Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dion pulls a “Peter MacKay” on green Liberals

Try to name one substantive policy proposal that was debated by the contestants in the 2006 Liberal leadership race. Give it a try. Think about it.

There sure weren’t many.

Ignatieff’s support of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq doesn’t count. Nor does Bob Rae’s having given money to the New Democratic Party three months before he joined the Liberals. Nor does Joe Volpe’s cash-from-kids scandal.

But one policy matter that was debated – even hotly at times – was Michael Ignatieff’s proposal to introduce a carbon tax. He said “We've also got to have popular, practical, believable policies that may involve some form of carbon tax, for example, to increase the penalties on emissions. The time for action really is now.”

With his words still hanging in the air, Ignatieff was tackled. The idea proved instantly unpopular among Liberals as virtually all contenders lept on the proposal calling it “bad policy” (Dion’s words) and “the clumsiest of the options” (Gerard Kennedy’s). But leading the pack of wolves savaging the carbon tax was none other than Stephane Dion who told the Globe and MailI've always been against it. I will have other ways to get there.”

For Dion, the race came down to a direct appeal to green Liberals convincing them that the carbon tax was divisive, regressive and imprecise and that only he could lead the party in another direction. In the end, Dion won that argument, got the votes and won the race. Now he’s flip-flopped on a carbon tax, and in one fell swoop thrown both his principles and the trust of the people who voted for him under the bus.

Careful observers will note that Dion’s flip-flop on the issue that won him the leadership is eerily similar to Peter MacKay’s betrayal of PC party members in 2003 who were told that the leadership candidate was opposed to any merger or joint candidates with the Canadian Alliance -- only to break that promise months later.

In the same way that MacKay’s flip-flop has to this day left an asterisk next to his credibility, so will Dion face the same suspicious looks from those who believed he was genuine when he said “I've always been against it. I will have other ways to get there.”

Green Liberals should have at least got Dion’s anti-carbon tax promise on a napkin.

14 comments:

Steve V said...

Strange, the similarity between the NDP attack lines and the Conservatives.

Canadians will never accept a politican who shows a capacity to evolve. The funniest part about all this, it's not like Dion is adopting some policy which is pandering to voters, it's gutsy by any definition. Good luck with the "flip flop" line, because it's not like the political upside is readily apparent.

Pragmatism is evil. Boo.

James Curran said...

"Careful observers will note that Dion’s flip-flop on the issue that won him the leadership is eerily similar to Peter MacKay’s betrayal of PC party members in 2003 who were told that the leadership candidate was opposed to any merger or joint candidates with the Canadian Alliance -- only to break that promise months later."

Are you outta your mind? How the f+cl can you compare the two of those scenarios? Not even related in the least. Holy f+cl!!!

This is how desparate the NDP has become. As I warned, with no policy of their own, except to bash Liberals, they will bash every Liberal policy imaginable.

Blogging Horse said...

Steve, pragmatism is one thing, winning votes by suggesting you have a certain set of principles and then doing the opposite as Liberals have done for the past 20 years is just dishonest.

The Dion flip-flop is a bright red sign that says "It's politics as usual in the Liberal Party. Don't expect us to keep promises of any kind."

And once you start playing politics that way, it's a very short line to draw to things like the Sponsorship scandal.

James, the comparison speaks for itself. And it's not the NDP that's being criticised for not putting forward policy -- how about C-377 and C-30? We don't need a carbon tax if Liberals would just get behind these NDP bills and start pushing instead of sitting on their hands and helping Harper get his way on the environment.

Oh, and are all those plus signs anyway to talk on the internet? Honestly. ;)

James Curran said...

Bill 377. is that the GHG reduction by 2050 bill? And that differs you from the cons how? http://winnipegsun.com/News/Canada/2008/04/29/5415401-sun.htmlAnd then there's your bill c-33 which has been panned.

Bill c-30??? What does that have to do with the environment? The LIBERALS had Kelowna for all that you speak of in that Bill.

Steve V said...

"It's politics as usual in the Liberal Party."

I just don't think you can say that here, because this is anything but business as usual. A lot of people are worried about policy, it isn't timid, so how that translate to unprincipled flip flopping really escapes me. People can use that line, but Dion is proposing this without having being elected first, advocating a tax, which has no precedent for success. That's business as usual?

Blogging Horse said...

Er, the OTHER C-30 ...

