Friday, February 08, 2008

Who's got the REAL secret agenda?

Q. What do Stephane Dion and David Suzuki have in common?

A. Someone to help put out the fires of their inflammatory rhetoric.


In Dion's case, it was the Liberal party that had to issue a statement explaining what the Leader of the Official Opposition really meant to say. He didn't actually want to send troops into Pakistan or "stuff like that".

David Suzuki's challenge to university students to look for a "legal way of throwing our so-called leaders into jail" was explained thusly:
Dan Maceluch, a spokesman for Dr. Suzuki, said that he did not mean the statement to be taken literally.

"He's not advocating locking people up, but he is pulling his hair out."


(Post - H/T ChuckerCanuk) A great read, BTW!


Dion's gaffe was likely just another example of his bumbling inability to communicate, which is a somewhat disconcerting quality in someone aspiring to become Prime Minister.

However, in the case of David Suzuki, I very much doubt that he didn't intend his comment to be taken in a more literal sense.

For one thing, as Terry O'Neill observed yesterday, this wasn't the first time Suzuki had made this type of remark:

...So what exactly has Suzuki, who is on the university-lecture circuit these days, been saying? For starters, he told a University of Toronto audience last month that the next federal election ought to be about the environment. No problem there. However, as reported by a student newspaper, he then opined that government leaders who aren't acting quickly enough to save the environment "should go to jail for what they're not doing right now … What our government is not doing is a criminal act."

His allegation of law-breaking was apparently no mere slip of the tongue. Speaking a few weeks later at McGill University, Suzuki again equated governments' alleged inaction on the environment with a criminal act; in fact, he is reported to have said students ought to find a legal way to throw politicians in jail for ignoring climate-change science...

However, here's an interesting tidbit via Mark Peters in his post Rule by Autocratic Scientists. He quotes authors David Shearman and Joseph Wayne Smith in a recent op-ed, Climate Change - Is Democracy Enough?:

...Liberal democracy is sweet and addictive and indeed in the most extreme case, the USA, unbridled individual liberty overwhelms many of the collective needs of the citizens. . .
There must be open minds to look critically at liberal democracy. Reform must involve the adoption of structures to act quickly regardless of some perceived liberties. . .

...We are going to have to look how authoritarian decisions based on consensus science can be implemented to contain greenhouse emissions...

Prometheus also quotes the following:

[T]he authors conclude that an authoritarian form of government is necessary, but this will be governance by experts and not by those who seek power.

Mark Peters has summarized this whole thing very well with his closing paragraph in which he cites the 'two chief enemies of liberal democracy in addition to islamic jihadism':

1. Scientists with a penchant for expert authoritarianism, and
2. Our learned deference to so-called expert opinion; our near reverence of anyone sporting a PhD.

To which I would only add:

3. Our lemming mentality that allows others do our thinking for us.


* * * *

Related
: A reader just notified me via email that the word "Lemming" has hit Parliament. Check out Thursday Feb. 7 Hansard, Statements by Members, Mike Lake - Tackling Violent Crime:

In a couple of minutes, the Liberal leader will stand up, cheered on by his team of Liberal lemmings. I hope he will use this opportunity to tell the House that in his long-awaited first act of leadership he is demanding that his unelected Liberal senators stop playing political games with the safety of Canadians.


Saturday Update: The Suzuki shtick - Post.

Sunday Update: The Nature of Suzuki - Calgary Herald

Lorrie Goldstein - Finding the right words.


17 comments:

Frank Parker said...

I'm all for improving the environment and fighting climate change... But Suzuki is starting to sound like a wing nut, not a spokesperson for the environment in Canada.

Anonymous said...

See... my mother has a PhD, and she's one of the most clueless people I know when it comes to things outside of her specialized domain. Giving the keys to the zoo to PhD-bedecked monkeys is just about the dumbest thing any society can do.

Gabby in QC said...

"David Suzuki has called for political leaders to be thrown in jail for ignoring the science behind climate change."

Didn't Suzuki and his parents spend time in an internment camp during World War II, for no sin other than they were Japanese and thus viewed as the enemy?

One would think THAT experience would illuminate his thinking a bit more than it has.

maryT said...

Gabby, Maybe Suzuki is doing and saying what he does is to pay us back for being interned.
Revenge is sweet.

liberal supporter said...

