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Conservatives own secret study supports a carbon tax.

This was first brought to my attention on Friday by a Green Blogger pointing out that the Green Party had used the Access to Information Act to reveal a secret Conservative government study that shows the economic costs of a carbon tax in Canada starting at 50$/ton are not only negligible to the economy in the first few years, but show a net positive for a carbon tax in raising Canada’s gross domestic product:

The report supports a carbon tax as an effective way to make significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and concludes that a $50/tonne tax on carbon would have an insignificant impact on the Canadian economy and would open tremendous economic opportunities. The model estimates this carbon tax shift would cut emissions by about 36 megatonnes (MT) by 2010, 59 MT by 2015 and 114 MT by 2030.. The report – Cost Curves for Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction in Canada: The Kyoto Period and Beyond – concludes that the GDP impact of a $50/tonne tax shift is less than 0.1% of GDP per year until 2010, is virtually zero during the next five years and is then positive after 2015. Further, the report projects net financial savings to those who take action as a result of the tax shift, after taking into account the investment in emissions reductions. At $50 per tonne, that windfall comes to $13.8 billion by 2010 and climbs from there.

You can understand why Harper and the Cons would hide this report, and why it would take a Freedom Of Information Act request to reveal it. This story has gotten many, many bloggers discussing the secret report and the Conservatives hypocrisy in not releasing it.

It has even got Senator Elaine Mccoy, the independent Progressive Conservative Senator from Alberta, writing today about the deceit of the Conservative government in hiding this report from Canadians. She also calls this government report on the carbon tax “very credible”.

If I were a media person, I might ask Harper or Environment Minister John Baird (if they can find him – he seems to have disappeared since the election call) their reaction to this report. Obviously, they didn’t like the conclusions if they decided to try and hide it. I might also remind them that Baird and Jason Kenney are on record as refusing to release the details (about the cost to consumers) of their so-called environmental plan until after the election. I might be asking if that’s really acceptable to be hiding such crucial details from the public during an election campaign. If the Conservatives are going to fear-monger over the Green Shift, when their own government report says a carbon tax higher then what the Liberals are currently proposing isn’t going to hurt the economy and indeed will eventually raise Canada’s GDP, they need to be called out on it. Furthermore, the simple questions to ask them are:

Where are your environmental plan’s details?
What are your plan’s proposed costs?
Why are you trying to hide them or not release them until after the election?

Canadians and the media at large should demand that the Conservatives put out the details of their environmental plan of what types of costs to consumers will be incurred by them under the Conservative plan to cut emissions of GHG. It is only fair, so we can compare the plans and allow Canadians to make a choice based on facts and statistics, rather then letting the Conservatives continue to fear-monger by saying stuff like Harper claiming the Green Shift will harm national unity, or even more ridiculous stuff like Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant claiming that the Liberals under the Green Shift would ban or tax firewood.

Demand the details.

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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 – […]

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Promises from the last campaign that Stephen Harper broke.

In the spirit of this request by Buckdog asking all Progressive Bloggers to list all the promises that Stephen Harper told the Canadian people and not kept, I start you on this day appropriately with the one made by Harper and the Cons about Fixed Election Dates:

Fixed Election Dates

“A Conservative government will: Introduce legislation modeled on the BC and Ontario laws requiring fixed election dates every four years, except when a government loses the confidence of the House (in which case an election would be held immediately, and the subsequent election would follow four years later).” (“Stand Up For Canada”, Conservative Party of Canada Federal Election Platform 2006, p. 44)

He and the Cons. technically kept this promise by passing it into law, but that hasn’t exactly stopped him today, now has it? Here we have Harper deciding that it is in his party’s interest to completely ignore that law which he and they passed.

UPDATE @ 11:23 am: This theme will be repeated a fair bit about what Deceivin’ Stephen said about this, I suspect.. but here’s Professor Chet Scoville at Vanity Press reinforcing that theme with even more examples.

Danielle does an excellent job at her blog of of listing a whole plethora of “promises made, promises broken” , including the 2006 Conservative Platform (you remember – the “Stand Up For Canada” crap).  Danielle also said at her site there are at least 100 promises made that weren’t kept by Harper and the Cons. We’ll have to see if that’s the case or not, so for reference and research purposes, I’ve helpfully downloaded the document and put it here for your perusal at the bottom of the updates – in case it mysteriously disappears off the Cons homepage.

