Jack Layton: Captain of the team to re-elect Stephen Harper

Thu, 2008-10-09 15:11Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Jack Layton: Captain of the team to re-elect Stephen Harper

If Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper is re-elected next week as Canadian prime minister, he will owe the biggest vote of gratitude to the New Democratic Party and its leader Jack Layton.

There has been comment enough about the lack-luster performance of Harper's most dangerous opponent, Liberal leader Stephane Dion, but the Liberals aren't losing this election because Dion lacks charisma. The Liberals are losing because the NDP has pushed tax-averse voters into Stephen Harper's lap.

The proof of this clumsy and wrong-headed maneuver can be gleaned from the rolling public opinion polls that Simon Fraser University collects and makes available here. You will see that, as of today (Thursday, October 9, 2008), Tory popularity is down slightly from where it was when the party won a minority in 2006, but that Liberal support is down even farther.

In most places in the country, you could imagine that the reason was - again - Stephane Dion's failure to use the English language in a way that voters find appealing. But if you look at the polling results in British Columbia, you'll notice how effective the New Democrats have been with their attack on the federal Liberal carbon tax.

In a cynical effort that values political opportunism over sensible policy, the NDP has been attacking a provincial “Liberal” carbon tax since early this year. (For people who are not from these parts, BC Liberals are NOT the same as federal Liberals. The BC brand is a coalition of Liberals and Conservatives, who stand together to keep the NDP from power on the Left Coast.)

When Stephane Dion's federal Liberals found the courage to propose a carbon tax this summer, the federal NDP (which IS connected to the provincial NDP) extended the craven anti-tax attack, critically undermining support for what is - according to 230 top economists - the most promising piece of climate change policy that has ever been made available to Canadian voters.

So, the NDP has successfully undermined the federal Liberals. Bravo to bare-knuckle politicking!

But did the disaffected voters switch to the NDP? No chance. People who are blindly anti-tax are not ever going to join Jack Layton's lefty army. They drifted instead to the Tories, who have enjoyed a bigger increase in support in British Columbia than in any other part of Canada.

Looking at national results, it seems likely that the New Democrats have done enough damage to provide the increasingly unpopular Tories with a free pass back to the halls of national power. The only hope is that environmentally conscious voters will act strategically in tight ridings and gang their votes for the candidate most likely to defeat the Conservative.

Perversely, in my own riding, that will leave me voting NDP, an act that I am inclined to avenge by campaigning hard against the party when it comes time for the provincial election next May. Given the alternative of a party that is determined to take NO ACTION on climate change, however, I see no alternative but to suck it up in the meantime.

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Comments

The BC carbon tax was already desperately unpopular from the moment it was enacted. The provincial party would have opposed it whether there was a federal campaign or not. The NDP is in fact picking up previous liberal and conservative supporters and it is the NDP and the Conservatives that will be competing on election day.

I won't bother having the argument about carbon tax vs cap and trade. Clearly you have you prefer carbon tax.

Let us talk real politik instead. There is only one premier that supports carbon tax and that is Mr. Campbell. No other Premier does. That includes Northern Premiers from areas that will be first and most effected by climate change. There are 4 provinces representing 80 % of the population that are in the process of implementing cap and trade with counterparts in the US. The next president will likely be Obama but even if it were McCain they both prefer cap and trade.

The carbon tax might have been a much more saleable proposition if Dion and his team had not desperately bungled the sale. You can blame Layton all you want but the problem was and is Dion himself. He sprung it on the caucus. He didn't consult. He was already on shaky ground and the carbon tax proposal only weakened him further. Almost immediately, rural MPs were pushing for changes, pulling away or spinning it incorrectly. Why? Because he announced that it would be a carbon TAX and didn't have any of the details for several weeks. Just like he didn't get it together to define himself before Harper defined him after the leadership race.

So finally they release the plan only to cause great consternation with a small business woman you is a green entrepreneur over the name of the plan. That sucked the oxygen at the roll out.

By this time the Conservative campaign was very much entrenched. Layton didn't really talk much about the carbon tax (at least that I heard) until after the writ drop. He didn't have to I admit because the plan had be so thoroughly trashed by Harper's team.

Months ago when Dion made the initial announcement I posted on various progressive blogs that Dion would bungle this and that if bungled badly enough it might harm any shot at carbon pricing. I think that he hasn't ruined the our ability to get cap and trade but it was close.