Suzuki's internment was wrong because it was based on something he might do, and the belief his group of people were more likely than others to do it.

He advocates treating the continuous stonewalling of this government as being an act in itself, and that this neglect is criminal. His point, being presented to an audience of business students, is that if executives of companies can be jailed for environmental crimes, why not elected officials? I guess the idea of accountability is foreign to you, despite all the lip service.

You can certainly defend that Harper's record on the environment is hardly the stuff of criminal charges, but you prefer to try to hang the "tin pot dictator" label on Suzuki. Just like the Ezra case where, instead of simply pointing out that Ezra's actions were hardly wrong (something pretty much everyone agrees on), you prefer to try again to hang the "tin pot dictator" label on the HRCs.



So we're playing "why is this like that". Is this another bit of grandmaster strategy by the master strategist? Last week CPC Central commanded thus: "And you shall always mention Lizzie May and Dion together, so as to conflate the two". This week the edict appears to be "Mention Suzuki and Dion together, so as to conflate the two".

The only problem is, for Dion you have to put words in his mouth. You do recall it was MacKay that claimed Dion wants to invade Pakistan, when of course he said no such thing. When you suggest offering forces to assist a government, that is not calling for invasion.

Gabby in QC said...

"Suzuki's internment was wrong because it was based on something he might do, and the belief his group of people were more likely than others to do it."

And Suzuki's proposal is wrong because it is based on what politicians might NOT do. The present government's term has not yet expired. They have actually done some things, whether you want to recognize them or not, and they still have time to do more.

But, if you insist on punishing past offences, will the incarceration be commensurate with the time the politicians were in power?
So let's see: Kyoto was ratified in 1997.
The party in power lost the election in 2006.
That means they have to spend 9 years in the hoosegow, n'est-ce pas?

liberal supporter said...

And Suzuki's proposal is wrong because it is based on what politicians might NOT do.
Not based on "might", based on "did".

They have actually done some things, whether you want to recognize them or not, and they still have time to do more.
I don't think "we did something" is really going to fly. 8 more days before the formal reneging on Kyoto.

So let's see: Kyoto was ratified in 1997.
No, it was ratified November 16, 2004.

The party in power lost the election in 2006.
And they never had a majority for the entire time 11 months that Kyoto was in force while they were in power.

Gabby in QC said...

"So let's see: Kyoto was ratified in 1997.
No, it was ratified November 16, 2004."

So it seems we're both wrong:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/kyoto/timeline.html
“Canada was one of the first countries to sign the Kyoto Protocol, on April 29, 1998. Formal ratification came more than four years later – on Dec. 17, 2002.”

However, note the year in the first paragraph below:
http://www.uofaweb.ualberta.ca/govrel/news.cfm?story=57660
(Mar 8, 2007) -
“Christine Stewart, who was the Liberal environment minister when Canada signed the Kyoto agreement in *1997,* said none of her cabinet colleagues -- including current party leader Stéphane Dion -- supported her efforts to put a real plan in place to meet its ambitious targets.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail yesterday, Ms. Stewart said she told her colleagues that Kyoto would require tough action from the provinces because they control the main sources of greenhouse gases, such as power plants and natural resources. But the provinces objected and their opposition was reflected in cabinet by Mr. Dion, who was then intergovernmental affairs minister, she said.
"Stéphane Dion was the minister of intergovernmental affairs and the whole issue [of Kyoto] was creating horrible consternation among the provinces," she recalled. "Frankly, the environment wasn't an intergovernmental topic that our government wanted to expend their opportunity on. They had to worry more about getting a health agreement with the provinces or financial issues and we couldn't get [the provinces] angry and all upset about the environment.

"That was [Mr. Dion's] role. 'Let's let this one lay low.' It was never said in so many words. I think what I am saying is he wasn't against [Kyoto], but he was not a champion. But then he wasn't unique. If you can find a champion [in that Liberal cabinet], let me know," she said.

Ms. Stewart was environment minister from 1997 to 1999 and has kept a low profile since retiring from public life before the 2000 election.

Her comments are similar to those expressed recently by Eddie Goldenberg, who was the senior adviser to former prime minister Jean Chrétien. In a speech, Mr. Goldenberg said neither the public nor the government was ready for the tough measures Kyoto required.”
Signed in '98 while a majority, and did what until 2002, while still in majority position?