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/03/10/ndp-motion.html

janfromthebruce said...

We call that talking out of both sides of your mouth or simply - FLIP-FLOP!

Jaytoo said...

James says: "Bill 377. is that the GHG reduction by 2050 bill? And that differs you from the cons how?"

Bill C-377 set every-five-year targets leading up to 2050 -- hence the Climate Change Accountability Act. It's a framework that, at last check, has Liberal and Bloc support. Following through presumes a cap-and-trade carbon market (detailed in C-30).

And there's the gummy core of this debate, right? Do you fix carbon emissions targets and let the price of emissions float (carbon market)? Or do you fix prices and let output float (carbon tax) -- and hope for the best?

Layton and Dion have been part of a growing consensus that the carbon market is the more progressive and effective way to go -- and the one that's strictly accountable to hard targets.

Steve: "Pragmatism is evil. Boo." This did make me laugh :) But what's not so funny is that this pragmatism seems to be about creating political wedges, and not about getting results in the world -- from what I've seen so far, at least.

Malcolm+ said...

James was being . . . er . . . disingenuous (he hates it when I use a shorter word) when he deliberately confused the original Tory C-30 with the NDP's completely rewritten C-30 that the Liberals refused to support.

His disingenuousness, of course, covers a deeper Liberative problem on the environment.

The Liberative Party pretend that they had / have a plan to address greenhouse gas emissions. This is, of course, an untruth. (I'd best be careful. I'm getting close to the "l" word that drives James around the edge.)

From the date the previous Liberative government signed the Kyoto Accord until the day that Canadians mercifully put them out of our misery, here is the complete list of actions they took to address GHGs.

1. David Anderson got a dog.

2. David Anderson named his dog Kyoto.

3. Stephane Dion got a dog. (A different dog, mind you.)

4. Stephane Dion named his dog Kyoto.

The Liberatives were true to form when they prevented the NDP's rewritten C-30 from seeing the light of day. Apparently they were proud of their environmental record, so ably described by leadership bridesmaid Michael Ignatieff - "We didn't get it done."

Clearly young Michael suffers from strange bouts of honesty which disqualify him from leading the Liberative Party. I understand it was a similar weakness for truth telling that got Mike's grandpa fired as education minister by Tsar Nicholas II.

The irony, of course, is that even without the NDP's rewrite, the appallingly inadequate Tory version of C-30 was still an improvement on the two-thirds of four-fifths of bugger all we'd seen from two successive Liberative ministers under two successive Liberative Prime Ministers.

Rona Ambrose, bad as she was, was still a better environment minister than either of her Liberative predecessors.

James Curran said...

Whatever Malcolm. And John Baird is great too. Rona Ambrose was better than Dion? Now who's lying? Not good for a priest.

Still think online polling is accurate too I bet.

James Curran said...

Oh...and if the NDP was sincere about the environment, they wouldn't have made C-30 a confidence motion.

Blogging Horse said...

Oh...and if the NDP was sincere about the environment, they wouldn't have made C-30 a confidence motion.

You can't be serious. If the Liberals were sincere about the environment and getting rid of Harper they would have VOTED FOR it.

If you believe in something you stand up for it. Simple as that. Regular people do this everyday of their lives and so does Jack Layton.

Why doesn't Stephane Dion?

Malcolm+ said...

Do stop lying, James.

I didn't say Rona Ambrose was a good Environment Minister. I specifically said she was a bad one. I merely note that she was better than either David Anderson or Stephane Dion.

My comment is four posts above here for all to see: "Rona Ambrose, bad as she was . . ."

Anyone reading this can see that you prove yourself a liar yet again.

Oh, and yes, I do believe that Angus Reid is a conpetent professional and that his polls using online sampling techniques are credible and accurate within the standards of the industry. Reid should sue your sorry ass for slander.

And finally, if your Liberative Party really opposed the Harper government, they'd vote to bring them down instead of supporting them at every opportunity.

Blogging Horse said...

And finally, if your Liberative Party really opposed the Harper government, they'd vote to bring them down instead of supporting them at every opportunity.

Agreed.

The NDP is standing up to Harper consistantly, and putting forward workable legislation like C-30 and C-377. Meanwhile, the Liberals are flip flopping on issues, sitting out votes to help Harper and begging the centre-left to consider them principled.

Is this really what Dion got into politics for?