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The Conservatives announce the “Brown/Grey Shift”

Ok, that’s my title, but it might as well be the Conservatives name for it, and it’s voter-pandering at its worst. Here is Stephen Harper’s announcement of dropping the excise tax on diesel fuel by half, as described by economist Stephen Gordon:

In one stroke, it takes two serious and pressing problems – the deteriorating fiscal situation and greenhouse gas emissions – and makes them both worse..The election is still five weeks away, and I’m already running out of synonyms for ‘stupid’

Harper can try to to claim how “practical” this is.. but in reality, this is another example of how dirty and gray and brown – NOT Green – […]


Attempt at a gotcha moment, Part 2.

With regards to my earlier blogpost on Steve Janke trying to be a super-sleuth, I noticed courtesy of Red Tory’s site that Janke has done a followup to his blogpost. It appears he’s responded to CarbonZero being named as the carbon offset company for the Liberal campaign by posting this effort at his blogsite.

I saw this over at Janke’s comment thread from someone who appears to know what he is talking about:


Conservative priorities misplaced in the Arctic.

It’s rather fitting on the day that Harper is announcing plans to invest money into searching for oil and minerals in the Arctic that this report comes out:

Arctic Ocean sea ice has melted to the second lowest minimum since satellite observations began, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Sea ice melt recorded on Monday exceeded the low recorded in 2005, which had held second place. With several weeks left in the melt season, ice in summer 2008 has a chance to diminish below the record low set last year, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

So my theory is […]


John Baird has priorities..

… and one of them certainly isn’t the Environment. Perhaps he or the PMO figured out his credibility is shot on that file. He’s a rather curious choice though to be the Cabinet Minister in charge of announcing that we’re going to be looking for a couple of lost ships, I suppose since Parks Canada is undertaking the search, it would technically fall under his mandate, and I suppose it’s better then having to listen to his usual blowhard self attacking the Green Shift.

H/T to Life In Moderation on the boat search story.


This is the guy Harper allies himself with on the environment?

Talk about lack of tact:

George Bush surprised world leaders with a joke about his poor record on the environment as he left the G8 summit in Japan… The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: “Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter.” He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.

Needless to say, I don’t think anyone was that impressed, though they tried to be diplomatic about it:

One official who witnessed the extraordinary scene said afterwards: “Everyone was very surprised that he was making a joke about America’s record on pollution.”

I’m sure Canadian Environment Minister John Baird and Prime Minister Harper thought it a hoot however, since their view of Bush is that he walks on water. I can just picture Baird saying, “Good one George! Stick it to those other countries who think we in North America are doing a crappy job of trying to combat climate change… that’ll show ’em.. hahahah”.

Between this and his “Yo Harper!” routine, Bush was a regular circus jester at this conference, which I guess happens when you’re a lame-duck president who everyone is waiting on to finally leave so real progress can be made on issues like the environment.

Fortunately, the world has less then a year left that we have to put up with him. If anything can be said about Bush, it verifies the fact that anyone can run to be president of the United States, no matter how much of a buffoon they are, and sometimes, they fool enough of the electorate down there to get elected.


Harper off to embarrass us on the international stage again on the environmental front.

Here we go again: Harper’s off to the G-8 to try to convince everyone with the Conservatives argument that they tried using in Bali that until everyone in the world agrees to a climate change agreement, none of the world should bother doing anything about climate change. This attitude wasn’t appreciated at Bali by the world, and it won’t likely be appreciated at the G-8, except of course, by Harper’s fellow climate-change feet dragger, the US.

This “all or nothing” approach was nearly what scuttled the Kyoto talks in Montreal back in 2005. It took the leadership of the conference’s chairperson, then-Environment Minister Stephane Dion, to rescue the talks and […]


Your Conservative response to the Green Shift…

…basically more or less boils down to Harper making the claim that Dion is lying to Canadians about the details of this plan. Of all the things one can say about Dion, even his opponents have said he was a man of integrity. To pull this line of attack out as a means of trying to discredit the Green Shift is simply in my view a dead-ender for the Cons., but I invite them to try and keep using that attack line if they wish, because all it does is expose the fact that the Conservatives simply have no credible plan of their own to counter with, so they’re reduced to smears and “the sky will fall!” fear-mongering, using an oil-spill as their mascot. I don’t think Canadians will buy it.

As you might guess, plenty of comment on the progressive/Liberal blogosphere today about the Green Shift, as well as the media. Too many to list here, but I was interested in reading this blogpiece by Graheme over at his blog, because while he’s a progressive blogger, he isn’t a Liberal supporter, and he’s pretty non-partisan. He gives the Green Shift a fair assessment and believes overall despite the fact he has some reservations, its a good plan.

To make up your own mind, go to The website. You should also read the policy explanation here

As it says over at the website, The time has come to do what is right not what is easy for our environment and for our future.


An idea for the province to encourage plastic bottle recycling

I don’t have an article in the news to cite this as it was a story broadcast on the local London Ontario news, but there is an interesting idea being pitched by some in the City of London as a way to increase the # of plastic bottles being recycled and returned by the public.

Currently, it is estimated by London that 1/3 of plastic bottles don’t get properly recycled by their city residents and instead get thrown into the garbage and end up in landfill sites. Some there are proposing the way to help increase the # of bottle being returned for recycling is for the province of Ontario to copy what the province of Alberta does (yes, they do have some green programs there) and offer a deposit for returning plastic bottles. The rate in Alberta is 5 cents for bottles 1 litre and under, and 20 cents a bottle for anything over a litre. The program has estimated to help bring 80% of plastic bottles back in for recycling.