Jenn,

I absolutely concede that Dion is no salesman - that he bungled the roll-out of the carbon tax and that he stood around in an apparent daze while the Tories defined him. That was all pretty disappointing for anyone who was hoping the Liberals would get their act together quickly to deny the Tories another damaging term.

But your contention that "the BC carbon tax was already desperately unpopular from the moment it was enacted"  is pointedly incorrect. The early reviews of the tax were surprisingly positive. It wasn't until BC Liberal leader Carole James started her embarrassingly effective "axe the tax" campaign that British Columbians started to get twitchy. Here again, the (BC) Liberals did a terrible job selling the tax (actually, they made no effort whatsoever; I think that even THEY were surprised that the NDP could be so cynical).

Anyway, we don't have to get into an argument over whether a cap-and-trade policy is preferable to a carbon tax, because that's not the choice that's before us. Despite Layton's regional surges in popularity, we still are facing a choice between a carbon tax - the most progressive and aggressive climate change policy in North America - or nothing. Liberals or Tories. Climate change action or unrestrained tar sands development. THAT is your choice.

As to the comments below that the Liberals are just trying to whip up support by calling for a strategic vote that cuts out the NDP, that too is a frail scenario. The strategic vote in many ridings (mine, for instance) FAVOURS the NDP.

People can tout Jack Layton's impressive personal track record as a climate change campaigner - praise that was once well justified. And you can vote for the New Democrats if you like (I'm going to). But when the going gets tight on Tuesday night - when Eastern Canadian residents have to stay up late to see how enthusiastically B.C. will support Harper's re-election, I'm going to be throwing recycled coffee cups at little figurines with Jack Layton and Carol James' faces on them.

And Stephen Harper is going to be nursing that little smirk, blessing his luck that at least one, unpredectable thing went his way during this election.  

How many degrees reduction in the Earth's temperature will the Liberal's tax scheme cause? I just want to know, because since we're being asked to spend billions of dollars, exactly what are we going to get for it?

Silence.

Heh.

to an incremental step in the right direction. heh.

The Liberals usual battle cry comes in the last two weeks of an election. They paint themselves as the saviours of Canada, then promptly forgot the progressive voters that supported them once they have power.

To blame Jack Layton for a Liberal loss in this election is a bit much and bit incredulous if weren't such a common Liberal refrain. The NDP and their supporters do not owe the Liberals a borrowed ride to power every election. If NDP members and supporters wanted a Liberal they would have joined the Liberals.

I have voted strategically in the past and i will again. But I wont take the Liberals telling me i have too or let them blame the duly elected leader of the NDP for not capitulating. Why on earth would the NDP leader do this, especially when that leader is asked to capitulate every election?

As to the carbon tax, lots of green new democrats like me prefer a cap and trade. If the carbon tax isn't going over well thats Dion and the Liberals fault.

Lastly, I agree a Liberal government, especially a minority one, is better by far than a Conservative government. I hope there are enough Liberals and New Democrats and maybe a Green, to do just that.

Mr. Layton should do what Ms. May did.... advise people to vote strategically... but to line up against charging for carbon? Who is one campaigning FOR who campaigns against charging for carbon? 

You're both missing the point of this post. It is not about whether the Liberals are doing a good job. Layton has explicitly campaigned against the carbon tax, painting it as a rich-favouring regressive measure.

He could have just supported both a carbon tax and cap and trade like the Greens, and then ran left of the Liberals as promising more, instead, he is scaring voters about the cost of the carbon tax as if cap and trade will be free to consumers.

I can understand the desire of sincere progressives to support a party that represents a principled progressive position. I don't think the NDP is that party under Layton.

Remember, he brought down the Martin government because he thought he could make the NDP into the power broker of the next parliament, and ended up with Harper and his party completely bereft of influence as the fourth party.

Martin was going to bring in universal child care. Instead we got Harper's taxable $100 per child.

If you're going to support the NDP please do so under the realistic understanding that they are willing to sacrifice progressive policy action in order to try and take the Liberals' place as major party. If he ever succeeds, the benefits may be worth it, but meanwhile, I fear we are consigned to the Conservatives governing indefinitely.

The NDP's traditional complaints about the Liberals ring especially hollow under Dion, who is by all signs, a sincere and principled progressive.

Where is Dion saying vote progressive? If this is all about stopping Harper, shouldn't Libs be telling there folks to vote for NDP candidates in ridings the NDP have the best chance of winning. See, Liberals can't see that when your party calls wolf every election we stop believing you.

