Inaction on Global Warming Sees Canadian Tory Government Bleeding In Polls

A new Angus Reid poll out today shows that the Stephen Harper Tory government continues to slump in popularity, and much of the blame lands squarely on their continued bumbling over the issue of global warming.

The Tory government is limping along with a paltry 33 per cent of Canadians supporting their party compared with 36.3 per cent on election day and the party's high of 39 per cent in March of this year.

The environment remains the highest-ranked issue for voters.

Thirty-one per cent of those surveyed said their opinion of Harper has worsened.

According to Angus Reid, “the environment remains the most important issue in this country … and this is an issue the Harperites haven't understood. Moving (Environment Minister) John Baird into that position I don't think has helped them.”

This government clearly doesn't get it.

The Canadian public is seeing through their half-measures and token environmental policies and the only way Harper can turn this ship around is to drop the PR spin and start showing real concern and real action.

Harper could also start worrying less about his backers in the Alberta oil-patch and start listening to the rest of Canada.


Intriguing. The poll says the environment is a primary concern, but doesn’t indicate any specifics nor provide us the question that was asked. No matter. We can spin that bad boy however we want.

As a disinterested observer, I might casually comment that the Harper government’s decision to end favourable tax treatment for Canada’s royalty trusts has butchered the portfolios of many Canadian pensioners. (Over 2 million investors lost close to $35 billion in one year.) It was a broken campaign promise, and there have been more than a few who’ve called for a vote of no confidence.

Those “backers in the Alberta oil-patch” have been some of the hardest hit, with many energy trusts seeing their equity values drop more than 30% since Harper and the useful idiot Jim Flaherty took office.

Don’t take my word for it, read what Harper’s Tory friends have to say:

Harper, Carney, Flaherty income trust mistake
December 09, 2007, by Diane Francis

“He who joyfully marches in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice.” – Albert Einstein

When Canadians are what there greatest concern is concerning the environment global warming is by far the most frequent response.

For example:
See this pdf:

Right on! There’s a report with a little more meat to it ;)

“When Canadians are asked to
spontaneously name their top
environmental concern, the most frequent
mention is global warming (29%), up nine
points nationally from July 2006. When
asked to rate the seriousness of climate
change, 66 percent of Canadians view
climate change as a “very serious”
problem, up from 57 percent in 2006 and
44 percent in 2000.”

Hat’s off to all those who’ve worked so hard to… (ahem) “inform” the public. It’s off topic, but I’ll bite. That’s the site owned and operated by Fenton Communications, right?

“Public relations. Monty Python called it a modern useless profession. Too bad they were wrong. PR has become the way crafty corporations and even the leader of the free world convince people that pollution is harmless, war is peace and greed is good. No wonder we at Fenton Communications don’t like to be asked at parties what we do for a living.” – Advertisement run on Air America Radio, April 2004

Just once, it would be interesting to see John Holliday write a comment that has something to do with the post, rather than making his heroic - and sometimes interesting - attempts to drag the discussion off in some direction that he thinks is more fruitful - whatever may be that mysterious and stinky brand of fruit he seems forever to be peddling … 

Fair enough ;) I like the way you write, Richie. We gots a lot in common, you and me.

Here’s my take: Okay, so Harper and his travelling road show have lost 6 points since their high, 3 points since Election Day.

According to Angus Reid, 26% of Canadians say their number one concern is the environment. In a separate survey, and only when asked specifically about their top environmental concern, 29% of the respondents say “global warming.” How you get from there to “Inaction on Global Warming Sees Tory Government Bleeding in Polls” is where I’m having trouble connecting the dots.

31% of respondents say their opinion of Harper has worsened. I’m willing to wager that the overwhelming majority of Canadians that say their opinions have worsened don’t rate the environment or global warming as their biggest concern. That’s not really the Tory base. When it comes to dropping poll numbers, I’m more inclined to think that screwing over all those pensioners and the investors who voted for him has had more of an impact.

To put it in perspective, it’s 2 million people who lost $35 billion – that’s 5% of Canada’s population. A nice slice of Tory voters who now have a much lower opinion of their friend with the nice hair who promised he wouldn’t rape their portfolios, and did. I might cautiously point out, it was one of the key issues that got him elected.

