting- kissing ass is part of the equation, always has been, always will be, the tenets of democracy almost demand it. HOWEVER, let's not get carried away, shall we, because you're now ALIENATING part of your base, with a misguided courtship.

Earlier, I linked to the Alberta Environment Minister, responding to the National Geographic piece. Renner actually used the word "fair" to describe the piece, found some positives and stressed the improvements coming in the future. In other words, Renner was less categorical and dismissive than Ignatieff, while Ignatieff sounded exactly like Jim Prentice, who sounds like a Suncor executive half the time. It would seem the Liberals are now trying to out- Conservatives the Conservatives on the tar sands- almost like "no, we love it more, no we love it more, no we love it more..." Sssstttoooopppp!!!

Ignatieff is going too far in my estimation, because he's essentially giving NOTHING more than lip service to environmental concerns, while singing the praises of what amounts to an environmental NIGHTMARE at the moment. As mentioned earlier in the comments, many Albertans share concerns on the tar sands. It's not like everyone in the province is screaming "full steam ahead", the environment be damned. That fact means that Ignatieff doesn't have to be so one-sided in his presentation, he MUST speak to the balance, he MUST articulate how the tar sands can be viable within an environmentally friendly policy. Otherwise, Ignatieff just sounds like the Conservatives, even worse, under some illusion that this now MEGA pandering will lead to a red wave across the oil patch.

I'm actually starting to get quite pissed here. Earlier, I cautioned on waiting for the other shoe to drop, somewhat content allowing Ignatieff to do the necessary work to redeem the Liberal brand. But, with this latest crack, directed at National Geographic, Ignatieff is in danger of losing his soul, for the sake of political expediency. AND, even if you confine yourself to mere strategic considerations, Ignatieff risks undermining support he enjoys now, while he over shoots with attracting the "new". What's the environmental vision here Michael? I think Ignatieff had best starting fleshing out a few things, because at the moment, parroting Jim Prentice isn't quite doing it for me, and I suspect I'm not alone. Unity yes, respecting provincial economies a given, offering solutions to mitigate the damage, let's hear it, slamming NG for a "fair" piece, please stop talking.


Anonymous said...

Well said Steve. The irony of all this is that while WK and other Ignatieff advisors rant gleefully about how Harper is doing things "he doesn't even believe in" and how "people will vote for the real Liberal, instead of the pretend one" it's really starting to sound like the pot calling the kettle black.

Maybe Ignatieff's people should read more Keith Davey (probably the most famous and successful Liberal strategist there was) who said "Canadians given a choice will always vote for a real Tory, not a pseudo-Tory in Liberal clothing".

Amazing to think Davey's son is the principal secretary in Ignatieff's office and has done the exact opposite of his father's advice (even going so far as to praise Harper's media relations strategy - a strategy Liberals before criticized to no end as being iron fisted and far too closed-door).

The Mound of Sound said...

Steve, Iggy is totally pandering for votes. This notion of a technological fix is a patent smokescreen. The sequestration technology isn't proven. The Alberta government's boastful sequestration target is for less than 10% of Athabasca emissions. It isn't viable. EnviroCan's 2008 study found the several processes involved in sequestration emitted as much CO2 as they captured and sequestered. And, the Big Lie, is that it would take 20-years, probably 30 to get this implemented IF it could be developed to be both effective and viable.

Mr. Ignatieff ought to know this. If he doesn't he should stop the Athabasca boosterism.

Steve V said...


It's not like sequestration is the only consideration, there are many other environmental factors at play. Like I said, I get the pandering, and really you have to be sensitive to regional economies, but that doesn't mean you have to sound like Prentice.

The Mound of Sound said...

No question, Steve. Carbon emissions are just one branch of the environmental catastrophe that is the Tar Sands. Contamination leeching from those talking ponds is another. The devastation of the Athabasca river watershed is another. There are more.

bigcitylib said...

I suppose Iggy's only defense is that you can say what you want if you realize that the issue is totally beyond your control. The tar sands will get "greened" insofar as there is international (ie U.S.) pressure to do so.

Albertans can threaten Ottawa with Separatism all they want, that means squat in Washington. What is Stelmach going to do, threaten to join China?

This being the case, why not cheer-lead the tar-sands? Can't do any real harm, might scare up a few votes in Alta.

ottlib said...

