Friday, February 09, 2007

Tail wagging the dog all the way to the polls

Today in the headlines of the National Post, we see the inherent problem with minority governments (Kyoto Bill May Force Election).

All three opposition parties are planning to support the imminent passage of a Liberal private member's bill which would "legally require the Conservative government to abide by the Kyoto protocol's short-term targets". Bill C-288 "calls on Canada to meet its Kyoto commitment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by 2012."


Constitutional experts say the implications of passing the bill could see Prime Minister Stephen Harper forced to choose between implementing measures to meet Kyoto targets he has called unrealistic or calling a general election.
(...)

The Conservatives fought the bill as it proceeded through successive readings, claiming that if it were passed it would require new spending, something a private member's bill cannot initiate. However, [Liberal] Speaker of the House Peter Milliken ruled yesterday that the bill does not constitute spending for a new and distinct purpose and can proceed to final reading.

So now the Government's hand may be forced. If it attempts to meet these targets, the economy could be seriously affected; a possibility that even Liberal buddy Buzz Hargrove cautions against:

"If somebody were to come out tomorrow and say you have to reach the objective that was laid out initially immediately, you'd almost have to shut down every major industry in the country from oil and gas to the airlines to the auto industry and that just doesn't make sense," he said.


And it makes even less sense in light of the recent bad news from Daimler Chrysler.

The Post cites Patrick Monahan, dean of Osgoode Hall Law School as warning that "the bill, if passed, would legally bind the government to meet its Kyoto obligations."

Therefore, since the government cannot realistically achieve these goals, it may be forced to call an election over the issue.


Personally, I think the opposition will have a lot of 'plainin' to do about why they forced the government's hand on such a contentious and confusing issue that is replete with so-called expert opinion on both sides.

The NDP is likely less than enthusiastic about this charade, since polls suggest that they are losing support to the Greens and Liberals. However, on an ideological basis, they have no choice but to back the bill.

It's clear that the opposition parties are playing a game of political blackmail on the backs of the Canadian taxpayers.



But here is the most telling line of all from the Post article:

Mr. Rodriguez said he is not suggesting how the Conservatives should meet the Kyoto targets. "They are in power. They wanted to run the country, so they have to take the responsibility," he said.


In other words, 'we three opposition parties will dictate to the government what to do, and then when they fail, the Natural Governing Party will be back in power.'

Thus, we see the fatal flaw of a minority government. I hope that Canadians see through the ruse and reward Stephen Harper with a strong majority government which he so rightly deserves.

Then perhaps we can finally get something of significance done in Ottawa, instead of all this political posturing.


* * * *

Updates: Here's the view from the other side of the fence.

-Just listening to QP now. Igghead is asking questions like why is the government scaring Canadians about the economic effects of Kyoto? Perhaps he should ask pal Buzz that question.


-Great letter in today's Post:

It was an interesting week in Canadian politics as the majority of federal MPs voted to continue support for the universally acknowledged to be unachievable Kyoto accord, which remains supported by the majority of Canadians, though the contents of the accord are understood by almost no one...a perfect combination of the dishonesty and opportunism of opposition MPs, and the intellectual apathy and indifference of the Canadian people.


Very well said, Iain G. Foulds of Spruce Grove, Alberta.

Great post by Olaf here, with an interesting debate in comments.

47 comments:

Kelly said...

I don't pretend to understand everything that is going on here, but it doesn't sound like the other parties are being very "mature". Sounds like they are more interested in getting an election called than what the implications are going to be. And if one of them gets in next election, how are they going to implement the necessary changes without killing the economy?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

And if one of them gets in next election, how are they going to implement the necessary changes without killing the economy?

Excellent point, Kelly. Knowing the Fiberals, they'd come up with some excuse.

Canadians will need to spend the time becoming educated about Kyoto. Otherwise, it will be just to easy for the opposition to pull the wool over their eyes.

Anonymous said...