If you want a real story, something that’ll play to our friends up North, why don’t you tell ‘em how all those foreign nationals are scooping up big chunks of their country at bargain prices and their Prime Minister refuses to do anything about it.

The Honorable Stephen Harper is presiding over a wholesale giveaway of Canada’s natural resources – something rarely seen outside the Third World. That pisses me off, and I’m not even Canadian.

We already know the kinda damage BP caused in Alaska… I can’t wait to see what the Abu Dhabis have in mind for the pristine Western Basin.

A lot of the anger over the trusts is in Alberta, where the Conservatives can afford to lose some votes. Harper’s main problem is central Canada, Ontario and Quebec, where most of the votes are and where people are not wedded to one party. John Baird’s abysmal performance in Bali has done Harper no good.

While it’s true that Alberta is the oil patch, those 2 million people who got the shaft from Harper’s about face on income trusts live all over Canada.

Harper is dancing on a tightrope… While you may not agree from an environmentalist standpoint, Baird did well to exercise caution before signing on to any expensive carbon offset program that might totally alienate his Tory base.

See my CTV link below for possible explanations for the Conservatives plummetting: Bali, Chalk River (more evidence of the Conservatives putting private profits over scientific advice), and Mulroney/Schreiber.

Looks to me like Fenton Communications are good guys.

The Conservative Party is still ahead of everyone else in the polls.

From where I’m standing 67% of Canadians support “everyone else,” and that’s a majority by any definition. Harper is only “ahead” until Dion and the rest of the opposition decide enough is enough.

New poll, Rob; Conservatives at 30% behind Liberals at 32%, though it’s a statistical tie.

Oh, nice link, VJ ;)

I really loved this line, “The striking shift follows several controversies which may be taking a toll on the governing party: Former Tory prime minister Brian Mulroney’s admission that he accepted cash-stuffed envelopes from arms lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber and kept the payments secret for years…” That one fell under my radar. Since Mulroney testified in Ottowa last week, it most assuredly had a HUGE impact on that 6 point drop.

You do have a point about Alberta and the loss of Oil Patch support. A 20 point swing is not something to dismiss, especially in Tory country. If the Liberals had a stronger leader than Dion, I would imagine they could unseat Harper toute suite. He only managed to stay in office this year by selling out to the Bloc Quebec.

Baird overly cautious in Bali? I wonder why? Harper’s hanging by a thread, and the press is running editorials like this:

Meeting Kyoto Emissions Targets Will Cripple Canadian Economy

Ouch. Back in Economics 101 I learned policy-makers often have to choose between jobs and the environment. It’s what they call a trade-off. A lot of Canadians consider pollution to be important, but I wonder if it’s as important as their paycheck?

The National Post hardly qualifies as press: try “propaganda rag”.

It’s too bad Economics 101 doesn’t teach budding number-crunchers that “the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around.”

That’s not a slam, just a quote from my good friend James Carville. In the world of politics, the economy trumps all.

Great quote, VJ, but Gaylord Nelson wasn’t an economist, he was a lawyer. The relationship between lawyers and economists is almost adversarial.

I understand considerable thought has gone into whether environmental regulations cost jobs… most of it from ivory-tower academians who have no real-world experience to draw upon. The fact is, implementing the Kyoto Protocol has cost Canada billions. Billions of dollars in lost exports and billions of dollars in higher energy prices. Those billions could have been paid out in higher wages and could have improved the standard of living for all Canadians, but they weren’t and they didn’t. They’re lost.

Harper had a choice to make: Accept the highly dubious proposals floated at the Bali Conference or play it safe and wait for the science to catch up to the rhetoric. With the Canadian economy on the line, anything less would have been imprudent.

At least we in the U.S. can take comfort that our government wasn’t willing to sign on to some loopy socialist income redistribution scheme that has zero chance of actually impacting the climate.

Harper right to oppose Bali proposals

“…The fact is, implementing the Kyoto Protocol has cost Canada billions…”

What nonsense. To begin with, Canada has done little to implement Kyoto. We have however lost billions to the US over softwood, mad cow and other disputes where the US failed to honour its committments.