Stephane Dion ran on an environmental plan and got trounced across the country, including what was once some rather safe seats on Ontario.

Do you not think the Liberals in general and Mr. Ignatieff in particular did not notice that?

Canadians did not put their money where their mouths were then and they are certainly not going to do it during a major recession.

If you are a Liberal looking at the environment as your primary concern I would advise looking somewhere else. (I know I will be looking at other alternatives come election time.) That boat sailed and wrecked itself with the destruction of Mr. Dion. It will not be rebuilt.

Mr. Ignatieff will not totally abandon the environment but it will now take a back seat to economic concerns, including jobs in the oil patch, and my guess is it will not hurt him as much as many think and hope.

Steve V said...


I've considered that as well, it really doesn't matter what Iggy says at this point, so... However, then you get into complete callous disregard for the spirit of what you stand for, and you alienate people. Like I said earlier, Ignatieff had better watch this courtship, because others will be quite ready to jump all over him, and siphon off votes, that make it a net neutral. Let's not forget about other areas of the country that we have a better chance in, namely Quebec. Sounding like the Cons on the tar sands isn't a "winner", in fact it's a "dog". The Liberals have the potential to pickup 20 seats in Quebec, in Alberta it's like 2 at best. A kiss on the check, but no need for the tongue ;)

Steve V said...

"Do you not think the Liberals in general and Mr. Ignatieff in particular did not notice that?"

Dion got trounced on the word TAX, and yes we've all noticed it, not like this is a revelation.

gingercat said...

"We've got to clean it up, and we've got make it a sustainable place to work and live."

How does this statement reflect the Conservatives stance on the environment? To the best of my recollection I haven't heard a Conservative use the word "sustainable".

Steve V said...


The problem now, Ignatieff mentions this as an afterthought, and it's not the first time. That's what I mean by fleshing out some policy here, what's the gameplan. I know, I know, you don't show your cards, and you can't expect detail quite yet, but we need some signals, because right now I hear Prentice (and I can barely listen to the man at this point).

Mark Richard Francis said...

"Mr. Ignatieff will not totally abandon the environment but it will now take a back seat to economic concerns, including jobs in the oil patch, and my guess is it will not hurt him as much as many think and hope."

In other words, no leadership by Iggy is evident. This is all going to be about polls and focus groups.

In other words, pandering.

I have no interest in supporting the Libs at this point.

The Green shift was completely sellable... but not as a tax.

Steve V said...


Given the last election, I have NO problem abandoning the idea for now (and, I was a huge supporter, that still thinks it's the best plan). Unfortunately, the mere mention is death at the moment, we can't undo the frame from the last election. You also can't do anything, unless you get elected, so again we need to be pragmatic. The Green Shift isn't sellable, and if we want evidence of this, maybe we should mention it once at a rally, and then observe the salivation flow from the Con war room. I note, even today, a mention by a Con MP of the carbon tax, trying to place Iggy as the godfather of the idea.

What I want to see is another approach to all this, that isn't weak, or merely a complete pander. I really like what McGuinty is proposing, some have problems with certain aspects, but it's comprehensive and focused. There are different ways to skin a cat...

Anonymous said...

Baird and Prentice has said the exact same things re: sustainability and it's just lip service.

If we know the greening of the oil sands will happen EVENTUALLY by outside pressure why not be on the right side of the issue?

We don't want this to become another issue like the Iraq War where Ignatieff has to pen an apology in a newspaper talking about how he got it all wrong once it's apparent to everyone that support for the oil sands was a mistake.

Better to be like Obama and sense impending failure and be one of the first to take the principled strong approach. Obama's view on Iraq was not popular in the U.s. when he took it (the war had over 80% approval) but in the end it was used as a key issue to show his foresight and judgment and helped him win the Presidency.

Ignatieff should see the oil sands as like his Iraq issue, he can get ahead of the curve or not. We know the current approach isn't sustainable either way.

Anonymous said...

Ignatieff is looking more and more like another Paul Martin - trying to be all things to all people and shamelessly sucking up to the oil and gas industry in Alberta.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I was angry when I read about his comments also. Not an Iggy fan but hoped he'd be a good interim leader until a real Liberal shows up.

It is naive to think that a cheerleading approach is the right answer. It will NOT LEAD TO PROSPERITY as the world 'gets it' and will stop buying the dirty stuff.

