Monday, June 30, 2008

If Dion’s carbon tax works, we’ll be cutting emissions … and medicare

Of course everyone now agrees that Dion’s carbon tax won’t get the job done because it doesn’t contain a single target for greenhouse gas emission reductions. Not one.

Even Dion has admitted as much saying "I'm confident we will have significant reductions. I'm not telling you specific numbers because you would not trust me."

But over at PEF, Erin Weir is imagining just what would happen if the carbon tax did work … and the news isn't good if you among the meagre 98.7 per cent of Canadians who actually care about health care, child care, education, drug costs, infrastructure, etc.

Weir concludes that because of Dion's absurd pledge to give back every cent in carbon tax revenue in tax cuts, the net effect of reduced demand for diesel, home heating oil and natural gas will be reduced government revenues:

"Unfortunately, the Liberals have instead committed the revenues to across-the-board tax reductions. Only $400 million in contingency funds, 2.6% of Green Shift revenues, would be potentially available for other purposes.

Nevertheless, it is conceivable that some combination of rising fuel prices, a slowing economy and successful environmental policy will reduce future fossil-fuel consumption by more than 2.6%. If carbon-tax revenues consequently fell, would the Liberals rollback their tax cuts or find another revenue source? "

The other option of course would be spending cuts like we saw in the early 1990s.

In a brilliant piece of politicking, Dion has managed to conjour up with a scheme that will have environmentalists praying it works, and social progressives praying it doesn’t. Er, simplicity itself!

Liberal greats like Lester Pearson and Paul Martin Sr. wouldn't recognize this as Liberalism at all.

But maybe this is what economist Marc Jaccard was predicting when he said Dion’s carbon tax is “going to be messy – really messy.”

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Northern premiers reject Dion’s carbon tax gamble: Call for Layton-style investments.

News this week of shrinking ice coverage in the Arctic Circle served once more to show the urgency, particularly in northern parts of Canada of making real reductions in greenhouse gasses.

So it says something that the premiers of the three territories most affected by climate change have come out against Stephane Dion’s $15 billion carbon tax scheme as the wrong answer to a growing problem.

The three leaders savaged the plan for its ineffectiveness and balked at the outrageous price tag for hard pressed northern families.

Yukon premier Dennis Fentie slammed Dion for proposing to increasing prices while having no plan to reduce emissions:

Mr. Fentie said he doesn't believe there's any actual evidence that a carbon tax will result in reducing emissions

“We think there are better ways to deal with this issue than another tax being applied, especially in the North where the cost of goods and services is already predominantly higher than anywhere else in the country.”

Of course, one of the advantages of the cap and trade system Jack Layton is proposing is that it reduces emissions while creating a new revenue stream for green innovation and investment. Northwest Territories premier Floyd Rolland identified that a major benefit over Dion’s tax: “We see instead a more productive or sensible solution to combatting the impact of climate change, such as making strategic investment in alternative energy sources such as hydro electricity, wind power and bio-mass.”

Is it any coincidence then that the only premier left to be in favour of Dion’s plan is the one who happens to be the brother of the Liberal environment critic?

Dion’s carbon tax is unpopular because it puts targets and timelines on increasing prices, instead of decreasing emissions. That’s why the northern premiers are against it, and why Dion now appears lost in the barrens.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dion admits it again: Liberal carbon tax “won’t get it done”

It’s good to see Stephane Dion being consistent for a change.

Those in the mainstream media are having trouble swallowing the contradiction of Dion transitioning from being the most vehement critic of carbon taxes, to being the poster boy for them now.

But at least Dion is being consistent today – consistent in letting people know that his carbon tax, “won’t get the job done.”

Speaking to the editorial board of the Sun papers, Dion candidly admitted: "I'm confident we will have significant reductions. I'm not telling you specific numbers because you would not trust me."

An interesting statement which begs an interesting question: Why would no one trust Dion on GHG reductions?

Is it because he “didn’t get the job done” when he was environment minister?
Is it because this is the fourth environment plan he launched in four years?
Is it because he flip-flopped on supporting Jack Layton’s cap and trade system in favour of a carbon tax?

It might be those things, but it’s really about this: it’s just impossible to give any specific numbers on emissions reductions because you can’t put specific targets or caps on emissions with a carbon tax. It’s like using a banana to open a beer bottle. It's not what it's designed to do.

That’s why the Green Shift doesn’t say how much GHGs are going down, only how much prices are going to go up.