The only way the Kyoto targets can be "met" is to buy hot air credits from the likes of China, India and Russia. That's unless you are prepared to destroy the Canadian economy. Not even the Liberals would do that. Hence their reluctance to implement Kyoto while in power. I don't think Harper needs to call an election. He can just rag the puck by not putting it on the order paper for a vote. He could say his priorites are crime etc. Not sure he can get away with this but he needs to get to the budget, solve the fiscal imbalance and equalization. The opposition parties need to be held to account for this blatant childish behaviour. The Conservatives do need a majority next time out.

Anonymous said...

The Conservatives do need a majority next time out.

You lucked out with a minority government.. dont act like you deserve a majority.
a. the 1% GST cut was a waste - clearly has no positive impact.
b. opening up the same sex issue was a waste of time - it didn't go anywhere
c. We've messed up our economic relationship with China for no reason --exactly what is harper doing with the human rights there? i mean the delegates from his party missed an opportunity to listen to the celil trial.
d. Flip Flop on the environment
e.useless negative ads
f. poor foreign relations - especially in the middle east

I could go on and on... its been a lousy year. conservatives will not get a majority.

Danté said...

We should ignore it like the Liberals ignored the motion for their government to resign in 2005. Why not?

Anonymous said...

The news about Chrysler doesn't concern me one bit. It's their fault that they are losing market share. They're designing cars that are not fuel-efficient and are just plain ugly.

Next car I buy will be a hybrid, and thats not because I'm a super strong environmentalist its because I'm sick of paying $40 to fill the tank. I used to drive an SUV, smartened up and sold that, bought a sedan, it still sucks, have smartened up again but not bought a new car yet.

I know that isn't the point of your post, but I felt like venting.

Zac

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Zac, I have to agree with you there. Everyone is asking the government to do something about the auto sector here, but I really don't think it is up to the government to bail out the Ontario auto industry.

On the other hand, adding more environmental restrictions could be the nail in the coffin. It's a complex issue.

For sure, consumers will be looking for more fuel-efficient cars, and that should send a signal on its own.

Anonymous said...

consumers will be looking for more fuel-efficient cars, and that should send a signal on its own.

That is where Chrysler, along with GM and Ford, have been blind. Foreign automakers realized this fact years ago, while the US manufacturers have not...which will be their downfall.

Zac

Anonymous said...

"You lucked out with a minority government.. dont act like you deserve a majority.
a. the 1% GST cut was a waste - clearly has no positive impact."

Tell that to the people saving money on big purchases. Or to the people who like to see a drop in what they spend on a daily basis. It adds up.

"b. opening up the same sex issue was a waste of time - it didn't go anywhere"

If keeping an election promise is a waste of time, then you must be a liberal.

"c. We've messed up our economic relationship with China for no reason --exactly what is harper doing with the human rights there "

....for no good reason? Unless you happen to be the human being in China who has lost his rights. Latest report is that this person has been executed (heard on CTV this am)....

"d. Flip Flop on the environment"

Dion flip-flopped....Kyoto yes!!! But we can't meet our targets....Kyoto yes!!! But I don't want to do actually do anything because after I signed it, I realized what a mess I would get the Canadian economy in.

Harper has never flip-flopped. He said that the science is conflicting and inconclusive (it is, and we all know that now). He wants a made-in-Canada solution and that's what is on the table.

"e.useless negative ads"
I'm shocked!!! Considering that it is only Liberals speaking Liberalese in the ads, are you saying that the Liberals are negative??? I thought they did pretty good in the ads. They weren't acting, and they _just_told_the_truth....a first!!!

"f. poor foreign relations - especially in the middle east"

Not according to the Afghanis, especially the girls and boys who are now in school. Imagine how happy that must make their parents. From having spent some time in the middle east, I doubt if there will ever be peace because there are so many tribal conflicts, but at least in the west, we shouldn't be "tribal" about human rights vs sharia law via the taleban

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Foreign automakers realized this fact years ago, while the US manufacturers have not...which will be their downfall.

Yup. Boy, it's boring when we agree!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Could the various Anons please number themselves or something? Maybe Tory Anon; Liberal Anon; whatever.

It's so confusing! Thanks.

Brian in Calgary said...