WHERE IS THE VISIONARY? Dion was that just couldn't communicate. One wonders how much Iggy helped bury Dion.

Can anyone tell me what Iggy stands for except power? We don't need 2 CON parties in this country walking backwards over the cliff.

LNeumann said...

First he supports the budget, and now the tar sands?!?

Mound of Sound is completely right about CCS - it's experimental at best. There are much better ways to reduce emissions. And the tar sands are just toxic all around, anyway.

I have voted Liberal all my life - sometimes happily, and sometimes not. But with this kind of "policy", I certainly will be changing my vote next time.

I hope Ignatieff realizes that this gives the NDP and Greens a very wide opening. Where is the difference between the Libs and Harper? They're so close now,the parties may as well merge and be done with it!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ignatieff, you have lost my support. I don't want Canada to be a "world leader" with respect to the pollution and environmental destruction of the Tar Sands industry. I am extremely disappointed as I had hoped you would provide a vision for a greener, fairer Canada as Mr. Dion did. I will keep searching for a leader with the courage to speak out against the Tar Sands, and they will have my support.

Anonymous said...

That's what I mean by fleshing out some policy here, what's the gameplan.

Ignatieff creates a public perception of supporting the oil sands, Obama publicly supported coal mining in Virginia and W. Virginia and espoused clean coal technology. I remember it clearly, reading the American blogs, when O. got lambasted by a section within his party for doing that.

Our environmental policy will be to create an aggressive national carbon market tied with the soon-to-be- created U.S national carbon market. But even that is going to cause some rumblings out in Alberta.

I do agree Ignatieff went too far in his defense and it could have been more nuanced, but I don’t disagree with the underlying strategy. There is absolutely nothing to gain by bashing the oil sands when the Albertans hear it everyday and are already seeing their economic future cloud over with $30 oil prices…. and there is nothing to lose by stealing some brownie points on an issue the CPC has been in control of too long.


Anonymous said...

As one of the anon's on here who has been critical of Ignatieff I just have to say that saying "Mr. Ignatieff you have lost my support" is a bit of a joke.

I'm sure Mr. Ignatieff will shed a tear at the loss of Mr. Anonymous and that the party will suffer greatly as a result.

Just my humble opinion, but I think anon comments are good for constructive criticism (and sometimes very harsh criticism is necessary) but saying I, mystery person, am withdrawing my support jsut doesn't hold much weight.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you found my comments a joke. I'm a frequent reader of these blogs, but don't have a blogging identity. I thought all comments were welcome, and didn't expect to be ridiculed. I also thought that every vote counted in a democracy.

Steve V said...

I think it's a bit of a joke watching one anon going after another anon, using the anon thing as part of the argument. Maybe that's just me.

Steve V said...

"First he supports the budget, and now the tar sands?!?"

Only a complete idiot of an official opposition leader doesn't support this budget, under the circumstances that were at hand.

Steve V said...


I don't necessarily disagree with the strategy, but to a point. You don't have to sell you soul to get there, and I would argue this current stance actually lacks nuance. It's not particularly smart, the degree I mean.

Jason Cherniak said...

I see where you're coming from, but I'm concerned that the article gives no context. What question, exactly, was Michael answering? Was he responding to the article, or a journalists' phrasing what the article supposedly said? I recognize that if the later is the case then Michael should have phrased his response accordingly, but the article isn't even clear on whether he did that. Who knows what he said before "National Geographic is not..." Even the capitalization tells you nothing, since the quote starts with the name of the magazine.

Steve V said...

It was said in a scrum, prior to the NG crack, he said it's a world class industry, but acknowledged we need to make it "better". His posture was quite defensive, like he has a lot of Suncor stock. I'm being cute, but you get my drift.

Let's see how Ignatieff's fleshes this out, but the afterthought "we need to do it better" isn't terribly convincing, and he DOES sound and defend like he's in the Stelmach cabinet. I'm not sure the Liberal leader needs to plant the flag there, to attain credibility with the "west". It's a net neutral, which is annoying because it's also bad policy, important policy.

Ian said...

"Only a complete idiot of an official opposition leader doesn't support this budget, under the circumstances that were at hand."

But why not propose SOME constructive criticisms, especially if it's "fundamentally flawed?" I mean, they're not even attempting to bring one bit of change in on EI, pay equity, or any number of issues. I'm sorry, but a bad budget in bad times does not deserve support.

