As Dion tries to take political ownership of the climate change issue, one of the ads attempts to paint the former Liberal environment minister as someone who did nothing to stop Canada's greenhouse gas emissions from growing by 30 per cent.
That claim could certainly hurt Dion unless he seizes on the lesson that is implicit in the ad.
Dion, who was environment minister only for a short period during the minority Liberal government of Paul Martin, needs to convince voters that he, in fact, has a workable plan for fighting global warming.
His plan must be simple and straightforward. It must be effective, capable of producing quick and large results.
Considering that the usual Liberal solution is to just throw piles of taxpayer money at a problem, this could prove to be a challenge indeed - especially for an ex-professor more comfortable with theories and rosy ideals than harsh, economic facts.
Lorrie Goldstein ("There's No Big Green Machine") reminds us that there is a difference between justifiable concern about the environment in general vs. panic about climate change specifically. Although the opposition parties would like to frame those concepts as synonymous, Goldstein points to surveys that suggest that Canadians are more worried about exposure to smog and toxins than melting ice-caps:
But global warming and climate change, the issue Kyoto is meant to address, actually finished fourth on the list of environmental concerns of Canadians. The top three were more traditional worries such as toxic chemicals linked to human health (which 61% identified as "life threatening"), followed by air pollution and smog (55%), water pollution and quality (54%) and then global warming and climate change at 52%.
I think Canadians are being fleeced by a global-warming snow-job. Few in the media are willing to differentiate between the subtleties of a very complex issue. The Star's editorial is providing Stephane Dion with tactical suggestions for the Liberal leader's future; not necessarily that of a healthy Canadian environment.
The politics of fear are not used exclusively by our elected officials.
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Related Links: Brilliant ChuckerCanuk - "Do you believe the science of climate change?"
Kathleen Harris (Sun) - "Green gets red hot".
The Strong Conservative - "Counter Culture to Global Warming, It's a Natural Cycle".
Used to be that Conservative bloggers were called bigots; now we're heretics.
UPDATE: New poll from Decima! (Star) Canadians seem skeptical. I wonder why...
I love this bit at the end:
Jamey Heath, a former NDP communications director, posted an op-ed rant on the left-wing rabble.ca website recently, excoriating those who criticize the NDP for attempting to help the Tories rewrite their much-criticized Clean Air Act.
"That's how low this debate has sunk," wrote Heath. "Just scream `Harper Helper' and watch facts and possibilities fly out the window, all because that's how Liberals say politics work."
Jack's Newswatch - "The Sky is Falling". Great rant & links.