Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Carbon tax meltdown: Dion increasingly isolated; consensus building around Layton's cap-and-trade plan

No one makes things more difficult on Stéphane Dion than Stéphane Dion.

Imagine this: a politician deciding to champion a proposal that will increase taxes, won’t cap pollution, will disproportionately impact the poor, is favoured by big polluters, has been a demonstrable failure in other countries, and upon which he has launched a scathing critique not 24 months ago. It would be a tall order for a popular politician – and an impossibility for someone lagging at 10 percent approval.

Clearly in a charitable mood in view of the unfolding train wreck, pollster Nik Nanos has some free advice for Stephane Dion – get help!

“For him to have a chance to succeed, he needs the third party validators to come forward and say that it is reasonable, that it is achievable, and that it is desirable. If he's just left out there by himself, it's going to be a very difficult sell”

So, in that same spirit of charity, Canada’s number one equine themed politics blog is offering to identify people who say a carbon tax is reasonable, achievable, and desirable. Let’s see:

How about presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton? No luck there. She agrees with Jack Layton on a cap-and-trade system.

What about Barack Obama? Not a chance. He slams carbon taxes and agrees with Jack Layton on a cap-and-trade system.

John McCain must agree with Dion. Nope. Even he agrees with Jack Layton on a cap-and-trade system.

What about US-based envitronmental groups like Environmental Defence? No luck there. They see cap and trade as the way forward, just like Jack Layton.

What about other Liberals like Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty? Forget about it. Even the brother of Dion’s environment critic has broken with Dion on carbon tax and agrees with Jack Layton on a cap-and-trade system.

North America is moving towards a consensus on the need for a cap-and-trade market on carbon. Why aren’t Dion’s Liberals?

More crass political gamesmanship, it would appear. Liberals have decided that the NDP already “owns” cap-and-trade and didn’t want to share it with them. Spoiling for a fight that might help their leader's lagging approval numbers, they have put all their eggs in the carbon tax basket because they know Harper is vehemently opposed to it. Too bad for them, there aren’t many people who think carbon tax is the answer.

Sorry Stéphane Dion. When it comes to a carbon tax, you are pretty much on your own.

11 comments:

Mark Francis said...

I mean, really.

The Liberal policy isn't even out yet. It may very well also include a cap and trade system.

Cap and trade has a place, but it won't alter consumerist behaviour unless it manages to raise prices on carbon.

And we badly need to change consumer behaviour.

Blogging Horse said...

It's the other way around, Mark.

Just ask Fred Krupp, president of the US-based Environmental Defense Fund:

"There's no example of an air pollution problem anywhere in the world that has been solved without a cap or legal limit on how much of that pollution can be dumped into the sky. A cap gives you that legal limit, where a tax allows people to potentially keep on paying a modest amount and keep on polluting."

(http://www.forbes.com/business/2008/03/11/krupp-climate-carbon-environment-biz-beltway-cx_bw_0311earth.html)

Dion's carbon tax is just more political posturing that won't change anything and won't clean the environment.

Jack Layton understands that. Dalton McGuinty understands that. Why doesn't Stephane Dion?

j said...

Said with all the zeal of a religious lunatic. Cap-and-trade and tax schemes are almost identical except for how they're enforced. Yikes.

http://www.irpp.org/po/archive/mar08/courchene.pdf

Steve V said...

Ignatieff said today there would be a cap and trade component to the Liberal plan, and he said McGuinty and the federal Liberals were "this far apart", put his fingers about 2 milimeters apart.

Reduced to using John McCain to support the NDP, and then turning around and saying the right wing columnists in Canada support Dion. Interesting contrast, if illogically consistent. I would also add, both Obama and Clinton have been thoroughly disappointing on the subject, they only mention climate change as an afterthought, so I'm not about to champion them as stewards of the environment. As a matter of fact, the lack of urgency, speaks to lip service.

Dion is anything but isolated on the idea, and you know it. I could just as easily put up a host of links in support, so it's a intellectually dishonest argument.

ch said...

Anyway, Dion isn't holding a grudge.

NDP unveils carbon price plan, slams Liberal tax

For his part, Dion said cap and trade "makes a lot of sense.'' He said the Liberal plan will include both a carbon charge for big emitters and a carbon tax.

The NDP cap and trade got the thumbs up from Dion, but he thinks a carbon tax can be implemented sooner and we need both.

Blogging Horse said...

Dion is anything but isolated on the idea, and you know it. I could just as easily put up a host of links in support, so it's a intellectually dishonest argument.

What is intellectually dishonest is Dion saying 24 months ago that carbon tax was "bad policy" and that cap and trade was right, and then changing his mind entirely because Liberals perceive a political advantage.

There isn't a need for a punative carbon tax if you do cap and trade right. Read Dion's platform - he said it. Read the renewal report from the 2006 Liberal convention, they said it too.

If you want to critique politicians for being "thoroughly disappointing on the subject" you needn't look far from the Liberals.

Steve V said...

"What is intellectually dishonest is Dion saying 24 months ago that carbon tax was "bad policy" and that cap and trade was right, and then changing his mind entirely because Liberals perceive a political advantage."

First, you assume no cap and trade component, which is wrong, two, you don't allow for evolution of thought. Advocating a carbon tax isn't exactly pandering, or changing your view to curry favor, so I'm not how you get much mileage out of accusing Dion of flip flopping.

Malcolm+ said...

The Liberatives have never seen a problem they did not believe could be solved by attacking the economic well being of working Canadians and Western Canadians.

But then, as Jean Chretien made clear, the Liberatives don't really believe that we're Canadians out west.

Steve V said...

"But then, as Jean Chretien made clear, the Liberatives don't really believe that we're Canadians out west."

Get over the martyr complex padre.

Jimmie said...

KATHLEEN PETTY (HOST): Okay, the Number Two in the Liberal leadership race, Michael Ignatieff, was considered gaffe-prone, a loose cannon by some, so let's do this again as an elimination round. Can you name something controversial... (clapper) (sleigh bells) (bell)... about him? Diane?
DIANE ABLONCZY: Okay, first he said he wasn't losing sleep about deaths in the Lebanese village, and then...he said about the war crime by Israel.
KATHLEEN PETTY (HOST):
Okay, that's two, actually. (Bell)
MARK HOLLAND (LIBERAL MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, AJAX-PICKERING): Carbon tax.
KATHLEEN PETTY (HOST):
Okay, it wasn't on the list, but I... what do you think? The judges? (Bell) Okay.
(CBC Radio - The House, December 30, 2006)

Malcolm+ said...

What martyr complex? Jean Chretien was very explicit when he said we weren't really Canadians.

And your party has implemented scorched earth policies out here before. I point to both the National Energy Program in the 1980s and to the attempt to drive Saskatchewan into bankrupcy and default in the 1940s.

This new "RedGreen" plan is simply an attack on western Canada disguised as action on the enviroment.

Perhaps if Liberatives actually gave a damn about the environment, they'd have done something in the 13 long, lean years they were in power. I mean something real. Naming a pair of dogs "Kyoto" doesn't count as meanigful action.