Hard to argue with two prominent Liberals like Stewart and Goldenberg, Chretien's right-hand man ...

"The party in power lost the election in 2006.
And they never had a majority for the entire time 11 months that Kyoto was in force while they were in power."
Weak argument, no?
Isn't the present government also in a precarious minority situation?
What's sauce for the goose ...

liberal supporter said...

Signed in '98 while a majority, and did what until 2002, while still in majority position?

The Kyoto Protocol came into effect on February 16, 2005. This was 90 days after the last requirement was met, ratification by Russia in November 2004.


Hard to argue with two prominent Liberals like Stewart and Goldenberg, Chretien's right-hand man ...
Hard to put a lot of effort into a treaty that might come into effect.


"The party in power lost the election in 2006.
And they never had a majority for the entire time 11 months that Kyoto was in force while they were in power."
Weak argument, no?

No.

Isn't the present government also in a precarious minority situation?
Precariouser and precariouser?
Currently, they can pass anything they want, with the Liberals abstaining. Only if they slip and reveal the hidden agenda, the one they would steamroller through with a majority, might they see defeat.


What's sauce for the goose ...
Yes, if they tried to implement radical far right legislation. But no, if they wanted to implement legislation that the opposition is not against. Recall the CPC or whatever it was called then was dead set against Kyoto.

If you were faced with Harper and his shrieking trained seals planning to go to the barricades, even though you have a majority, what would you do? Especially to implement a treaty that is not even in effect, and has not received the ratification needed. I would let it ride, assuming that when it does achieve international ratification, that would be a better time, even though it will make the job that much harder.

Remember Harper's words? “But we can’t do it alone. It will take an army of Canadians to beat Kyoto, just as it did to beat (the) Charlottetown (constitutional accord),” he wrote.

Full text in a sidebar here

Gabby in QC said...

"The Kyoto Protocol came into effect on February 16, 2005. This was 90 days after the last requirement was met, ratification by Russia in November 2004."
So Canada had to wait around for Russia before doing anything?

http://tinyurl.com/2yrg6n
“It is not acceptable to hide behind the argument that others are not doing enough as an excuse to do nothing yourself.”
Who said that?
Stephane Dion at a press conference in Bali, among other places.
With Dynamic Dion leading the way, all other signatories should have started doing something, instead of waiting around for Russia, don't you think?

"The party in power lost the election in 2006. And they never had a majority for the entire time 11 months that Kyoto was in force while they were in power."
Weak argument, no?
No.”
Wow! I'm impressed by that rebuttal.

"Only if they slip and reveal the hidden agenda ..."
Yawn.
A bit passé, don't you think? You'll have to come up with new labels. Oh wait, I think you did … something about shrieking seals.

BTW, the reason I used the “sauce for the goose” cliché is to illustrate that if your argument of "minority position" excuses the Martin government, then it should also excuse the Harper government.

"If you were faced with Harper and his shrieking trained seals planning to go to the barricades ..."
Holy mixing of metaphors!

Gabby in QC said...

And now about the famous letter.
It seems you didn’t read beyond the “socialist scheme” part.
"— The only winners will be countries such as Russia, India, and China, from which Canada will have to buy “emissions credits.” Kyoto is essentially a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations.
— ***On top of all this, Kyoto will not even reduce greenhouse gases. By encouraging transfer of industrial production to Third World countries where emissions standards are more relaxed, it will almost certainly increase emissions on a global scale.***

Harper is not the only one to have expressed that POV.
http://tinyurl.com/2j2ud9
“... it's not clear that buying offsets actually reduces carbon emissions. One problem is that many offsets come with no guarantees that the promised activity actually takes place. Some companies, like Terrapass, tout their certification by third-party organizations, such as the Center for Resource Solutions. But most Americans have never heard of the center and have no reason to trust it; there's no role in the certification process for well-recognized, established third parties such as the Better Business Bureau.

Even if vendors are spending the money to reduce carbon emissions, there's no way to know whether the contributions from the purchased offsets actually have an impact.
We don't know if more wind farms are being built as a result of the purchase of carbon offsets even if we can be certain that some wind farms are built. Business Week recently reported that a number of the businesses selling carbon offsets to Terrapass said that they would have done their projects even without Terrapass' investments.”

