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Conservative leadership scuttles Bill C-484.

The Conservative government must have gotten spooked at all the public opposition coming over Bill C-484, because suddenly Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has announced the Conservative government is going to basically abandon Ken Epp’s private members bill – The Unborn Victims of Violence Act – with its own government-sponsored bill, that will have no mention of fetal rights in it:

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced Monday that the government will draft a new bill to replace Bill C-484, the Unborn Victims of Crime Act, so that it closes the debate about fetal rights and focuses instead on penalizing criminals who harm pregnant women…”We’ve heard criticism from across the country, including […]

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Friday bits and bytes

Bit:

David Akin has done a pretty good investigative piece on the KLR Vu Guelph poll that caused some interest and controversy a couple of days ago when it was released. I’ll note here as I did over there at David’s site that I did send an email to the polling firm asking them how many of the 3396 respondents they polled refused to answer or hung up. I’ve yet to receive an answer back from the firm.

Byte:

I was told by StageLeft that he had heard on Ottawa Radio CFRA this AM a Conservative-sympathetic host responding to Stephane Dion challenging Harper to state what his views on abortion […]

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Harmonizing more then just carbon taxes.

I caught this story over at Steve’s place last night about Liberal leader Stephane Dion talking to BC Premier Gordon Campbell about harmonizing the 2 carbon taxes in order to make sure they work together and don’t overlap.

I would also not be surprised if there wasn’t talk of harmonizing on another matter – that being to both BC and the federal Liberals to respond equally forcefully on attacks the federal Conservatives under Stephen Harper will lead on Dion’s “Green Shift”. Remember, when Campbell brought his version of a carbon tax in – John Baird made a statement saying more or less claiming that BC’s approach complimented the federal Conservatives […]

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Dion tells Harper to grow up and act mature.

I love the response of Dion to Harper claiming Canadians would get “screwed” by the Liberals plan:

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion has scolded Stephen Harper over his criticism of the Liberals’ so-called green shift, challenging the prime minister Saturday to an “adult” debate on the issue…”I call on the prime minister to debate with me any time on TV on this issue in a respectful, meaningful and adult way,” an angry Dion said on Toronto’s Centre Island…”It was vulgar and I don’t think Canadians are impressed by that,” Dion said of Harper’s comments Friday. “They want the prime minister to act as a prime minister.”

A perfect frame of […]

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Grudging praise.

I’ve often said before in response to other Liberal bloggers attacking Chantal Hebert for dumping on Dion in whatever column she’s written that it’s not news. It’s about as unique as seeing the sun rise in the east every morning.

For me, it would be notable if she actually praised him in one of her columns or give him credit over something. Today is such a day in her column where she critiques the Liberal leader as well as the Green Shift, and gives the strategy and the leader of the Liberals some credit. She calls the plan “gutsy”, and thought Dion gave “his best public performance to date […]

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Defining the issue before the other folks define it for you.

I’m going to write about today’s Chantal Hebert column without taking potshots at her, because she’s actually talking about Dion without taking potshots at him – a rarity since Dion has become leader of the Liberals.

What I’m going to focus on from her column is whether Dion should make a carbon tax a key policy plank in the Liberals campaign or not, and that he needs to decide soon. I do agree with that; if we’re not going to have an election this June (and many of us, even those who are election hawks, are increasingly resigned to that), and Dion is going to go on a summer tour with key Liberals, then this policy needs to be pushed up front and centre and he and his spokespersons and surrogates are going to need to be out there on the circuit explaining what a carbon tax entails, and more specifically what it does NOT entail.

If Dion and the Liberals let this policy sit without proper explanation, that is what you’re going to see from the Conservatives – trying to equate it to a “gasoline tax”, when it is nothing of the sort.  There will not be a direct raise of gasoline prices because of any carbon tax implemented, and it will also involve lowering taxes in other areas; what is known as a tax shift.  But Ms. Hebert is correct when she says policy nuances like this get lost in the middle of an election campaign.