UPDATE 2 @ 11:37 am: Very impressive – this blogsite went to the trouble of printing up over 50 promises that Stephen Harper broke.

UPDATE 3 @ 12:49pm: Another blogpost on the fixed election date promise. I suspect you’ll be seeing a lot of that. Plus, this post isn’t about a broken promise Steve did, as it is showing what utter gall this guy has in claiming the opposition would be engaging in personal negative attacks, when he and his party have been initiating it on the airwaves and in the Parliament for the past 2 1/2 years.

Conservative 2006 Election Platform and Promises.

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A little history lesson.

As Harper carries on with his threats and bluster about how Parliament isn’t working anymore and how a fixed date law won’t stop him from dissolving the House in order to force an election on his terms, shall we go back to Sept 2004 for a minute and look at how things were a tad different then? Back then, before there was a fixed date election law, then opposition leader Stephen Harper was writing a joint letter with Gilles Duceppe and Jack Layton to then Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson admonishing her not to let Prime Minister Paul Martin dissolve the Parliament on a whim:

The leaders have also written a letter […]

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A rather obvious ploy

I don’t think it should be any big mystery why Harper all of a sudden wants immediate meetings with all opposition leaders. His actions suggest he knows he’s not going to do well in any of the 3 byelections taking place on Sept 8, and he wants to dissolve the House before that happens. That’s why I like the “what’s the rush, Steve?” strategy the Liberals are taking to the press:

Agreeing to Dion’s proposal to meet on Sept. 9 would preclude the Conservatives from forcing a general election call before three Sept. 8 by-elections in Ontario and Quebec – a timetable the Tories are believed to favour…the Liberals said they wouldn’t be pressured into the Tories’ timetable. “What’s the rush? The meeting is to be about the fall sitting of Parliament. (The) House doesn’t return till Sept. 15,” Dion spokesperson Mark Dunn said. “There is no crisis except the one being manufactured by Harper. We’ve never been told there was a time limit for this meeting, other than it was to happen before the House reconvened,” he said.

I believe Harper has no desire to allow the opposition parties – and the Liberals in particular – to have any momentum going into a Fall election. Otherwise, why would he and his spokespersons reject a meeting that Dion has proposed for Sept 9th as too late, when as the Liberals say the House isn’t even scheduled to resume until Sept 15? It’s very transparent on Harper and the Conservatives part. It also shows off Harper’s control freak tendencies of trying to get his way on this.

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The Conservatives have learned their lessons well..

…from their Republican mentors. The Bush White House has perfected the art of doing this: when bad news strikes, they try to do what is called a Friday news dump to ensure there’s as little press or Democratic spokespersons around to either report it or criticize it, or to ask them potentially embarrassing questions. It appears our Conservative government is copying their American Idols to the letter:

The Conservative government has quietly scuttled the navy’s $2.9-billion project to replace its aging supply ships, saying bids from the shipbuilding industry were “significantly” higher than the money set aside for the program. It has also cancelled a tender call for the purchase of 12 mid-shore patrol ships for the Coast Guard. The decisions were announced in a statement issued at 8:30 Friday night by Public Works Minister Christian Paradis.

I guess they are hoping that no one remembers to ask about it on Monday morning and call into question their claim of being the only party in Canada that “supports the troops”; which is not the case for the Canadian Navy, at any rate.

It kind of makes that particular “ten percenter” flyer they’ve been mailing around that Galloping Beaver is highlighting over their way a bigger waste of paper then normal – and actually something to potentially use against them to call them out as hypocrites on the military. Maybe some folks should write Dean Del Maestro back using that ad (since mailing them back is free) and point that out to him and the Conservative Research Bureau.

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Attawapiskat: the human faces to Conservative indifference.

This is a picture of children from the  Cree community of Appawapiskat. The community and these kids have been advocating to the federal government for years for funds to help build a new school to replace their old one, which has been declared condemned. They had received promises from both federal Liberal and Conservative Indian Affairs Ministers that the school would be built, but nothing has been done. Now, however, the ultra-compassionate (said with sarcasm) Chuck Strahl has point-blank said that the school wouldn’t be built.  Not on the priority list, according to Chuck, even though these kids have been without a school for eight years.