This isn’t anything that novel; Ontario already does this for beer and wine and liquor bottles, so why not also for this? I don’t doubt the waste rate for plastic bottle is pretty high in other cities besides London, and if people have an incentive to return their bottles, I think this will help out the return rate immensely, and cut down on all the plastic bottles ending up in provincial landfills.

I think its a great idea that some in the city of London have come up with. They are going to try and convince the Dalton McGuinty government that this is the way to go, and I think they have a convert to their cause tonight. I’d urge the Premier and his government to take a serious look at this proposal.


The attack ads on the carbon tax shift begins. Arm yourselves! (with facts)

My title partly derives from the fact I was watching a movie last night called “The Last Legion” and felt in that sort of mood today when reading that the Conservative attack ads against the Liberals proposed carbon tax shift has begun; willingly aided by the Toronto Sun – no surprise there (By the way, congrats to Jason for being thought of as relevant enough to warrant getting mentioned in a Conservative attack website. I’m sure he’ll put that on his belt buckle of achievements).

I actually agree with part of what the Sun and Lorrie Goldstein said as highlighted by Steve over at his blog that the Tories are very worried about this plan if they’re going to such lengths already to attack it before the details and meat of the plan have even been released, and that without having a plan of their own to point to, the Cons. could be vulnerable (that’s Lorrie’s wording, I agree with Steve – they WILL be vulnerable).

I also agree with Danielle that it’s going to be very easy to point to the utter hypocrisy John Baird and the Cons. have on this file toward a carbon tax. They could barely come up with a response to British Columbia implementing it, but now when Dion and the Federal Liberals propose something along the same vein, “ITS A TAX ON EVERYTHING!” suddenly is the Conservatives fear mongering cry.

What I will say however to Liberal strategists and advisers is that it’s a lot easier to defend this if we actually have specifics to point to, rather then generalities. I realize Garth Turner is doing the best he can with what he knows or is allowed to talk about, but the public and the media and the bloggers need more.

The OLO or the media affairs wing of the Liberals needs to be told that, if they aren’t aware of it already. The Cons are already trying to define to the public in an unfavourable light what a terrible thing a carbon tax is. I realize it’s rather silly to be attacking a plan when all it is right now is a concept, not an official meat and potatoes policy, and I realize the last couple of polls shows the majority of Canadians seem to approve of the implementation of a carbon tax (hence the Cons. attempting to go nuclear now) but the risk is still there that without having any details on the plan, the issue gets defined negatively.

Let’s get the policy details out in the public NOW and have a full throated debate about the merits of this plan based on its specifics, so we can rebut the Cons. propaganda and fear mongering over this concept, which is all it is right now. Let’s not wait until the general election – whenever that is. (and I am by the way a member of that Facebook group that Jim mentioned – I still believe we should be forcing an election now whether its in the summer time or not, but thats another story).

I believe the fear has been that if we release specifics now , the Cons. will copy it or attack it. Well, they’re already attacking without specifics, which is I think more dangerous, and we have no fear they will copy this idea, so let’s get the debate over the idea on a level playing field so we have a fair fight here.

UPDATE: Remember when Al Gore warned about Harper back in 2006? Looks like his warnings have come true:

Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore has accused the oil industry of financially backing the Tories and their “ultra-conservative leader” to protect its stake in Alberta’s lucrative oilsands. Canadians, Gore said, should vigilantly keep watch over prime minister-designate Stephen Harper because he has a pro-oil agenda and wants to pull out of the Kyoto accord — an international agreement to combat climate change.

I’m thinking John Baird regrets trying to claim that Gore approved of the Coservatives so-called climate change plan to fight so-called greenhouse gases when he attempted that stunt last year. (H/T Jeff)


Baird feels attacking Ontario and now Quebec will win votes?

… on the Environment file? Seriously?

Environment Minister John Baird has been all over the place the past weekend claiming that the new Ontario/Quebec environmental pact to set up a cap and trade system is somehow evidence of a plot against his federal government on the environment file:

Environment Minister John Baird told a national news agency that the agreement could undermine Ottawa’s climate change plan.

Well John, you and the federal Conservatives don’t have much of a plan as it is, and the one you do have is worth undermining; everyone else in the country other then in the province of Alberta (and internationally too, for that matter) knows how little substance you have in that plan, and how you’re not very serious at tackling climate change and that your “plan” is all smoke and mirrors.

That said, I wouldn’t flatter yourself too much: the 2 provinces are simply of the realization as they both mentioned that Conservative Ottawa is foot dragging on this file, and they’re taking matters into their own hands – similar to what some US states are trying to do because of Bush’s refusal to do anything.

What I get a big kick out of is that John Baird is apparently expanding the Conservatives strategy of attacking provinces. Not content to just go after Ontario as Flaherty and Pierre Poilievere have done, he’s now castigating Quebec as well on this file – Quebec, which is probably the greenest of all provinces. As Jim Coyle points out, you have 2 provinces that “account for 75 per cent of Canada’s manufacturing, two-thirds of its population and 60 per cent of Commons seats.” And the Cons. feel attacking them is going to help them win the next election – particulary attacking them on the Environment?

Like others who have written about this, I’m a tad baffled by this strategy. However, I’m not going to criticize Baird or the Cons. for it - on the contrary, I’m going to encourage him and them to keep it up, and to do it as much as possible all over the media and the talk shows. I’m sure voters in those 2 provinces will appreciate such tactics immeasurably.

Far it from me to attack an internal Conservative strategy that basically helps contribute to the Conservatives own defeat in the next election. I’m quite content to let them carry on with their bluster and blather – and Baird is probably better at it then Flaherty or even Poilivere.

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