As to the last parliament, we would have child care if Martin had introduced it as he could have with the Kelowna Accord, then again, Child Care was promised in the first red book in 1993 and we never did get it. 4 elections and the Liberals promised child care in every one of them. And its all Jack's fault because he decided not to support Martin for any reason. It a little rih

Dion progressive? I don't think so. Wasn't he the enviro minister who won a fossil award? Wasn't he the one who didn't get it done? My issue is hold Layton's entire record up against Dion's on the environment and Dion's pales. Jack and Nathan Cullen were the ones to get all the opposition parties to join together and beef up the Clean Air Act. Bill C377 Jack's climate change private member's bill was passed. Enviro Minister Dion didn't get any climate change legislation passed. On top of that there is Jack's history as a bike and transit activist, his work in Toronto on the green buildings initiative. Those are the ones I know off the top of my head.

Let's also stop the fiction that Layton doesn't support pricing carbon because he does. There is an honest disagreement about which would be faster and which would be better but they both price carbon. There is real concern that the carbon tax will be unequitable and will hurt low and middle income Canadians.

What amazes me is that environment voters are willing to trust a liberal party that failed so miserably on Kyoto. I have been repeatedly disappointed by promises broken by the Liberals that I wouldn't trust them to feed my cat if I were out of town.

This is also the party that completely screwed up the implementation of a simple gun registry. That should not have been difficult and because they screwed it up as badly as they did there was a huge backlash. Then there was the HRDC boondoggle. They are also the party that allowed our immigration system get such a huge backlog that new Canadians can be in the system pending citizenship for 10 years. These examples don't give me much reassure that they could rewrite our tax code and re-org the collection and redistribution system.

Getting back to 'progressive'. During the leadership campaign Dion positioned himself as the peace candidate out of Afghanistan as soon as possible, before 2009 end date even. When things weren't going so well after he won the leadership and the Liberals were scared that they might not win if they went to the electorate suddenly Dion is willing to keep the troops on the ground until 2011. There was almost a caucus revolt and they had to really cajole enough members. That to me is the worst kind of political expediency.

Dion may not be the savior of the environment, but he has the most progressive and moderate proposals in this campaign. We all know the radical neo-con ideology of Bush, err, I mean Harper (got confused there!). From a business standpoint, NDP is also radical. Here's the problem.

Under cap and trade, it is like saying "here's a 1000 liters of gas for the neighborhood - now you decide what you want to pay for it". Sorry, but that does not work. It is *too fast*.

While cap and trade is a good plan, it has to happen well into the future, after carbon taxes have already sifted the economy away from carbon. If you take my second paragraph comment about gas in a neighborhood where 75% of the people already own electric vehicles and there are electric cars/trucks/semi-trailers around, then that's a different world. That's where cap and trade works.

Carbon tax first - let's start pricing in the cost of pollution. Dion even returns the taxes back to Canadians.

Cap-and-trade - this is a natural progression of carbon taxes! Implementing this before carbon taxes, and especially before migration away from carbon is readily available, will be very bad for everyone. This includes the environment in the long term as layman will look at pollution control as negative instead of a positive force.

I support Dion. I'll even vote strategically here for NDP, but Dion gets 100% of my approval.

PS. Harper's proposal of "intensity targets" is also a carbon tax. But selective, favorings one industry over another. It is also a tax grab as it is hidden and money will not be returned to the taxpayer.

Maybe you can explain to us how a truck driver who brings food in the winter from California to your plate will use less fuel with a carbon tax.

Second, a single mother with 2 children in an appartment making $20,000 gets some $2,200 back. Explain to me how she can reduct her carbon footprint by $2,200. Since she cannot, then someone somewhere else has to pay for that through the carbon tax.

Since municipalities will have to pay for the carbon tax with no ability to get any tax refund, they will just pass that cost through increased property taxes.

This is nothing but a redistribution of wealth scheme and in no way is revenue neutral.

If it was truely about reducing CO2 then why is gasoline excluded? If the world is heading to meltdown, then why not put a $5/ltr gasoline tax?

Finally, once people do move away from a carbon tax, that's less revenue for the government, so who will then pay for the tax cuts? Or what programs would have to be slashed to pay for the tax cuts?

Prediction: Dion will get slaughtered tomorrow (46% of Canadians are still undecided), he will be gone soon if not quits, will be thrown out, and we will never hear of a carbon tax again.