Steve V said...

Here's another way to look at it, nevermind the policy. If you could pick one issue that the Conservatives are perceived to be the weakest on, what would it be? They have the least amount of credibility on this file, so why would the Liberals think it wise to mirror the Conservative rhetoric, particularly when their BASE is your main audience? Why sully yourself when the only benefit, is the least attainable. I'm reminded of a Hebert comment, where she said a few weeks ago, if not for this file, the Cons probably could have got their majority. Duceppe is rubbing his palms.

Anonymous said...

"Only a complete idiot of an official opposition leader doesn't support this budget, under the circumstances that were at hand."

Unless, of course, that opposition leader was Dion - who could have taken the brunt of any damage that may have come from installing a coalition government, at which point strong environmental policy could have been enacted, and the Liberal leadership could have proceeded as more than a coronation.

Even though I was, and to a degree still am, a staunch Dion supporter - I'm not trying to just be sour grapes here. I worry that the Liberal Party made a big mistake with the way they unceremoniously pushed Dion out.

To be sure, I still hope Ignatieff can pull things around. It seems, however, that the CPC have begun their framing of Iggy --- and I worry that Canadians are going to fall for it (again). I hope I'm wrong.

Steve V said...


Fair enough, but there is some logic in the belief that you don't start introducing amendments because one, where does it stop, two, do you really want to own it?

Steve V said...

"It seems, however, that the CPC have begun their framing of Iggy --- and I worry that Canadians are going to fall for it (again). I hope I'm wrong."

I've never understood this passive opinion, as though we merely sit in the corner, whilst the masters have their way. We learned from Dion, and I get no sense whatsoever that this crowd doesn't know how to hit back. We're doing some framing to, you can't view things in isolation.

Anonymous said...

support for iggy is going to diminish for defending "Mordor", and the number of people flocking to support the ndp will only increase. there is no point to pandering to albertans and conservatives, their minds are already made up, if anything ignatieff's words will only reinforce their inflated sense of ... whatever you want to call it. And if he does end up flip flopping on this issue (similarities with Kerry go further than just appearances) he'll lose more support. Where's Rae already?

Steve V said...

"the number of people flocking to support the ndp will only increase."

Yes, because the NDP wasn't pandering, not to mention fear mongering, all in the name of political expediency. Don't believe me, just ask the environmentalists, who watched with awe as Layton puppeted the Harper attack lines. May might get some mileage, I'm certain Duceppe will pounce, Layton not so sure.

The Mound of Sound said...

Anon, Bob Rae's not the answer. There is a person who has the intellect, integrity, patriotism and grit to lead this party - a person who could become one of Canada's truly great prime ministers. Her name is Louise Arbour.

She has an intellect superior to Ignatieff's but she also brings experience, abiding integry and proven courage. She's everything Iggy has going for him and everything he doesn't.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough, the ndp's mirroring of the conservative line on the green shift was particularly shameful. All the more reason to not alienate people with a sense of rationality, who, let's be perfectly honest, make up the base of support for the Liberals. Iggy should be inspiring people, not pandering to those for whom politics is a grudge match rather than a dialogue. Iggy must realize that he's going to get rapped by the right regardless of the stance he takes. If the cognitive dissonance within the liberal party is the question, then Rae really is the answer. To me, at least.

Anonymous said...

"the number of people flocking to support the ndp will only increase"

Yeah because the potential NDP supporters flocked to the Liberals when given an extremely progressive environmental option in the last election. I understand why the Liberals are fishing to the right now ... even if I don't completely agree with some of the message.

I hate to continue with the blame game, but I can't help but keep feeling a bit of anger towards the NDP. As a center-left Liberal, and as someone who once briefly flirted with the NDP, I can't see what anyone saw in Jack Layton over Stephane Dion.

To be sure, the blame squarely lies on the shoulders of those who voted CPC because ... ummm, still haven't really figured it out ... low taxes?

That's not to say that Dion and the Liberals don't deserve some blame too. They didn't exactly reach out to everyone in the party - there a lot of paranoia - and allowed the bully to continuously kick sand in their face.

Anonymous said...

"Albertans can threaten Ottawa with Separatism all they want, that means squat in Washington. What is Stelmach going to do, threaten to join China?"