But at least Dion’s being consistent: and that’s why he knows people won’t trust his numbers.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Dion admits carbon tax “won’t get it done”

If you happened to tune into CBC Radio’s The House this weekend, you no doubt heard Stephane Dion acknowledge that his carbon tax “won’t get it done.”

As has been noted here, of all the reasons Dion’s carbon tax disappoints, there’s only one that matters: It doesn’t contain a single target for greenhouse gas emission reductions. Not one.

Dion admits that his carbon tax may get us nowhere closer to meeting our GHG reduction targets:

KATHLEEN PETTY: What isn't in here is a calculation of what kind of reduction this plan will have on greenhouse-gas emissions. [You] don't have any numbers associated with this plan specifically of what kind of impact it's going to have on cutting greenhouse-gas emissions.

STÉPHANE DION: Yes, two things about that: First thing is all the economists that are expert in the environment came with the conclusion that the tax on carbon will decrease emissions -

PETTY: By how much, though?

DION: They don't agree about the how-much, because it's difficult to know, to be fair with them. We know emissions will go down. What we don't know is at which speed emissions will go down.

Unlike Jack Layton’s plan for a cap-and-trade system that puts a firm cap on emissions and is supported by both Obama and McCain, Dion’s plan is just a gamble. An enormous $15 billion gamble based on all the security of Stéphane Dion’s “we don’t know.”

Going with Dion’s plan instead of Layton’s is tantamount to the same leap of faith involved in allowing a passerby to perform “experimental” brain surgery, while an ambulance sits outside waiting to treat your sprained ankle.

As economist Marc Jaccard says: "This is going to be messy – really messy,"

It’s why former Liberal leader Bill Graham is sounding the alarm bells too.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Liberal bumph’s carbon footprint crushes their credibility

Earlier this week Liberals posted the grammatically clumsy “50 Tips for a Green Living,” offering entirely coherent advice to us peasants like “Walk to the store” and “Buy food in bulk to avoid excess packaging.”

So, while you are icing down a popped disk from huffing a 50 pound club pack of Steak-Ums back to the house, you’ll have time to consider what you have done for the environment so that Liberals can continue business as usual.

Turns out that the colour was the only thing green about the bumf Liberals were handing out at their Green Shift announcement yesterday. Elizabeth Thompson has found out that “the green ball caps reveal they were "Made in China" - one of the most recalcitrant countries on the planet when it comes to taking climate change and greenhouse gas emissions seriously.”

A suggestion Liberals might consider for Green Living Tip 51: if you need to deck MPs out in ball caps and plastic thundersticks to distract from the complete absence of any targets for GHG reductions in the fourth version of “Stephane Dion’s Plan to Save the World” consider walking the 12,000 kms to get them.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dion’s carbon tax goes from “didn’t get it done” to “won’t get it done”

There’s plenty of reasons to be disappointed in today’s Liberal carbon tax announcement.

But there’s only one that matters: It doesn’t contain a single target for greenhouse gas emission reductions.

With the exception of a few climate change deniers in the Reform Party / Canadian Alliance, the debate since the Rio Summit in 1990 has been about how much GHGs to reduce and when.

The Liberal carbon tax can’t answer either question.

Liberals can tell you with deadly precision how much the price of natural gas to heat your home will increase (2 cents a GJ) and how much the cost of diesel to run city transit will increase (7 cents a litre) and how much the cost of gas for your Hummer-driving neighbour will increase (zero cents a litre), but they can’t tell you how much GHG emissions will decrease by 2012, 2020 or 2050.

To their credit, the Liberals never said their carbon tax would reduce emissions, just make them more expensive. Fair enough. But the name of the game is "reducing emissions on internationaly agreed upon timelines."

That's why the NDP is saying the Liberals have graduated from "not getting it done" to "won't get it done."

No wonder Liberals want the Auditor General to examine their carbon tax and not the Environment Commissioner -- because they are more focused on tax dollars going up than carbon emissions going down.

Mulcair moves Couillard story ahead

For months the Julie Couillard / Maxime Bernier story has been frozen in amber … until yesterday that is, when the RCMP revealed to NDP deputy leader Thomas Mulcair that they may be investigating the matter.

For Stephane Dion and Gilles Duceppe who have squandered hours upon hours of their time in question period on Couillard, that it took the NDP to unearth this key piece of information in committee must come as the cruelest of blows.