According to a Leger Marketing poll just out (1500 Canadians, taken between Jan 30 & Feb 04), an election would really be risky for the Opposition, particularly the Liberals and the Bloc. The Tories lead the Liberals 38% to 31%, NDP 14%, Bloc 8%, Greens 7%. In Ontario the numbers are CPC 40%, Liberals 35%, NDP 16%. In Quebec the numbers are Liberals 32%, Bloc 31%, CPC 24%. The Tories are also ahead in the Maritimes. I know polls are just snap shots, but this one is interesting.

PGP said...

The most glaring question is how the MSM has contributed and continues to mislead and misinform the Canadian public on the matter of Kyoto.

Keeping the population ignorant is one tool of all sorts of dictators and oligarchies. Whether through intention or through just plain self serving arrogance our News media have created an information vacuum that allows these cretins in the Liberal, NDP and Green parties to abuse the public trust and best interests of our Nation!

Anonymous said...

Tell that to the people saving money on big purchases.

So basically, it caters to the rich. and i'm not sure if making small savings of 1% here and there is wise, especially if the cummulative 5 billion dollars nationally could go towards healthcare-education-reducing ghg

If keeping an election promise is a waste of time, then you must be a liberal

Income Trust Issue??

for no good reason?
yes for no good reason. Whats harper doing about the human rights issue in china? PLUS HE FLIPPED FLOPPED on this too. Emerson is working frantically to establish a strong economic relationship with china anyways. What happened to the human rights issue now?

Harper has never flip-flopped. He said that the science is conflicting and inconclusive

Yeah. I didn't see the environment as part of Harpers election plank. infact, he SCRAPPED many programs --thats until Dion brought the environment to light. (you'll probably bring up the past, and dion as the environment minister) -- but we're talking about this government.

He is a believer of the science... look at Baird now, he thinks he's the Champion of reducing ghg - you dont do that UNLESS you've been MADE to believe.

I'm shocked!!! Considering that it is only Liberals speaking Liberalese in the ads

You're avoiding the remark-

(harper didn't use tax payers money to take phrases out of context, in a futile attemp to show them in a "negative" light...hence working "negative ads").

In anycase, which ever way you want to spin in -- there was a recent poll done (references done on previous threads in Joanne's blog) that many people a. haven't seen them b. those that have, dont really think much of them.

poor foreign relations - especially in the middle east

I agree with the troops going to afghanistan. I wish they would've had a bit more debate about the two year-extention (it was kind of embarassing seeing Mackay begging for other NATO supporters to join).

BUt i'm also talking about lebanon, palestine and the israeli conflict. Calling it a "measured" response was just wreckless, and cutting aid off to palestine was just plain stupid (people usually become more frustrated and angry when they dont have their basic needs).

anon who thinks why Harper will not get a majority based reasons given above.

PGP said...

Another anonymous G&M reader I see!

Gabby in QC said...

From an article in the Feb 8 edition of La Presse, right under an article about David Suzuki, in which Suzuki claims Lucien Bouchard bartered away the planet [no less] in lieu of Quebec.

"Le gaz carbonique a sauvé la terre" = "Carbon dioxide saved the earth"
« "We now have direct proof that at the very beginning of its history the earth's atmosphere was full of CO2, which probably prevented the planet from freezing over and then going the way of Mars," explained one of the researchers Stephen Mojzsis.»

In 2002, in a letter often quoted by Stephane Dion and his minions as proof of Stephen Harper's being "a climate change denier" Mr. Harper wrote:
"It [the Kyoto Accord] focuses on carbon dioxide, which is essential to life, rather than upon pollutants."
*Ergo* Mr. Harper was ahead of his time!

Anonymous said...

We now have direct proof that at the very beginning of its history the earth's atmosphere was full of CO2

Hey Gabby, now one is disputing that CO2 is vital to life - its a key ingredient of photosynthesis.

The issue is the excess of C02 thats produced since 1950 (almost 4 gigatones of carbon). Since it cannot be further oxidized (broken down), it ends up in the stratosphere - absorbs reflected energy (thermal IR), and re-directs it back to earth.

By continue to block these windows of escape for thermal energy - more heat gets trapped unaturally on earth.

Thats the issue Gabby. Its not as clear cut as you think it is.

Anonymous said...