Pretty soon, it starts to add up.

Up to this point, both Liberals and Conservatives have used regulation, subsidies and tax incentives to try to hit the Kyoto targets. The goals have not been met, but several billion dollars have been spent toward that end all the same. As of 2003, the number was around $2.7 billion. I’ll try to find some more current figures.

Here’s an interesting piece that compares three competing plans and their direct costs

Then there’s the Friends of the Earth…

Study puts cost of meeting Kyoto climate-change targets at $100 billion – The Canadian Press

“It would cost $100 billion over four years for Canada to meet its Kyoto targets under a plan by Friends of the Earth and Corporate Knights magazine, one of the first attempts to put a price tag on addressing climate change.

“Although the cost sounds staggering, it amounts to only $20 a week for the typical family, says Beatrice Olivastri, CEO of Friends of the Earth.

“Based on the polluter-pays principle, the proposal would tax carbon fuels such as gasoline and coal, and redirect the money to new green technologies. It would include international emissions trading and the funding of emissions-cutting projects in the developing world.”

When it comes to the indirect costs to the economy, here’s a nice archived article…

Canada Report Defends Saying No To Kyoto Target – Reuters

“…Canada’s gross domestic product projections for 2008 would fall more than 6.5 percent if the country strictly adhered to its Kyoto targets, with employment levels falling about 1.7 percent, the report says.

“ ‘This would imply a deep recession in 2008, with a one-year net loss of economic activity in the range of C$51 billion relative to 2007 levels,’ it says.”

John, I think you’re a well informed individual on this subject and it’s nice to have your US-based views.

However, you’ve got to be careful about blanket statements like “implementing the Kyoto protocol has cost Canada billions”. You might know about the scene in the US, but you’re absolutely wrong about us up here in Canada (and frankly, Canadians don’t enjoy being told what is happening in our country by uninformed sub 49th-ers). Our government has not put billions to work on the climate change file. And we’ve not lost billions due to lost exports or higher energy prices. Very little has been spent on really tackling climate change here, and higher energy prices have actually been a boon to our economy (refer to the Canadian dollar’s YTD performance). So your points are quite invalid, however, if I understand correctly you’re saying that addressing climate change is too great a financial burden.

Well, let me ask you this. If addressing climate change is going to destroy economies and plunge us all into financial hades, how is it that the majority of European coutries saw strong GDP growth this past year, all the while putting measures into place to meet their Kyoto obligations? Seems to me that taking on the climate change file with concrete and progressive actions is actually good for business in the near-term, and definitely over the long-term.

We can only hope tha the dimwitted Dion does grow some balls. Then we can finally get rid of him and his band of tree hugging idiots before the completely ruin Canada.

Harper has my vote!
He has not been taken in by the AGW acam like the low IQ lefties have.

Gary, I have to admit that it’s quite hard for me to take you seriously. You seem more like a cheerleader for Harper and his party than any kind of rationalist. Some of your posts make me wonder if you work for them.

What? I guess now you’re trying to convince me that you are Stephen Harper. Keep shaking those pom-poms.

Hey Gary and his ilk are Harper’s base of support. Doesn’t that reflect well on Harper? (Note to Gary, that was sarcasm.)

“The Conservative Party is still ahead of everyone else in the polls.” - Really? Since when was 30 ahead of 32? I mean its counting beans but you’re still wrong with your statement. Next time read before you speak

When the statistical margin of error for the poll you cite is +/- 3.1 percentage points, that’s a tie.

May I also point out, in the same poll Liberal leader Stéphane Dion can’t crack 20% approval ratings. He actually has a remarkable 51% negative. Fifty-one percent negative would spell “retirement” for anyone other than the vainglorious Stéphane Dion. Not that I’m particularly happy about it, but the Liberal Party doesn’t have a chance of unseating the Conservatives unless they bust a pill in Stéphane’s ass.

Next time, read the fine print before you speak. “Counting beans” over a couple points within the margin of error just so you can insult another poster makes you look like… well, an idiot, Wendigo.