While the NDP has used the few spots they get in question period to probe the government on our hemorrhaging manufacturing sector, the war in Afghanistan, the environment and pocketbook issues, the Liberals and Bloc Quebecois have asked about virtually nothing other than Couillard since May – effectively turning question period into “45 Minutes with Peter Van Loan” – perhaps the lamest new show on cable this spring.

The near effortlessness with which Mulcair got to the information just shows how ineffective the Bloc and Liberals are in opposition – the former because they are past their expiry date and the latter because they have turned the House of Commons into a surrogate for the campaign they are too disorganized to trigger.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

“We do not favour a Carbon Tax”: Dion

Next to their story previewing Dion’s “carbon tax” today, the Toronto Star ran this rather ironic photograph from January:

The irony: The particular version of “The Stéphane Dion Plan to Save the World” he is holding in the photo is now just the neighbour of so many Red Books in the Liberal Party’s trash bin (so much for recycling).
Why? Because it contains the now offensive phrase on page 11 “We do not favour a Carbon Tax where money is transferred from companies to the federal government and is lost in general revenue. Under our [cap and trade] approach companies will have access to every penny of their money to make investments in their own green projects.”

Dion isn’t interested in cap and trade anymore. He has thrown that plan away. He has thrown away his “Carbon Budget”. He has thrown away putting absolute caps on emissions that environmentalists and scientists say are critical for meaningful reductions. And he has thrown away the aggressive targets laid out on page 9 of that document to reach a 20% reduction in GHGs by 2020, a 35% reduction by 2035 and a 60 to 80% reduction by 2050.

Instead of a simple plan that forces big polluters to reduce their emissions, he has opted for a woefully complex carbon tax that genuflects towards the Canadian Council of Chief Exectutives and lets industry off the hook but targets people who want to heat their homes and buy food without taking a second mortgage. A plan with no emissions targets whatsoever.

By throwing away the “Balancing our Carbon Budget” plan he campaigned on and was elected leader on, Dion is throwing away everything he once stood for on climate change.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Liberals have surrendered 43 chances to defeat Harper

TiVo wants you to know that Jack Layton said something rather interesting in the House of Commons today.

He noted that MPs have had 43 opportunities to defeat the Harper government on confidence matters -- 43 votes -- but the Dion Liberals have stopped them every time.

43 times on 43 votes.

And each and every one of those 43 times, Stephane Dion and the Liberals put their partisan interests first instead of taking Harper outside, like middle class families who want real change expected them to. Is that the kind of leadership that people who voted Liberal were looking for?

Only Jack Layton’s NDP have been standing with those on the centre-left who want Harper out now -- not just when it’s convenient for Dion’s backroom strategists.

Liberals lose more friends over their carbon tax

Over on the momentarily free pages of the Globe and Mail, one of the very few solid backers of Dion’s carbon tax in the columnist world is today backing off.

Jeffery Simpson writes that “the political timing, given what's happened to world oil prices, could not be worse” for Dion’s inflationary and regressive flat-tax now.

Dion’s carbon tax needs friends. But he can’t be too critical of Simpson for his defection when only months ago he was making the exact same point when he said: “Given the current price of these fuels, it is difficult to argue that a further price signal will dampen consumption or shift demand.”

But it’s not just on timing where the Liberals have erred. According to details that have already leaked so far, Liberals are preparing to tie their political fortunes to a scheme that will increase the price of diesel and home heating fuel, and won’t be in place for four years – ensuring that we don't meet our 2012 targets.

Dion must be wondering now why he didn't just stand with Jack Layton, Premiers McGuinty and Charest as well as Senators Obama and McCain in calling for a cap and trade system that is working in Europe and could be part of a North American solution to put a long-overdue real cap on emissions.

If he had, he'd at least have more friends.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Stéphane Dion knows about a fifth season the rest of us don't.

The Germans have the word "schadenfreude" for making fun of someone else's misfortune.

One wonders if they also might have a word for making fun of someone else's pathetic and contradictory excuses for not triggering the defeat of a government they spend so much time saying is destroying Canada?

Because if they do, it is the perfect description for this.

So the Dion Liberals really are full of it year-round.

Friday, June 13, 2008

How Layton persuaded Harper to do the right thing

Those who heard the Prime Minister’s apology this week were astonished by his gratuitously non-partisan gesture in crediting Jack Layton with bringing this important day about.