Well lets ignore the fact that Albertans have pretty much shut up and paid the price (equalization) for decades. There is no real separatist threat from Alberta. Listen to what Steve said, there are many more seats available to the Libs in Quebec if they bash Alberta as usual. Not enough seats to form government, certainly not west of Ontario, but hey it's a start!

"support for iggy is going to diminish for defending "Mordor", and the number of people flocking to support the ndp will only increase. there is no point to pandering to albertans and conservatives,"

That's right, you fight those evil Westerners.

burlivespipe said...

I take Ignatieff's comments in the context of the global meltdown -- to bad mouth one of the few motors still turning, despite all its flaws, you are insulting not just Albertans but a whole lot of other people fearful for their livelihoods. Doesn't mean that there isn't ways or plans to address the SERIOUS damage that the tarsand extraction is doing to all those around it... Yes, he could have couched his language a little different. But look at the facts, there are parties to the right and the left, and which one has the most disatisfied supporters at this moment? Where is the growth? If this is a pure political exercise, it is artfully done. Not that I didn't cringe when I read it. Now, if he's saying just that (with no ideas and policies) come a campaign, then I see trouble ahead.

LNeumann said...

I guess I can grok the strategy angle - kind of...

But, is it too much to ask for to hear some inspiring words from our political leaders? At least once in a while?

Still not sure how I can vote for somebody when what he says makes me feel ill!

Compare to Obama's speech on Wednedsay - and, well, there's no comparison. Obama's policies are not perfect either, but at least he seems to have some vision.

Anonymous said...

C'mon - don't you think Iggy could turn this around on the Conservatives? They had years and years in Alberta to clean up their act. Harper protects them and the US oil companies.

Ignatieff could promote the greening and saving of jobs for Albertans. He could promote that Alberta should look into other areas to make their money - because oil will be dead in a few years.

Attack and attack all you want - there are a lot of people that need the jobs.

He could also turn it around on the greedy, self-serving "US" owned companies.

Jerry Prager said...

A) the tar sands are really more like Isengard than Mordor, although dark Satanic Mills is William Blake discussing the beginnings of the industrial rape of Albion - England.
B) the West is not just oil barons and their minions, so just because some of us think the tar sands and the political economy they represent are evil, does not mean we think the West is evil.
C)the place Iggy is going to suffer most is that he is going to drive off young voters. They're the most intensely concerned with the environment, and they are still idealistic enough to place long term gain against short term pain, no matter how bad the economy gets next election.
D) the Greens, not the NDP will benefit by Iggy's crossing back over the environmental divide where Dion so boldly took the party in the name of the future.
E)Iggy is losing me on a regular basis. He's another "no vision but the Liberal Party as natural governing party kind of leader." I got off that bandwagon. And so have a lot of other people, and some, like the young, who got on with Dion, will get off with Iggy.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I been holdin' off on judgin' Iggy, until now. I accepted the explanation for the "condones torture" accusation. I accepted the rejection of an LPC-NDP coalition. I accepted the passing of the budget to keep us from an electoral crisis.

I cannot accept this rejection of information that challenges the oil economy. I cannot accept his refusal to consider the problems the tar sands are creating for innocent victims. I cannot accept his attitude that money and jobs are more important than the life of the planet.

The tar sands is a gang rape of Mother Earth. Harper and Ignatieff are the lookout men, keeping the public at bay while their corporate masters rape and pillage with abandon.

If I don't see a grassroots Liberal membership reaction to and rejection of Ignatieff's endorsement of the world's worst environmentally damaging project, I will really lose any faith that the Liberals will respect the planet any better than the Cons have done. Sad.


Anonymous said...

He's another "no vision but the Liberal Party as natural governing party kind of leader."

indeed. he's writing his own attack ads.

Anonymous said...

Here's the full transcript of his scrum. This wasn't a mistake - he was asked the same question 8-times and answered the same way each time.

Question: M. Ignatieff, le National Geographic dresse un portrait très -- du Canada comme un délinquant environnemental. Est-ce que c'est un tort irréparable à la réputation du Canada?

Michael Ignatieff: Je tire pas mes conclusions sur une industrie canadienne des propos de National Geographic ou qui que ce soit où nous sommes avec les sables bitumineux. C'est une industrie énormément importante pas seulement pour l'Alberta mais pour tout le pays. Par exemple, quand je suis à Fort McMurray j'entends pas mal de Québécois qui travaillent dans. Ce que nous avons dit depuis le début c'est que cette industrie doit devenir vert et du point de vue on peut l'améliorer au point de vue environnemental et sociaux, pas simplement que ça soit plus vert mais ça soit un environnement meilleur pour les autochtones à Fort Chip et aussi pour les travailleurs dans l'industrie.