When it comes to environmental impact, the Liberal plan has to be one of the worst. The Green party's carbon tax at least has some bite behind it. The Liberal plan won't even increase gas prices at all and guarantees no money for transit. How is that supposed to change behaviour?

The Green plan is better because the carbon tax is large enough to changes behaviour. The NDP plan is better because it invests in public transit and gives people alternatives to driving.

If the Liberals lose this election, it won't be because of the NDP. It will be because of the Liberals. They need to quit finding scapegoats. When they lost power before they blamed it on the NDP, completely ignoring the fact that voters lost confidence in them after the Ad Scandal in Quebec.

Sorry, but Liberal's plan is best you can hope for. I suspect that Green Party will have much more influence on Liberal's plan.

Dion indicated that he will NOT tax gas because the carbon tax will replace the current excise tax. This means no new taxes. But then, can you blame him when people were paying $1.50/l and he would promise to increase that price??

Dion's plan may have a cost for the gas anyway. If oil fields and refineries pollute, that will be taxed. That will then be passed to consumer in higher gas prices. *BUT*, if refineries do CO2 sequestration, as do oil fields, they become more competitive and make more profit (less carbon taxes)

Basically, here's the plan. 2 businesses make widget A. Business X pollutes some and pays carbon taxes. Passes the cost to consumer making their widget A cost something + carbon tax. Now, Business Y makes similar widget but has efficient, environmentally friendly production line. Now, the cost for their widget A is just production cost. There is no carbon tax! So, Joe Blow taxpayer goes shopping and the care not one iota for the environment or other green crap. They just care about their $$$. They want to buy Widget A and see that one went up in price. He buys the cheaper one!

Now, Business X can't complete with Y because of their pollution. They have to either become green or perish. Consumer didn't care about whether X or Y was green - they just voted with their money.

That's how this changes behaviour. You will not have to pay extra to buy green - you will pay LESS to buy green, and more to pollute. And people that live green now, will just laugh all the way to the bank on the backs of people with 3 Hammers and 4500 sq. ft. MacMansions with 4 gas furnaces (I know one such person on my street!!).

http://www.voteforenvironment.ca/

PS. I voted green last election (basically spoiled my vote, but green wasn't bad choice atm), but now I'm voting strategically for NDP while supporting Liberal green-shift plan 100%! Sometimes I envy the US system with only 1 party on the left!

Liberal, Tory, same old story. Both parties have drunk the AGW Koolaid. The Dippers and Greens are prepared to do a Samson and pull Canada down around their ears to make a point. Fortunately, there's no possibility that either Layton or May will ever be seated on the Speaker's right but, there's no avoiding having one of the other bastards sitting there.

Maybe Desomg can tell us who will lose on the carbon tax. Dion likes to show us who the winners are, but he never tells us who will lose so it can stay revenue neutral.

Second comment, I guess Desmog would like to ban political parties to get what it wants. The NDP is a reality. Live with it.

The losers are those who produe more pollution relative to wealth than others do.

The people for whom it would be most expensive to cut emissions will pay the most in tax. That is the whole point of the tax, since the aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the most economically efficient way possible.

Yeah, that's synonamous with the Liberal Party. LOL!

And if the "losers" are those who produce more pollution relative to wealth, then it's obvious by "losers" you mean the working class. A heavy equipment operator or welder will take it in the pants, but rich people who produce nothing, like James Hoggan and his boss David Suzuki, will get tax cuts.

Great. I can see why they are so passionate about promoting this scam.

Give us some specific examples of those who will lose. Dion can give us specific examples of who will win, but not who will lose.

BTW, try entering the following into www.thegreenshift.ca

A single mom living in an appartment with 2 kids earing just $20,000. She will pay no income tax, but gets $2,297. (If she had 15 kids she gets $6,948) Yet she pays nothing towards a carbon tax as rent contains her utilities. Why should she get any carbon offset?

Two professionals, each earning $80,000 with two kids in northern rural canada. How much is their tax cut? ($2,485) Then up them to 4 kids and see the difference.($3,136) Why do people get more just because more live in the house? (one way to test a function such as this is to enter extreme values. If these people had 15 children their reduction would be $6,714). Their heating bills will be the same regardless of how many people. It adds little to the over all co2 footprint.