If the statement rang louder than most it’s because the walls of the House of Commons are not accustomed to such magnanimousness, particularly of late. Owing to the Bernier resignation, the reignited internecine warfare in the Liberal ranks, near-motionless public domain polls, and MPs anxious to return to their ridings for the summer, the House has lately descended, particularly on the scandal-obsessed Liberal and Bloc sides, into rank partisanship.

So to have the PM begin his remarks saying “I do want to thank my colleague, the leader of the New Democratic Party. For the past year and a half, he has spoken to me with regularity and great conviction on the need for this apology. His advice, given across party lines and in confidence, has been persuasive and has been greatly appreciated” was surprising and begged for explanation.

The back story is told in today’s Globe.

Mr. Layton got involved after Mr. Harper invited the NDP Leader to his office on the third floor of Parliament's Centre Block. Mr. Layton said in an interview yesterday that he believes a lengthy discussion they had about the Chinese head tax influenced the Prime Minister. He invoked the campaign of his wife, MP Olivia Chow, who fought for an apology for Chinese Canadians, only to see most of them die before an apology finally came in the first year of the Conservative government.

Former residential school students are now dying by the week, if not the day, Mr. Layton said, urging the Prime Minister to apologize as soon as possible.

"Having participated in the Chinese apology, when I spoke to him about the impact of it, I think he could understand the truth of what I was saying because he witnessed it himself," Mr. Layton said.

As has been said here before, leadership is about vision and the ability to inspire, both of which Layton demonstrated in this instance. He instinctively recognized the need for this important guesture to begin healing with Aboriginal people, and more importantly in a town where good ideas grow old, succeeded in persuading the Prime Minister to do it.

Cynics will say that Harper was seeking political advantage in taking Layton’s advice and even for thanking him publicly. Let them bleat. That’s just politics as usual, almost none of which was on display on a historic day.

Layton’s strength as a leader continues to be his impressive ability to reach out to people, pull them out of their trenches and inspire them to do the right thing. It's what he did for years in Toronto; it's what he did with the NDP budget amendment; it's what he did with the "breakthrough bill" on climate change; it's what he did to get his Climate Change Accountability Act passed; and it's what he did for this week's historic apology.

It's more of that kind of leadership that our country needs for a change.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Whatever happened to the character and integrity of the Liberal Party?

An appalling story surfaced last week about pedestrians and motorists who ignored an elderly man who had been hit by a car in Hartford, Connecticut. To see or hear the story provoked instant disbelief because it assaulted directly the part inside all of us that screams “that’s not right. People should have helped!”

The very same qualities of character, integrity and moral decency that we expect of the people we pass on the street are precisely the qualities we look for in people in public life. We expect politicians to make the right decisions on the basis of what they've told us they believe in; not how it can help them politically.

Sadly, very little of that character, integrity and moral decency was on display in the vote on Stephen Harper’s budget last night. Liberal MPs who had been elected to fight Harper’s agenda once more abstained so it would pass. Liberal MPs who said they agreed with the NDP that the immigration changes were wrong and would politicize the immigration process abstained so they would pass.

The reason: Liberals are afraid of what might happen to them in an election. Politics ahead of principle. Standing on the sidelines instead of entering the fray.

Whenever that election comes Canadians will have a choice between Stephen Harper’s Conservatives and Jack Layton’s NDP – now the only other federal party that can be counted on to stand up for the things it believes in.

Again, as a public service, Canada’s number one equine-themed politics blog provides the names of the 79 Liberal MPs who failed didn’t stand up against the Harper agenda they promised to protect their constituents from:

Omar Alghabra (Mississauga—Erindale)
Larry Bagnell (Yukon)
Sue Barnes (London West)
Colleen Beaumier (Brampton West)
Don Bell (North Vancouver)
Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul's)
Raymond Bonin (Nickel Belt)
Ken Boshcoff (Thunder Bay—Rainy River)
Scott Brison (Kings—Hants)
Bonnie Brown (Oakville)
Gerry Byrne (Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte)
John Cannis (Scarborough Centre)
Raymond Chan (Richmond)
Denis Coderre (Bourassa)
Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal)
Roy Cullen (Etobicoke North)
Rodger Cuzner (Cape Breton—Canso)
Jean-Claude D'Amours (Madawaska—Restigouche)
Ujjal Dosanjh (Vancouver South)
Ken Dryden (York Centre)
Wayne Easter (Malpeque)
Mark Eyking (Sydney—Victoria)
Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre)
John Godfrey (Don Valley West)
Ralph Goodale (Wascana)
Martha Hall Findlay (Willowdale)
Mark Holland (Ajax—Pickering)
Charles Hubbard (Miramichi)
Michael Ignatieff (Etobicoke—Lakeshore)
Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Susan Kadis (Thornhill)
Nancy Karetak-Lindell (Nunavut)
Tina Keeper (Churchill)
Dominic LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
Lawrence MacAulay (Cardigan)
Diane Marleau (Sudbury)
Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)
Paul Martin (LaSalle—Émard)
Bill Matthews (Random—Burin—St. George's)
John McCallum (Markham—Unionville)
David McGuinty (Ottawa South)
Joe McGuire (Egmont)
John McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Brian Murphy (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe)
Shawn Murphy (Charlottetown)
Joyce Murray (Vancouver Quadra)
Anita Neville (Winnipeg South Centre)
Massimo Pacetti (Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel)
Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds—Dollard)
Glen Pearson (London North Centre)
Marcel Proulx (Hull—Aylmer)
Bob Rae (Toronto Centre)
Yasmin Ratansi (Don Valley East)
Karen Redman (Kitchener Centre)
Geoff Regan (Halifax West)
Pablo Rodriguez (Honoré-Mercier)
Anthony Rota (Nipissing—Timiskaming)
Todd Russell (Labrador)
Michael Savage (Dartmouth—Cole Harbour)
Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis)
Andy Scott (Fredericton)
Judy Sgro (York West)
Mario Silva (Davenport)
Raymond Simard (Saint Boniface)
Scott Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Lloyd St. Amand (Brant)
Brent St. Denis (Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing)
Paul Steckle (Huron—Bruce)
Belinda Stronach (Newmarket—Aurora)
Paul Szabo (Mississauga South)
Lui Temelkovski (Oak Ridges—Markham)
Robert Thibault (West Nova)
Alan Tonks (York South—Weston)
Garth Turner (Halton)
Roger Valley (Kenora)
Tom Wappel (Scarborough Southwest)
Bryon Wilfert (Richmond Hill)
Borys Wrzesnewskyj (Etobicoke Centre)
Paul Zed (Saint John)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Will tomorrow be the start of the 40th General Election? ...

... No. No it won’t.

Though there are tens of thousands of reasons it should be ... the tens of thousands of prospective immigrants who have played by the rules, but won’t be allowed to call Canada their home because of high-handed immigration changes that will allow Harper to move them to the bottom of the list.

And 50 billion more … the $50 billion surplus in the EI fund that the Conservatives are effectively stealing by starting the EI system over with a meagre $2 billion.

Both of these things will happen when C-50 - the budget bill - passes tonight.

Oh, and you can bet a full tank of gas (or the $100 equivalent) that it will, because Liberals would rather Canadians be punished with Harper’s agenda, than keep their promise to fight Harper.

Ready for the jaw-dropper? The most amazing bit is that Liberal MPs actually think they are doing you a FAVOUR by sitting on their hands. Behold Ralph Goodale telling the Hill Times today that "his party's strategy of 'strategic patience' is so that Canadians have time to see the failings of the current government."

You read that right ... "so that Canadians have time to see the failings of the current government."

Liberals aren’t apologizing for Liberal cowardice and incompetence. You won’t find them wearing out the knees of their Armani slacks pleading for people to understand that they aren’t ready for the election they said they wanted back in December 2006. No, no. The Dion Liberals are forcing the 9.4 million of us who didn't vote Conservative to many more months of this irreversible damage as a public service!

This is the new gold standard of irresponsibility.

Tell ya what Liberals, don't do us any more favours, 'kay?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sunday funnies: Peter MacKay’s expanding figures

With the Bernier affair having now taken its 185 pounds of flesh in the shape of the now ignominious “Member for Beauce,” Canada’s face to the world has changed only slightly.

That’s because the frat boy era in Canadian foreign policy won’t truly be over as long as Peter MacKay is still not wiping down the exer-cycles over at DND headquarters.

MacKay it will be recalled was moved into defence to take the place of former arms lobbyist Gordon O’Connor who had gaffed and stumbled his way through a not-short-enough stint at the head of Canada's Forces.

There’s growing evidence that MacKay hasn’t used his time impatiently waiting for his squash partner to reflect on the lessons available from O’Connor’s failure to launch.