Question: (Inaudible) au Canada, vous acceptez pas (inaudible).

Michael Ignatieff: Non, pas du tout. Pas du tout. Nous sommes un super puissance énergétique. Nous avons des défis environnementaux qu'il faut affronter et nous, le Parti libéral, nous a toujours dit qu'il faut améliorer la performance environnementale des sables bitumineux. Mais ce que j'accepte pas avec le Bloc c'est qu'il critique sans cesse une industrie qui emploie pas mal de Québécois.

Question: (Inaudible) à la réputation du Canada à l'étranger?

Michael Ignatieff: Écoutez, la réputation du Canada est plus fort qu'un article dans le National Geographic ou n'importe autre. Nous sommes un grand pays, bon Dieu, et je tire pas de leçons des journaux d'ailleurs.

(Plusieurs questions à la fois.)

Michael Ignatieff: Oh, oh, la la la la la.

Question: À cause de ce reportage, même si vous n'en tirez pas de leçons, est-ce que ça va être plus difficile de vendre l'idée des sables bitumineux à l'étranger?

Michael Ignatieff: Écoutez, nous devons nettoyer les sables bitumineux. Nous devons rendre cette industrie plus vert et plus sustainable -- quel est le mot?

Question: Durable.

Michael Ignatieff: Durable, durable. Que ça soit plus durable du point de vue social et environnement. Nous, les Libéraux, nous avons toujours dit ça. Nous avons fortement critiqué le gouvernement conservateur pour sa négligence dans ce secteur mais je suis quand même fier du fait que nous sommes -- nous avons une industrie d'une telle importance et je prends pas de leçons des gens d'ailleurs.

Now in English, National Geographic is not going to teach me any lessons about the oil sands. This is a huge industry. It employs Canadians from coast to coast. We have industry -- we have oil reserves that are going to last for the whole of the 21st century. We are where we are. We've got to clean it up and we've got to make it a sustainable place to work and live not only for the Aboriginal populations there but for the workers who live there. My concern is that at the moment it's barely environmentally sustainable and it's barely socially sustainable. The Conservative government has done nothing about this. We need to move forward. But am I proud of this industry? You bet. It's a world leader. We just need to make it better. But I don't take lessons from the National Geographic.

Question: Le Macleans rapporte que monsieur -- que votre équipe (inaudible) M. Wiseman au Québec. Est-ce que c'est vrai?

Michael Ignatieff: Écoutes, il y a des gens qui croient qu'il écrit des discours pour moi. À ma connaissance j'ai pas de contact avec M. Wiseman et je lis pas ses discours, ça c'est sûr.

Question: M. Flaherty admet qu'il va y avoir des erreurs lorsque l'argent pour le genre de stimulation va être dépensé. Est-ce que c'est normal qu'il y ait des erreurs (inaudible) accélérer les dépenses?

Michael Ignatieff: C'est justement pour ça qu'à la fin du mois de mars on va demander des comptes du gouvernement sur les dépenses pour être sûr qu'il n'y a pas de gaspillage, pour être sûr que quand tu dépenses l'argent c'est pas simplement des annonces publicitaires mais que la marchandise soit vraiment livrée aux comtés, aux maires, aux villes. Alors c'est justement pour ça qu'un parti d'opposition doit bien faire son travail.

Question: On the oil sands, sir, are you comfortable with National Geographic's depiction of the oil sands? What is a fair depiction? Was it an accurate depiction?

Michael Ignatieff: I'm not in the business of awarding journalistic awards for accuracy. What I'm saying is this is an industry that has to become socially sustainable for those who work in it and the communities around it and it has to become environmentally sustainable and every Canadian knows we have challenges. But this is an industry which will determine the geo-strategic place of Canada in the 21st century. We've got to clean it up. We've got to smarten it up but we don't take lessons from other people's foreign coverage.

Question: (Inaudible) c'est la faute de qui si les sables bitumineux (inaudible)?