A truck driver who earns $50K with a stay at home wife and 2 kids gets only $827. Why is this so low? His carbon footprint will be much higher than the 2 professionals above as he drives a transport truck for a living. Yet he would be a net loser.

Then a pensioner single living at home with the following income RRSP 12,000, CCP 6000, Old Age 6000 That person gets $199.

So besides corporations that will get hit and just pass that cost on, the big personal losers are the lower middle class who's jobs require a high carbon footprint and pensioners who have no ability to lower their carbon footprint.

Also, municipalities who get nailed for the carbon tax do not have income tax to reduce. They will past the costs of the carbon tax on to everyone with property tax hikes.

If this is wrong, the show us SPECIFICALLY where it is wrong and who the losers will be, with examples.

Finally, where is the Federal government going to get the tax cuts from when the revenue from the carbon tax drops as people start to avoid the tax?

Your silence tells a lot.

I am also likely to end up voting for the NDP - because of concern about climate change - despite their poor climate policies and shameful rejection of carbon taxes.

Politics certainly makes for strange bedfellows.

We may vote to make a statement or vote to actually accomplish a goal. I think it better to drum out the Conservatives than to put a thumb in Liberals' eyes by re-installing the Conservatives. You must really dislike the Liberals a lot if you prefer the Harper Conservatives. And if you are solely preferring NDP, wouldn't you rather the NDP were in a coalition with the Liberals than the Harper Conservatives? Yes, vote, but you may also think.

Directly from a Liberal. Carbon tax won't reduce Co2 emissions. How did May say it Fraud?

"Grit talks turkey

Liberal admits carbon tax won't reduce emissions

By TOM BRODBECK

Liberal Bob Friesen is campaigning against Conservative incumbent Steven Fletcher. (Brian Donogh, Sun Media File)

Liberal candidate Bob Friesen made a startling admission this week during Manitoba's only televised federal election campaign debate.

I was on the media panel for the debate and was surprised to hear Friesen admit his own party's carbon tax plan might not result in households reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

The former turkey farmer, who is running in Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia against Tory incumbent Steven Fletcher, was trying to explain how his party's carbon tax would help reduce emissions in Canada.

The whole purpose of the plan is to reduce emissions by "putting a price on carbon."

Friesen used all the scripted buzz words like how we have to put a tax on pollution in order to reduce our output and how -- inexplicably -- all Canadians would be better off financially.

Unfortunately for Friesen, when you drill down on the issue and examine how it would actually affect an average family, the plan falls apart.

It falls apart because the taxes imposed on a family would likely have little to no effect on the amount of greenhouse gases they emit. It wouldn't change their behaviour.

It's something even Friesen, after I pressed him on the issue, admitted to.

"It might not change behaviour," Friesen acknowledged during the debate.

Well, if it's not going to change behaviour, then it's just a straight tax grab.

According to the Liberal's Green Shift plan, an average Canadian family who heats their home with natural gas would pay up to $266 a year in carbon taxes on their gas bill.

HAVE TO HEAT HOMES

I asked Friesen how that would encourage families in Winnipeg -- who already lower their thermostats at night and already have well-insulated homes -- to use less natural gas.

They have to heat their homes.

And if they have to a pay a $22-a-month carbon tax, they're still going to heat their homes. There's not much they can do to change behaviour.

Friesen agreed. Which means the plan doesn't work.

Even if you accept the Liberal's argument they would cut income taxes by an equal amount, the plan still doesn't work because it doesn't reduce emissions.

If you raise a consumption tax by $266 and cut income taxes by $266, all you've done is taken money from one pocket and put it into another.

And you haven't reduced emissions.

Besides, the Liberal's numbers don't even add up.

They claim an average family would pay about $250 a year from the carbon tax. But on natural gas alone, the party estimates the average household would pay between $228 and $266. Well, that brings the household to an average of $247 before including all the other carbon taxes.

For example, the carbon tax would be applied to diesel. So everything that gets shipped by truck -- which is almost everything -- will go up in price. If you drive a diesel vehicle, your price is going up. If you live in the north where transportation costs are already high, a carbon tax would see prices soar further.

And your bus pass would go up, too.

Under the Liberal plan you would pay a 95-cent carbon tax on a 20-pound tank of propane. Again, it's not going to make you have fewer BBQs. It's simply a straight tax.

Electricity costs would also go up under the carbon tax. The carbon tax would be applied to coal, which generates a lot of Canada's electricity.

But it would also apply in provinces like Manitoba, which still relies on natural gas and coal as backups to hydro power.