We now have direct proof that at the very beginning of its history the earth's atmosphere was full of CO2, which probably prevented the planet from freezing over and then going the way of Mars," explained one of the researchers Stephen Mojzsis.

I'm not going to waste too much time on this one. but honestly, the beginning of earths history was billions of years ago...the environment (temperature, atmospheric gas composition, plants etc...) has substianitally changed ever since. Infact, C02 since the beckoning of O2 producing bacteria also substanitally decreased.

I have absolutely no clue how your quote justfies reducing green house gases.

CONTEXT conservatives...CONTEXT.

wayward son said...

How dare the opposition parties (representing more than 60% of Canadian voters) not allow the governing party (representing 36% of Canadian voters) to rule as a dictatorship, especially on an issue like Kyoto of which most Canadians support.

I also agree that cutting emissions is impossible. I tried it personally and only managed to cut my own emissions from 6.5 tons to less than 1 ton while still driving a car to work. Personal and financial discomfort - none.

As for people still yapping about CO2 being essential to life. Put a bag over your head and see how well you do with increased CO2 levels.

Gabby in QC said...

Oh, for Pete's sake, lighten up, will you Anonymous? (@ Fri Feb 09, 03:22:00 PM EST & Fri Feb 09, 03:27:00 PM EST)

1. I simply quoted from an article that pointed out CO2 is necessary for life on our planet so that I could have a bit of fun with the 2002 Stephen Harper letter. Maybe I should have flagged it thus: "I AM BEING FACETIOUS!"

2. If the great Liberal leader, now garbed in the green mantle of Great Guru of environmentalism, can say with a straight face - in the HofC no less - that PM Harper "also attempted to paralyze the world" (Feb. 1), well, I figure a bit of levity is called for.

3. Shut down all computers, movie productions, TV studios, radio stations, factories, driving of any kind, fireplaces, turn down the heat to 15°C & MAYBE there will be some minor change in Canada's GHGs - but look out for this:
"The cloud of dirt was hard to make out from the ground, but at an altitude of 10,000 meters (32,808 feet), the scientists could see the gigantic mass of ozone, dust and soot with the naked eye. In a specially outfitted aircraft taking off from Munich airport, they surveyed a brownish mixture stretching from Germany all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.
Smoke from factories in China's Shanxi province: Slowly, politicians and scientists are recognizing the path of destruction caused by China's industrial revolution."
http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,461828,00.html
h/t to http://www.damianpenny.com/

liberal supporter said...

"CO2 is necessary for life on our planet "
So is water and salt.

I guess the melting ice caps and oceans rising will be a good thing then, lots more water for all.

liberal supporter said...

The amount of money from the 1% GST cut is about $5 Billion a year.

That is how much the carbon credits would cost if we do not reduce CO2 from 780 tonnes to 563 tonnes.

Your 1% GST would pay for staying in Kyoto and doing nothing about emissions.

That's 5 Billion in tax breaks for industries that do reduce emissions. I think that reminding them that their tax break will be used to buy "hot air" from China if they don't use it, would encourage them to take advantage of the tax break.

But you can always set up a false dichotomy based around the "alternative" being to destroy the economy if you prefer, though.

PGP said...

Science and not politics determine facts....you want context?

http://captaincapitalism.blogspot.com/2007/01/one-more-time-for-stupid-people.html

PGP said...

One more time:
http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/005518.html

PGP said...

I'll try making it fit on two lines...
http://captaincapitalism.blogspot.com/2007/01/
one-more-time-for-stupid-people.html

wayward son said...

Bravo sweater guy for pointing out what every scientist knows - that there have been temperature changes in the earth's history based on Milankovitch cycles.

Problem is CO2 levels and temperature are heading up and will no longer be able to fit on that chart because of human emissions and no because of Milankovitch cycles or solar intensity. Every credible scientist recognizes that.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Co2-temperature-plot.svg

Pretty soon we won't be able to call you sweater guy any more, that is the only benefit as I see it.

Anonymous said...

"Every credible scientist recognizes that."

Time you go back and do some research.

liberal supporter said...

Wayward son, what did you do to cut 5.5 tonnes?

I think most people don't even know their current CO22 footprint, and have no idea which uses are the "low hanging fruit".

liberal supporter said...