Michael Ignatieff: J'ai dit depuis pas mal longtemps que le Parti conservateur n'a rien fait pour améliorer la performance environnementale des sables bitumineux. C'est la faute principalement du gouvernement conservateur mais il y a aussi beaucoup d'autres gens qui doivent jouer son rôle, prendre ses responsabilités. Et ce que je vais pas faire, ce que je vais pas faire, c'est que je vais pas diviser le pays avec un discours anti-sables bitumineux. Nous sommes un seul pays qui s'appelle le Canada. Nous avons besoin d'une énergie -- d'une industrie énergétique performante et durable et c'est pour ça que je cherche des mesures valables dans le gouvernement libéral.

Question: In terms of the report card both Minister Baird and Minister Flaherty have repeatedly said it's now become obvious the budget will only pass just days before March the 11th or 12th when you expect the report card. Mr. Baird has said that new monies won't flow before that. What can you reasonably hope to expect on that report card?

Michael Ignatieff: If you date back the performance of this government on deficit, employment, infrastructure spending, we can give by the end of March Canadians a very clear report card of this government's performance up to date.

Question: (Inaudible)

Michael Ignatieff: At the end of March, 23rd, 24th of March we'll be able to report. And then we'll set up the criteria for subsequent reports if they pass the first test. But we feel, you know, you forget this government's been in power for three years. They got a record as long as both of my arms and it'll be on that that they will be judged. Thanks a lot.

Anonymous said...

Too funny - Jimbobby with his stupid backwoods talk - is a Green supporter anyway. So, no loss there.

The west don't want to be trashed - they want in and they want to be considered just as much as Quebec.

Most Anons are Anons that are on the hate Iggy campaign trail - no loss there.



Anonymous said...

Trevor, I can't tell if you're being serious or sarcastic. The point is that Albertans 1) aren't going to be shifting allegiances towards the liberal party anytime soon, and 2) won't accept any pandering (or criticism) from Ignatieff, and their reaction to whatever comments leave Iggy's mouth are going to be virtually the same. (I was actually talking about Conservatives coast to coast, not just in their traditional stomping grounds of the prairies.) The oilsands are a blight on our nation, and it is Iggy's responsibility to champion a more responsible means of doing this kind of business. (Well, he did say that they need to clean up their act, it was the pandering part of it that is irking sensible-minded liberals.)

Anonymous said...

for the record:

Alberta's oilsands like Mordor: Maude Barlow

"Maude Barlow, a Canadian who has been appointed to advise the United Nations on water issues, says a recent flight over Alberta's oilsands reminded her of Mordor from the movie 'Lord of the Rings.'

Leo Broderick, from Charlottetown, says it looked like an ATOMIC BOMB had wiped out all the vegetation around the oilsands mines and he CAN'T BELIEVE CANADIANS HAVE ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN.

Barlow, who is also chairwoman of the COUNCIL OF CANADIANS, said the vast waste ponds used by oilsands plants remind her of the fictional blackened and barren landscape in the fantasy land of darkness and fear, ruled by the Dark Lord Sauron.

Barlow said she was shocked to see steam rising from the ground, no birds in the sky and no animals when she made her first-ever visit to the region.

'The air is foul, the water is being drained and poisoned and giant tailing ponds line the Athabasca River,' she said at a news conference Friday.

THE COUNCIL IS CALLING FOR A MORATORIUM ON ANY NEW OILSANDS DEVELOPMENT until thorough assessments are done on how such projects affect humans and the environment."

The Mound of Sound said...

Apparently three-quarters of Albertans want a moratorium on Tar Sands expansion until the environmental issues are resolved. I don't think Iggy stands to get many votes from them for beating the Athabasca drum.

I think Ignatieff is dividing the LPC membership as no one has before him.

Steve V said...

Gilles Duceppe's FIRST question today in QP, a reference to the NG story, wherein he chides the Liberals and Conservatives.

Steve V said...

Next question for the Bloc, Bernard Bigras, another question on the environment, AGAIN taking a shot at Ignatieff. Calls Ignatieff an oil sands lobbyist.

Anonymous said...

steve, was it something I said?

There is a discernible split within the liberal party. I thought that the comment about splitting up the party wasn't a bad one. I mean, I am sure with 100% certainty that Rae represents me much more than Iggy ever will. Gerard Kennedy is the man, political expediency can go the way of the dodo as far as I'm concerned.

Steve V said...

"There is a discernible split within the liberal party."

Even if that's true, it's been that way since I was in diapers, so...