The upshot is a carbon tax would cost an average Canadian household much more than $250 a year.

And it wouldn't result in fewer emissions.

Even Bob Friesen understands that.

You can watch him on Shaw Cable Channel 9 Sunday at 6 p.m. during a rebroadcast."

Enjoy Rich.

Here's the challenge I'd like to hear the NDP answer:

"Name one country that is succeeding at reducing its emissions that is not using carbon taxes"

Some countries call them "emissions levies," some call them "eco-taxes" but come on Jack and Carol and apologists, do you have an answer?

Denmark reduced their CO2 emissions, only because they lost 25% of their manufacturing base who moved to countries without the taxes.

killing the economy is a pretty effective way of reducing CO2

Watch the video;
Sign the petition.

http://nocarbontaxes.com/

CO2 is not a problem:

New Detailed Analysis of Global Temperature Data Does Not Support Significant Role for Carbon Dioxide
http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2008/10/new-detailed-analysis-of-global-temperature-data-does-not-support-significant-role-for-carbon-dioxide/
IMPLICATIONS OF PDO, NAO, GLACIAL FLUCTUATIONS, AND SUN SPOT CYCLES FOR GLOBAL CLIMATE IN THE COMING DECADES
http://icecap.us/images/uploads/GSA.pdf

Mr. Littlemore, you said, "Perversely, in my own riding, that will leave me voting NDP, an act that I am inclined to avenge by campaigning hard against the party when it comes time for the provincial election next May."

I hope you aren't going to be campaigning for the Campbell Liberals. Given their promotion of Gateway, the decimation of wild salmon, subsidization of oil & gas, embracing of development at the expense of farmland, and their selling off of our energy assets, that would be a catastrophe.

I would have thought the BC Liberals poor performance on the issues you mention would have opened up room for the NDP to set out a better policy. But instead of criticizing that which was bad in the Liberal policy binder, they the NDP has staked its future to a full-frontal attack on the Liberals most positive environmental gesture, and in doing so, the party has effectively undermined support for that good policy provincially and federally, leaving government in the hands of people who will fiddle with ineffective and bureaucratically cumbersome regulation rather than implementing an effective, transparent, across-the-board carbon tax.

I just find that incredibly disappointing, and it leaves me thinking that - for his courage - Gordon Campbell deserve support and - for her craven opportunism - Carole James deserves an opportunity to find more suitable employment.  

I'd have to say the carbon tax is a non issue in BC. The only thing I noticed about it was the money being returned.

In fact if it wasn't for the money back, I would guess the majority of BC residents would be entirely unaware of it.

What? I noticed as soon as they put in the new "carbon tax", the climate stopped changing. Now it's a comfortable 20 deg. C year-round in BC.

And here I thought it was just another tax grab.

Dion: Canada in deficit. Reality: Surplus as of July $3B

Dion: Countries with carbon tax outperforming countries without. Reality: EU countries with high carbon taxes are all in recession with high unemployment (Germany 12%) and all EU countries are crying to get out of the emission reduction noose.

Dion: Jobs net lost in Canada. Reality: 100,000 new jobs Sept alone in spite of the economic crisis elsewhere.

Dion: Lashes Harper for saying stocks cheap, good time to buy. Reality: BNN experts say this is a good time to buy as stocks oversold due to fear alone.

Dion: Canada needs to protect people's wealth. Reality: Canada's banks best, safest in the world.

Dion: Canada on verge of recession. Reality: IMF says canada will lead the world in recovery and likely not go into recession.

Dion: Harper squandered the $12B surplus. Reality: Any government surplus is over taxation. Harper reduced taxes and used the extra to pay down the debt ($9.8B in April) for a total of some $30B reduction freeing up some $3B in interest payments.

Dion: Accuses Harper of not acting on the economic crisis. Reality: We are in the best shape of all industrialized countries because of the actions Harper took 18 months ago.

Dion: Accuses Harper of acting now only because it's an election. Reality: Dion does not live in Harper's mind, hence has no way of knowing what Harper was thinking in deciding to act now. Fact is, the Liberals would have done the exact same thing.

Dion: Claims we need to protect our savings, and our pensions. Reality: Canadians savings are already insured for up to $100K in each account. RRSPs are at the mercy of the stock markets, there is NOTHING Dion can do to protect peoples RRSPs.

It's Dion who is lying.