As evidence, Macleans’ Hill pundit Aaron Wherry tables this exchange from Friday between MacKay and reporters asking why NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar is having to challenge the government to disclose costs of the Afghanistan mission:

Question: Why can’t you provide a cost for the war in Afghanistan? The NDP say that they’ve been asking questions and they can’t get a figure, not even on the equipment, the military equipment, how much is being spent.

Hon. Peter MacKay: Well, I don’t know why they’re having such a hard time figuring it out. We’ve made numerous attempts to explain the spending over Afghanistan. Clearly we’ve made commitments consistent with the motion that was passed in the House to have more equipment, to protect our soldiers, to help them to do the job, to protect the Afghan people. We’ve had 27 technical briefings. We’ve asked—we’ve answered dozens of questions in the House. We’ve had 19 or 20 committee appearances. The NDP had an opportunity last evening, if they were objecting to the budget implementation, to file some sort of an objection. They did nothing.

Reporter: So can you give us a figure? How much is it costing us, say per month?

MacKay: Well, I’m not going to get into the specifics because we have added, as you know, additional equipment and there are additional procurements happening now in response to the recommendations of the Manley Committee that were endorsed by the House of Commons.

Moderator: One more question, folks.

Reporter: They’re saying you don’t have a cost, you don’t have a figure.

MacKay: Well, we do. Of course we do.

Reporter: Well what is it?

MacKay: Well, we have all kinds of figures.

Ugh. Not unlike O’Connor, MacKay’s first instinct is to arrogantly charge into the breach long before realizing he's without his helmet or webbing.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lunn to Canadians: if you want environmental progress, elect an NDP government

It takes some arrogance to say you can pick-and-choose the laws you’ll obey (if it were so easy, the streets of this country would be choked with jay-walkers and dog droppings). But it takes considerably more than arrogance to say that on a day a new law passes … and even more when you are a Minister of the crown pledged to uphold the laws of the land.

But humble to the last, Canada’s New Government could care less.
By a vote of 148 to 116, the House made history yesterday adopting Jack Layton’s bill to make Canada the first country in the world to adopt the science-based GHG reduction targets for 2012-2050 that were decided at Bali months ago.

This victory for the environment is a textbook example of how this minority government should have been doing things since the election. Environmental NGOs on the outside and opposition MPs in the chamber got behind Jack’s bill and used their numbers to get it passed despite the government’s objections.

But even with the result, the government is still objecting:
“The NDP can throw out numbers but there has to be reality to them. The reality is they're not in government and never will be, so they can just throw out [any] numbers they want,” Mr. Lunn said yesterday before the vote.

The most effective antidote for arrogance is strong opposition.
Conservatives are right about one thing: the NDP isn’t government. But they are wrong on the rest: the numbers aren’t just “any”, they come from an international consensus of Nobel prize winning scientists, and if the way to get progress is to put the NDP in government, then you can count on Canadians to do that, Gary. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Liberals betray new Canadians; help Harper fast track immigration changes

Liberal tough-talk over Harper’s changes in C-50 to politicize our immigration process is meaningless political theatre, an Ottawa paper has revealed.

The article says:

“Instead of doing everything they can to derail it, the Liberals appear to be helping to send bill C-50 in its entirety through the House of Commons before summer break, which is scheduled for June 20.
Reforms to the immigration act that will prioritize applicants deemed a priority by the minister have faced harsh criticism from opposition MPs, immigration lawyers and groups. But while NDP members have taken to the floor in full force over the last few days to oppose the immigration and EI reforms, only a handful of Liberals have stood to register their concerns on the record. [ … ]

Further adding to the impression the bill is being fast-tracked is the fact that the Liberal-dominated Senate has started to review the subject matter of the bill, even before it was approved. The Senate finance committee began a pre-hearing last Wednesday, and has heard from witnesses who have warned that the amendments to the immigration act will be harmful.
The last time the Senate held a pre-study was in 2001-2002 to review the Anti-terrorism Act, Bill C-36. At that time, the Upper Chamber said the pre-study was done to ensure Canada passed the bill in time to comply with a United Nations-mandated deadline.”