They also don't know their CO2 footprint

liberal supporter said...

pgp: you can use http://snipurl.com or http://www.tinyurl.com to make URLs that will fit these comment pages.

Another way is to make it a link, then only the text you want shows. I just learned how to build an "href" like that, but forgot how to show the symbols in a way they aren't interpreted.

wayward son said...

"Wayward son, what did you do to cut 5.5 tonnes?"

1) switching to bullfrog power which is zero emissions - wind power etc. That was a massive drop in emissions, about 2.5 tons. It is more expensive, but with other changes and efficiencies my hydro bills are about the same.

2) trading in my pickup truck for a Toyota Prius. I was going to be buying a new vehicle anyways, so there was no additional cost to what I had planned - actually a decrease as gas and insurance costs are significantly lower. Again a drop of about 2.5 tons.

3) when I transferred to a different location for work I looked for apartments which were more efficient, something I had never considered before - ie newer fridge, front loading washing machine (which saves a lot of water, soap and energy, plus allows for quicker drying) plus looked at the doors and windows.

4) more efficient lightbulbs, composting, decreasing the temperature in my apartment by 1 degree, plugging all electronics into power cords so I can turn them off - ie no standby power usage, I also garden and eat a diet of mostly locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Next fall I plan on dropping my emissions from about .9 tons to .6 tons by converting my hybrid into a plug-in hybrid, but that will, unlike the other changes, cost a significant amount of money.

My parents, who are Conservatives, have also decreased their emissions by several tons by doing many of the same things.

I calculate my emissions using three different guides - such as the one-ton challenge - and then I average them out.

wayward son said...

"Time you go back and do some research."

I have researched this issue for several years. There used to be some very good skeptics. Christy, Spencer, the Pielke's and the like, I have a lot of respect for them. Now the only skeptics left are generally scientists who were on the payroll of big tobacco and then switched to big oil. They make fools of themselves.

But go ahead name some legitimate skeptics - I won't respond tonight as I am heading out of town in about a half an hour, but I do look forward to being enlightened.

P.S. if you are going to list skeptics like Fred Singer, Patrick Michaels, Steven Milloy or Tim Ball, don't bother they are all either, not scientists (Ball, Milloy) or professional skeptics who change their minds depending on how they can make the most money (Singer, Michaels). None of them are considered "legitimate" by anyone who has even a child's understanding of climate.

Also if you are going to name scientists like Dr. Sami Solanki and the like, don't bother, despite frequently being misused by skeptics the world over as a climate change debunker he has repeatedly said that climate change is a real and serious issue and that humans are the cause.

Anonymous said...

anon at 1:47 p.m

Let's talk sponsorship scandal.

Let's talk income trust leak.

Let's talk strippergate.

And, I'm talking about this Liberal government....Dion...

As for which anon is which....I'm the one that makes sense. :-) But life is too short to argue with someone who won't admit that they're pulling straws out of the air. And, besides there's a hockey game on.

One more point....you should spend some time in the middle east before you consider yourself an expert on what is really going on there. I have.

anon #83

Anonymous said...

Wayword Son - wow...that's Impressive.honestly.

Anonymous said...

Anon 83,

With respect to your "argument":
the list/argument was a classical conservative tactic -- take the focus away from the conservatives mistakes and deflect to the previous governments

(i.e. sponsorship, the supposed "leak" which now the RCMP is being investigated for, and the immigration issue - are matters of the past). Dion Just became the leader a couple of months ago...

with respect to the middle east
Its good that you've been to the Middle east -- its a great way to learn about a place.

In what capacity were you in the middle east? I've been to mexico ,china and africa --but i have to be honest -For me, i probably know more about them (their history, diversity) BY READING about them here in Canada.

tell me this, you say you've been to the middle east: what do you know about the balfour declaration of 1917 and Sykes - Picot Agreement of 1916.

Its interesting these events didn't even come up once during the recent middle east crisis..

Anonymous said...

this is off-topic by the way, but I made a reference to the Balfour Decleration of 1917 and the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916
here's a good site to look at (its referenced well).