Liars? I don't know, but certainly believers. Give me Mr. Dion's beliefs above Mr. Harper's hands down any day. Are we so incensed at Dion Liberals that we would prefer Harper Conservatives? I hope you will vote strategically. Rather than showing who you like, show who's in charge.

What more needs to be said.
He is clearly out of touch with reality.

Do you really want a prime minister that believes in socialist fairy tales?

I don't.
I want economic stability and LESS gonernment.
Harper has my vote.

Greetings, all:

When you come right down to it, if we don't pay the real cost for the energy -- and other resources -- we consume, we are dooming our children and grandchildren to seeing the extinction of our species. Most likely the cockroaches will survive.

I think what Jack Layton is after, as we all should be, is to distribute the cost out according to who the real wastrels are. That is the only way it will work. The mid-to-low income citizens just don't have enough money to save the planet. Though we definitely can play a real part.

Yes, the Fraser Institute will tell you we are all paying corporate tax in addition to personal income, sales and property taxes, and don't start working for ourselves until some time in late June or early July. Because the corporations pass their taxes down to consumers in the form of prices.

Corporations would not be able to do that to quite the same extent if those of us with disposable income stopped consuming our silly heads off. They'd have to bring prices down. And maybe bring executive salaries down, too. That is straight Adam Smith economics.

Decades ago, New York City experienced a serious water shortage and went on a big campaign to encourage citizens to flush less often, and to put a brick in their toilet tank to reduce the amount of water flushed.

But 90 per cent of the water consumed in New York City was consumed by industrial and commercial users, not residential users.

So the maximum the citizens could have done was reduce water consumption by about 1 per cent. If they all participated.

So who was behind the campaign to get residential consumers to reduce their water use? Follow the money.

Similarly with carbon tax, we are being told it will be revenue neutral. We'll be encouraged, up-front, to reduce our carbon emissions by big price increases for the gasoline for our cars, our natural gas or oil home heating fuel, our electrical bills if any of our electrical power is generated by fossil fuels, even our transit fares. We'll get it back in the form of income-tax rebates.

Rich and poor, and corporations, will pay the same per-litre or per-cubic-foot carbon tax. But who will get the big tax rebates? Not, I suspect, low-income families who shouldn't be paying income tax at all, but probably are.

So how is a carbon tax really a disincentive to the big users of energy? We wage-earners, even the well-paid like me, live from paycheque to paycheque.

But the really big energy consumers can pretty much take their rebate to the bank even before they actually receive it.

I think Stephane Dion is sincere and serious in his desire to prevent further global warming, with its dire consequences for generations in the rather near future.

But I fear his plan really will not cut consumption of greenhouse-gas emissions. I think he has been misinformed on this.

The Green Party? Sorry, they are pretty shallow. They have not figured out that merely by running in the election they have reduced the chance that any party will be able to influence the sitting government to put in strong environmental measures. If they were serious about the environment they'd have worked within the NDP.

In 1988, David Suzuki told Canadians there was no party they could vote for to improve the environment. I was a candidate for the NDP at the time and by 1988 I had been reducing, reusing and recyling at every opportunity for 20 years or more. Lugging newspapers and containers to municipal recycling depots. Washing out plastic bags and reusing them. Laundering clothes in soap and soda or borax. In fact, that year I became a vegetarian because of the terrible environmental impact of our meat-eating habits. (So I had to go to vegetarian laundry soap, even!)

I was outraged by Suzuki's comment.

He might as well have said "I am an environmentalist, so I don't have time to be well informed about how politics works in this country."

How would he have reacted if I had said "I am a politician, so I have to focus on policy. I just don't personally have time to reduce, reuse, recycle, or compost?"

He might as well have said, "Don't bother to vote."

Many people fail to appreciate how lucky we are to be able to go to the polls without violence. Imperfect as our system is, there are people all over the world who are being killed for trying to introduce something close to as good as our system is.

So I am going with Jack.

And as far as strategic voting goes, I do believe we all should vote according to conscience. Vote for the party and/or the candidate we think SHOULD win, even if we think they don't have a chance. Trying to second-guess our fellow voters is a mug's game.

Even the winners take note of how close they came; how many votes the other parties received. ("Landslide Ernie" Eves won by a handful of votes in his first election but went on to become Finance Minister and then Premier of Ontario. Evidently he learned from the experience of his first, very narrow, victory.)

There's no such thing as wasting your vote, except by not voting.