For new Canadians who have readily supported Liberal candidates for years, this is the ultimate betrayal.
Earlier this week, Liberal MPs refused to vote with the NDP against the report stage vote on C-50. Now, they are putting their weight behind getting Harper's agenda through the Liberal-dominated Senate as quickly as possible.
And it's transparent why: Liberal MPs are getting battered by constituents for not opposing the bill. To ease this pain, the people around Dion have absurdly decided to help pass the immigration changes as quickly as possible, thereby getting immigration off the political radar so Liberal MPs can enjoy the BBQ circuit this summer.
The Liberal Party of Canada: Harper's silent partner in changing Canada forever.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Dion won’t stand with Layton: lets Harper get away with immigration changes

It’s no longer possible to defend their irresponsible hypocrisy, but that doesn’t stop Stephane Dion from trying.

After weeks of criticizing it (as well as facing criticism from immigrant groups), Liberal MPs once more backed down from the prospect of defeating the Conservatives over C-50 - the bill to let the Conservatives hand pick immigrants – and let the bill pass.

In his defence, the embattled Liberal leader made the incredibly irresponsible suggestion that the Conservatives’ recent screw ups are justification for keeping the Harper in 24 Sussex far longer than anyone ever expected he would be.

"But Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion noted that the political gift of Bernier's resignation would never have happened if, several weeks ago, he'd brought down the government as some in his party urged him to do."

Dion's line is akin to saying “I keep a loaded revolver in the kids’ play room because I want them to learn that guns are dangerous.”

The fact Dion blithely skims over is that if he had allowed his MPs to vote with the NDP and end the Conservatives government long ago, Harper wouldn’t be able to pass legislation like the bill to politicize immigration -- the bill Liberals say they are opposed to but let pass anyway.

So while the Liberals are in the mood to be honest, is it too much to ask that they go the extra step of admitting the other reason they want Harper to remain prime minister is this, and this, and maybe, just maybe, to punish Canadians for having dared to defeat the Paul Martin government in the first place? Just askin'.

Purely as a public service, the following Liberal MPs who promised to stand up to Harper didn't last night against C-50 at report stage:

Alghabra, Omar
Bagnell, Larry
Bains, Navdeep Singh
Barnes, Sue
Beaumier, Colleen
Bélanger, Mauril
Bell, Don
Bennett, Carolyn
Bevilacqua, Maurizio
Bonin, Raymond
Boshcoff, Ken
Brison, Scott
Brown, Bonnie
Byrne, Gerry
Cannis, John
Chan, Raymond
Coderre, Denis
Cotler, Irwin
Cullen, Roy
Cuzner, Rodger
D'Amours, Jean-Claude
Dhaliwal, Sukh
Dhalla, Ruby
Dosanjh, Ujjal
Dryden, Ken
Easter, Arnold Wayne
Eyking, Mark
Folco, Raymonde
Fry, Hedy
Godfrey, John Ferguson
Guarnieri, Albina
Holland, Mark
Hubbard, Charles
Kadis, Susan
Karetak-Lindell, Nancy
Keeper, Tina
LeBlanc, Dominic
Lee, Derek Vincent
MacAulay, Lawrence A.
Malhi, Gurbax Singh
Maloney, John
Marleau, Diane
Martin, Keith P.
Martin, Paul Edgar Philippe
Matthews, Bill
McGuinty, David J.
McGuire, Joe
McKay, John Norman
McTeague, Dan
Milliken, Peter Andrew Stewart
Minna, Maria
Murphy, Brian
Murphy, Shawn
Murray, Joyce
Neville, Anita
Pacetti, Massimo
Patry, Bernard
Pearson, Glen
Ratansi, Yasmin
Regan, Geoff
Rodriguez, Pablo
Rota, Anthony
Russell, Todd Norman
Savage, Michael John
Scarpaleggia, Francis
Scott, Andy
Sgro, Judy
Silva, Mario
Simard, Raymond
Simms, Scott
St. Amand, Lloyd
St. Denis, Brent
Steckle, Paul Daniel
Stronach, Belinda
Szabo, Paul John Mark
Temelkovski, Lui
Thibault, Robert
Tonks, Alan
Valley, Roger
Volpe, Joe
Wappel, Tom
Wilfert, Bryon
Wrzesnewskyj, Borys
Zed, Paul

Monday, June 2, 2008

Provincial premiers urge movement on Layton’s cap-and-trade plan

The consensus towards a Canada-wide cap-and-trade plan that Jack Layton advocated last week is building.

Federal politics starts to look pretty broken when the leaders of the parties in government and the official opposition are the ones off-side on real solutions being built by Layton and the premiers becasue they are bickering with each other about a carbon tax.