Anon at 1:47 and 3:04 - the one having a discussion with Anon 83

Steve said...

i'm actually a bit creeped out that we make such similar speculations on the opposition's motives. but, the Liberal anon pricks notwithstanding, i actually don't think the next election will be a shoe-in, or a guaranteed victory at all.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Maybe I should have flagged it thus: "I AM BEING FACETIOUS!"

When it comes to Kyotology, Gabby, they have no sense of humour at all.

Joanne (True Blue) said...


Anon at 1:47 and 3:04 - the one having a discussion with Anon 83


Ah good. Thank you. That's a start. Perhaps we can call you Anon #38. Just switch the digits around. For continuity. ;)

Anonymous said...

"With respect to your "argument":
the list/argument was a classical conservative tactic -- take the focus away from the conservatives mistakes and deflect to the previous governments

(i.e. sponsorship, the supposed "leak" which now the RCMP is being investigated for, and the immigration issue - are matters of the past). Dion Just became the leader a couple of months ago..."

Ya, and the Liberals bring up statements and speeches made by Harper 5 and 10 years ago to deflect blame from their failures, most notably Dion and the enviroment. Not to mention Mulroney and Mike Harris. The C anon

Concerned said...

This statement in your post really does say it all:
"Mr. Rodriguez said he is not suggesting how the Conservatives should meet the Kyoto targets. "They are in power. They wanted to run the country, so they have to take the responsibility," he said."
What an arrogant and ignorant statement to make. Yes, "They are in power". They were elected into power by the people of Canada. What gives the opposition the right to dictate to the government in power about an issue like Kyoto? Especially in light of the fact that the Liberals had ample time and opportunity to worship and pay homage at the feet of "The Great Kyoto" and didn't. I wish that the general public would become better educated as to what Kyoto is truly all about. Perhaps they would then see it as the "False Idol" it really is.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

The C anon Ah, a handle. Awesome!


Concerned:
Especially in light of the fact that the Liberals had ample time and opportunity to worship and pay homage at the feet of "The Great Kyoto" and didn't.

Right on! Great point.

Anonymous said...

"Mr. Rodriguez said he is not suggesting how the Conservatives should meet the Kyoto targets. "They are in power. They wanted to run the country, so they have to take the responsibility," he said."

This is irresponsible on the part of the Opposition. And, Canadians deserve to have a smart, responsible party in opposition. If you put a bill forward, it's your responsibility to come up with a plan to put the bill into effect. Where are all of the genius IQ's/creative Liberals that they can't come up with some plan to put Kyoto into effect?

You want to know where they are? They're right where they were when they signed the stupid thing. They found out after they signed it what a mess it was, and that's why they did nothing.

We can't meet our targets even if everyone stopped everything....and we should send billions of dollars to China/Russia so that they can keep doing what they do. I heard that every 5 days there's a new coal-burning plant set up in China.

I think that Canadians deserve better in an opposition party. We deserve an opposition party that can ask really specific policy questions, that can put forth good policy ideas of their own, that can balance out policy with economics. We don't deserve an opposition party who thinks their only reason for being is to get back into power.

anon #83

Joanne (True Blue) said...

We don't deserve an opposition party who thinks their only reason for being is to get back into power.

That's right. They not only don't deserve to form the government, they don't even deserve to be in opposition!

Anonymous said...

That's right. They not only don't deserve to form the government, they don't even deserve to be in opposition!

Exactly! For more reasons than their take on the environment.

There's a side story in Saturday's National Post where Al Quaeda states that the Alberta oil sands are in their sites for an attack, because we supply oil and gas to the U.S.

Politically Screwed blog has a story where the Liberals are opposing their own anti-terrorism bill, which would give more powers to authorities to fight terrorism.

Are the Liberals even Canadian???

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Anon, I heard about that last night and couldn't believe it!

Then again, coming from the Liberals, I guess I would.

BTW, Mulder's post is here.

Brian in Calgary said...

Mr. Rodriguez said he is not suggesting how the Conservatives should meet the Kyoto targets. "They are in power. They wanted to run the country, so they have to take the responsibility," he said.

Anon #83 - This is not only irresponsible on the party of the Opposition. It is also a cowardly washing of their hands on a scale comparable to that of Pontius Pilate.