Sue Craig

"I think what Jack Layton is after, as we all should be, is to distribute the cost out according to who the real wastrels are. That is the only way it will work. The mid-to-low income citizens just don't have enough money to save the planet. Though we definitely can play a real part. "

First there is nothing to save the planet from. Well, let me qualify that. There is something that the planet needs saving from and that's 6.5Billion humans. We will not solve any of our problems as long as the population continues to grow.

Second, we are already seeing the consequences of the socialist mantra "redistribute the wealth" as we lose jobs here so poor people in Mexico, India, Indonsia and of course China can increase their standard of living to match ours. Redistributing the wealth only makes everyone poor.

"Corporations would not be able to do that to quite the same extent if those of us with disposable income stopped consuming our silly heads off. They'd have to bring prices down. And maybe bring executive salaries down, too. That is straight Adam Smith economics."

No, they would lay off thousands of workers. The drop in car sales of the Big Three proves that. Then the socialists get all upset when people stop buying such items as their union jobs disappear.

"Many people fail to appreciate how lucky we are to be able to go to the polls without violence. Imperfect as our system is, there are people all over the world who are being killed for trying to introduce something close to as good as our system is."

Now that is something I fully agree with. Glad your voting for Jack (even though his policies would give is a Rea Ontario Writ Large, because that's a vote that won't go to the Liberals. The Liberals need a good thashing to set them straight.

Thank you Richard Littlemore, EXCELLENT PIECE! This article truly hit the nail on the head with a big sharp bang. Like Andrew Weaver and the other climate scientists who were calling for strategic voting said recently "this is no time to be timid"! And you are definitely calling it the way it is, where Layton is concerned. I will tell everyone I know to post this far and wide. Hopefully, it will give NDP voters who care about the environment some pause before they basically buy John Baird's plane ticket to the talks on the new climate treaty, which will pick up steam at the next climate summit in Poznan, Poland in December. Do these NDP voters REALLY want to be responsible for seeing John Baird make Canada a laughingstock again? Do they REALLY want to send Harper's pit bull, Baird, to obstruct progress on what will likely be the most critical climate treaty ever? For shame, Jack Layton lovers. For shame!

The light of reason begins to peak through:

http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/open-letter-qld.pdf

From Viv Forbes, Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition.
9 October 2008
Excerpt:

They are all motivated by concern at the biggest politically generated threat to every
Queensland industry, to the outlook for jobs for our kids, to the cost of living, and to the
continued flow of revenue to the State. That threat is an Emissions Trading System, its
carbon taxes and all the asset destruction that will flow from it.

This is just too delicous not to read.

Same old Liberals.
Greens learn corruption from the best.

http://climbingoutofthedark.blogspot.com/2008/10/cpac-gets-goods-on-greens.html

that you guys have found release in our space. Those that would silence you would do all a dis-service. Let the reader see beyond doubt what sort supports status quo. Brow beaters and know it alls do your worst, I think the reader gets the drift.

I'll be glad when this election is over so we can get back to talking about whats going on with the climate - minus all the politics. (to the extent that that may be possible)

Don't forget to include that your silence on my questions also tells readers a lot.

"Don't forget to include that your silence on my questions also tells readers a lot."

About the quality of your questions?

What's the problem with the quality of my questions. Show me one question I have asked that was not proper. You can't. If the questions were so easy for you to answer then instead of trying to sidestep like this answer them.

BTW, how the Brit economy with your high carbon taxes? In the toilet I see.

and it aint easy when I get blocked out by the service unavailable screen so much. I shall valiantly press on or not.

now that comment I just made should be deleted - was meant to go somewhere else

Yeah, for a "high quality" webblog getting this is very unprofessional. I've NEVER seen this on any other sites.

I seem to get it if I post too many in a short time frame or post one that is long.

Still, they really need to fix this. Amaturish.

We will hear nothing of the carbon tax again.

Harper has a majority as no two parties have enough votes to stop him. The NDP and Liberals do not have enough seats to stop Harper. The Bloc will never join those two to oppose Harper.

Dion did not quit last night. Another mistake. He should have done the right thing and quit last night. Now the knives will have to come out and push him out. The Liberals are a spent party, bankrupt and now irrelevant. Hopefully they will go the way of the British Liberals -- extinct. Would be poetic justice for a party who claims to be the "natural governing party".

Well I guess the blog O smog will have to go back to toiling away as the Suzuki Foundation's PR firm.

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