In the meantime, one of the kids, Thirteen-year-old Shannen Koostachin, has been nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize for her efforts in getting the new school. That award is given out by the same folks who give out the Nobel Peace Prize. It would be a great honour for Shannen, and at the same time an extreme embarrassment to the Conservative government, if she were to win that award and the school had still been refused funding.

That isn’t the only action these kids have taken:

The youth have sent notice to the federal government, letting them know they intend to send a report to the UN detailing Indian and Northern Affairs’ failure to build a school. It will be addressed in the upcoming review of Canada’s obligations under the Conventions on the Rights of the Child. “We want what every other kid takes for granted, we want a new school,” said Shannen Koostachin, 14…The group would like to invite the UN to visit Attawapiskat and “walk a mile in our moccasins” to see what students are forced to live with every day — a request Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Minister Chuck Strahl denied when students visited Ottawa.

Of course Chuck would deny the UN the opportunity to visit the community – because it would guarantee international condemnation (which it still might anyhow).  It would show the world that while the Conservatives may mouth apologies for past wrong deeds and speak nice words (which still get sneered at by the likes of Pierre Poilievre), it can’t act on current wrong deeds.

H/T to Cam for highlighting the plight of the kids and community of Attawapiskat and asking if other bloggers would also highlight this to try and raise awareness. I’m happy to do so.

[email protected]:08pm: Robert over at Blast Furnace Canada has also blogged about this.

UPDATE [email protected]:11pm: I see that Troy had also bogged about this earlier. I feel a blogburst coming on.

UPDATE [email protected]:08pm: Impolitical joins in, as does Wandering Coyote in an addenum to a blogpost

UPDATE [email protected]:14pm: Jim over at the Progressive Right chimes in.

UPDATE [email protected]:50pm: Jim Curran doesn’t do a blogpost does a blogpost, which is a CC of my blogpost, and does put up a link and pic on his sidebar. Stageleft does the same thing at their site, and adds his own blogburst

UPDATE [email protected] 7,2008, 5am: More bloggers posting about this story here, here, and here.

UPDATE [email protected]:46am: Canadian Cynic mentions this here.

UPDATE [email protected]:06am: Jimbobby blogs about this situation here.

UPDATE [email protected]:30pm: Pogge and Skinny blog about this.

UPDATE [email protected]:35 pm: Dr Dawg blogs it.

UPDATE [email protected]:53pm: Saskboy blogs it, and to his credit, Darcey at Dust My Broom, a Conservative-supporting blog, does as well, though the commentators at his blog are for the most part, showing their ignorance typical of the right-wing these days.

UPDATE [email protected]:00pm: Paladiea over at her blog comments on this shameful situation.

UPDATE [email protected]:00pm: Northern BC Dipper and A Creative Revolution also chime in.

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Conservatives snub Stratford over funding for proposed university campus

It’s not a secret that the federal Conservative government doesn’t particularly like Ontario right now. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s statement a few months ago that he couldn’t think of any reason for businesses to invest in the province of Ontario is one famous example. You would think however, that in ridings where they hold seats, they might be inclined to help out specific projects in Ontario, if only to give their MP’s a boost, if not the region that might deservedly need it.

Unfortunately, even that doesn’t seem to be the case. A prime example of that would be the small city of Stratford – famously known for the Stratford Festival. It’s tourism industry has been hurt recently by the high Canadian dollar. It’s manufacturing industry – as elsewhere in Ontario – has seen job losses. The farming community around Stratford – a major pork producing area – is also feeling the pinch from lower prices on pigs, increases in operating costs, and the high exchange rate. In short, this is an area that is economically hurting.

So, when an idea came forth a couple of years ago about adding a Stratford campus from the University of Waterloo, which would deal with the study of advance technology, it was viewed as a way to help Stratford’s economy in the short term by the actual building of the facilities, and in the long term by attracting students interested in new media, and companies in the field of advance technology as well. A study by the respected Deloitte & Touché firm estimated that the economic Impact for the Stratford area would result in 415 jobs + $56.4-million of revenue during construction, and once built would have 180 jobs annually + bring in around $26.7-million.

That brings us to the funding of this campus. 10 million $ was committed by the provincial government. Another 10 million $ was committed by Open Text, a private company in Kitchener-Waterloo. The student residence – estimated to cost 20 million $ – would be privately funded. An application was sent to the Federal government for the remaining 10 million $ needed to get the project officially off and running. This was done about 18 months ago, and it was claimed by the federal Conservative government that it was very interested in the project and that it was “performing due diligence” regarding the request for funds.