Start promoting it and explaining it now, or risk losing the spin war.  Choose BC and Quebec as the first 2 places to do the explaining too; both have implemented versions of it, both (if Ms. Hebert is accurate) have been well received there, and both are provinces where the Liberals have to win additional seats to win government.  I can’t think of 2 better provinces to start talking about this carbon tax proposal.

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Bring it on, Harper (and let’s go, Liberal caucus)

Funny, I was just hearing in the news last week that Harper didn’t want to fall on Afghanistan or go to an election on it. Now all of a sudden, he’s threatening to turn this (a non-money, non-supply motion, if true) into a motion of confidence and telling Dion he will cause an election over it?

I see Dion is repeating his stance tonight to the media after his meeting with Harper that the combat mission must end in 2009, and that isn’t changing. I say bravo to him, and I also urge him to call Harper’s bluff – if he wants an election over this, I say bring it […]

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Perceptions on the Hill over the Afghanistan positions.

So I was chatting with one of my acquaintances up on the Hill who observes the Parliamentary goings-on for a living, and I asked that person what they made of the Conservatives issuing a press release last evening on Bill C-3 (dealing with the new revised security certificates that the Supreme Court struck down last year), which more or less said the Liberals would be weak on Canadians public safety if they don’t pass the Conservatives version of that bill.  I said it seemed a rather silly move by the PMO to make going after the Liberals when Harper was supposed to be meeting Dion today to try and persuade him to follow his stance on Afghanistan and the Manley Report; I didn’t think it would exactly ease chilly relations with that type of a release.

The response I got from this person was interesting: the opinion given back was that it was that person’s belief that Harper really doesn’t want Dion to agree with him – that he wants to be able to blame Dion and the Liberals for “forcing” him to end the combat mission in Afghanistan, and thus try to neutralize it as an election issue for him.

I said I found that interesting, because of Layton’s press conference yesterday and some NDP bloggers basically now saying to everyone who would listen that Dion was moving closer to Harper’s position (and Layton was being silly I opined, because everyone has predicted, including me, that Dion and the Liberals would never agree to pulling troops out immediately, and that’s been their position for a while).

The reply to that from the observer was equally interesting:  In their opinion, Layton, like Harper  is also playing politics with this issue; the NDP is following their policy of trying to destroy the Liberals in advance of the next election than in — well, pretty much anything else. The opinion ended with the observation that Layton probably would have been horrified if Dion *had* agreed with him.

Take it for what it’s worth, but as I said, it’s from an observer on the Hill… and it means Dion and the Liberals will have to tread very carefully. If the NDP want to end the combat portion of the mission, they will have to quit playing politics (if that is indeed what they’re up to) acknowledge that they and the Liberals have differences on when the combat portion ends, and then ask the Liberals to help defeat the Cons version of wanting to stay.

As for Harper, I don’t trust him more then I can throw him. Dion has made his position clear that the combat portion of this mission will end in 2009 if the Liberals have their way, so I don’t see what Harper will offer to Dion to get him to agree to an extension. If Harper comes out of his meeting with guns ablazing about how the Liberals and Dion are being inflexible or won’t support a Liberal-led panel recommendation, I suspect my observer friend’s opinions on this will be proven right.

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Layton making overtures to Dion on Afghanistan position.

Well now, this is an interesting turn of events. Rather then bash the Liberals over their Afghanistan position, Jack Layton and the NDP have decided diplomacy is the better way to go, and are making overtures to Dion and appealing to him to support their opposition to not extend the Afghanistan mission:

NDP Leader Jack Layton made a personal appeal to the federal Liberals on Wednesday, urging them to accept his proposal to put an end to Canada’s military combat mission in Afghanistan. Layton spoke briefly to Liberal Leader Stephane Dion outside the Commons to convince him not to support Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s efforts to extend the mission beyond […]

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