Unfortunately for Stratford, back in April, the federal government decided not to supply the 10 million dollars missed the deadline for suppling the funding and then recently announced the money was not forthcoming. The excuse that was given by the local Conservative MP in this riding of Perth-Wellington, Gary Schellenberger, was that “Currently, there is no federal program which provides capital funding to universities and colleges because education is, and always has been, an area of provincial jurisdiction.”

My first thought is if this was the case, why would the federal Conservatives sit at the table for 18 months and not say this right at the outset when the proposal for funds was first sent to them?

My second thought is that this supposed lack of program to do this type of funding certainly didnt seem to stop them from sending funding to some Universities out west. Consider this recent editorial in the Stratford Beacon-Herald pointing out this apparent hypocrisy and double standard:

As disappointing as it is, people in Stratford could probably accept that statement, if it were completely true. But it’s not…in January the University of Alberta announced a major renovation of its downtown Edmonton campus at a cost of $86.5 million. Of that total, $15 million came from the federal government. Explain how the red-hot economy of Alberta can get millions of dollars for the bricks and mortar of a university and the battered economy of Stratford and area gets zero. And while it’s not bricks and mortar, in April Ottawa handed over a $5-million cheque to the University of Calgary to help fund research in carbon capture and storage. And if that is not enough to make the constituents of Stratford feel rebuffed and ignored, consider this. Last October, Afghan Education Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar was in Montreal with federal International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda as Ottawa announced $60 million over four years to help schools in Afghanistan manage teaching and learning activities, to hire personnel — and to build facilities.“Your national centre for teacher training and your provincial colleges … will all be supported with significant (funds) that come from Canada,” said Mr. Atmar proudly.

As you can see in that editorial and in this article, the local community is pretty steamed over the Stratford snub delivered to it by the federal Conservatives. The funding proposal for this is a drop in the bucket, and the benefits as shown by the study show enormous benefits for both Stratford and the region. Yet, the Conservatives take 18 months looking at it, only to come up with a lame excuse for not funding this project, while similar projects in Alberta and Afghanistan are funded with nary a thought. The office of MP Schellenberger tried to say that in the case of the one school, the University of Alberta situation was “different”, but it doesn’t appear many in the community are buying that. If you want to see how low Ontario is in the eyes of the federal Conservatives, this particular situation on Stratford is a prime example.

Liberal industry and science critic Scott Brison, who visited the Stratford area a few days ago, says that if elected to power, the Liberals will write the cheque for the Stratford campus. If the good citizens of Stratford and Perth-Wellington would like to send a double message to Stephen Harper and the Conservatives that they don’t appreciate the double standard shown their community by this government, and that they don’t like the direction the Harperites have taken this country, the Liberal candidate running in Perth-Wellington is Sandra Gardiner. 1 less Conservative MP means help in removing them from government, and back to the opposition benches where they belong.

UPDATE: I’ve included some briefing notes on this if you’d like to browse throug the main points. If you’d like the PDF file of the actual Delotte & Touche report, I have a copy of that, and would be happy to pass that along as well.

uofw-stratford-campus

UPDATE [email protected] 3:00pm: As I said last update, I’ve obtained a copy of the aforementioned Deloitte and Touche report on the proposed University of Waterloo Stratford campus. I’ve decided just to post it here, and folks can have a look if they want to read more details on this proposal.

economic-impact-study-final-report

UPDATE [email protected]:43pm: It was mentioned in comments how some of the Stratford business community are outraged at the lack of federal government support for this endeavour and how some hotel owners had resorted to placing their discontent on their hotel signs. Here is one such example of that:

Self explanatory.

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The Cons. trying to shift arguments for not repatriating Omar Khadr.

I find it interesting how much gyrations this Conservative government is going through in trying to justify why it should remain the only Western nation to not repatriate it’s citizens from Guantanamo Bay – or in this case, citizen, as only 1 by the name of Omar Khadr is there.

First, it was that they had to let the “process” take place at Guantanamo because he was facing very serious charges.

Then, the reason became that Khadr was a litmus test in showing the world how serious Canada was on terror. That was a false argument if there ever was one. Everyone knew that “the world” was code […]

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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 […]

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