AND
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1599714,00.html
“ … purchasing carbon credits is an incentive to burn even more fossil fuels, since now it is done under the illusion that it's really cost-free to the atmosphere.

Second, it is a way for the rich to export the real costs and sacrifices of pollution control to the poorer segments of humanity in the Third World. (Apparently, Hollywood's plan is to make up for that by adopting every last one of their children.) For example, GreenSeat, a Dutch carbon-trading outfit, buys offsets from a foundation that plants trees in Uganda's Mount Elgon National Park to soak up the carbon emissions of its rich Western patrons. Small problem: expanding the park encroaches on land traditionally used by local farmers. As a result, reports the New York Times, "villagers living along the boundary of the park have been beaten and shot at, and their livestock has been confiscated by armed park rangers." ...
The other form of carbon trading is to get Third World companies to cut their emissions to offset Western pollution. ... But even the Kyoto treaty doesn't put any cap on greenhouse gases in China and India, where billions of these carbon credits are traded. Sure, you can pretend you're offsetting Western greenhouse pollution by supposedly cleaning up a dirty coal plant in China. But China is adding a new coal plant every week. You could build a particularly dirty "uncapped" power plant, then sell hundreds of millions in carbon credits to reduce it to a normal rate of pollution. The result? The polluter gets very rich. The planet continues to cook. And the Gores of the world can feel virtuous as they burn up the local power grid.”

AND FINALLY
http://tinyurl.com/3c6dlt
“The enormous volume of corn required by the ethanol industry is sending shock waves through the food system. (The United States accounts for some 40 percent of the world's total corn production and over half of all corn exports.) In March 2007, corn futures rose to over $4.38 a bushel, the highest level in ten years. Wheat and rice prices have also surged to decade highs, because even as those grains are increasingly being used as substitutes for corn, farmers are planting more acres with corn and fewer acres with other crops.
This might sound like nirvana to corn producers, but it is hardly that for consumers, especially in poor developing countries, who will be hit with a double shock if both food prices and oil prices stay high.”

The law of unintended consequences at work. MAYBE reduce GHG emissions but starve the poor.

liberal supporter said...

So Canada had to wait around for Russia before doing anything?
Those bad old Russians! It could have been anyone that was the last one to sign. Like if a riding is won by 1 vote, I like to think it was my vote.


With Dynamic Dion leading the way, all other signatories should have started doing something, instead of waiting around for Russia, don't you think?
In a perfect world, we wouldn't need treaties at all. Or a UN, or NATO. But one has to be a realist, no? Dion's quote is referring to signatories to a treaty, an agreement that is in force. Carping about who's pulling their weight at that time should not be an excuse.

Waiting for "the Russians" to sign a treaty is a little different. In fact, the treaty is mainly there to provide political cover for doing anything. With less political cover, you might choose to wait until that cover is in place. The art of the possible and all that.


No.
Wow! I'm impressed by that rebuttal.

Thank you.

"Only if they slip and reveal the hidden agenda ..."
Yawn.
A bit passé, don't you think? You'll have to come up with new labels. Oh wait, I think you did … something about shrieking seals.

Hey, that was shrieking trained seals, I'll have you know!

BTW, the reason I used the “sauce for the goose” cliché is to illustrate that if your argument of "minority position" excuses the Martin government, then it should also excuse the Harper government.
And I agreed that it would, if Harper was faced with opposition that was vigorously against him doing something. Instead they were against him doing nothing, so he did a little. Just not enough.

Holy mixing of metaphors!
I know, Robin. It was because of that "biff" from earlier!

fh said...

That letter highlighted by liberal supporter Feb 09 at 3:32 PM shows that the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper is a strong, decisive, and competent leader.

The Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper steps up to the plate and hits a home run everytime.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper basis his decisions on the concerns of the day. He is a forward thinker and is prepared to change his thinking on the hard issues when appropriate.

As a Canadian I am proud of the job that the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper and his Cabinet are doing and the excellent work they will continue to do for many years.

liberal supporter said...

It seems you didn’t read beyond the “socialist scheme” part.
I didn't read beyond the "so-called" part. If the science is bogus, and we're just trading hot air, then it's all just a big scam, right? The problems cited after are simply be more excuses to do nothing, while in fact "so-called" should be enough excuse. Maybe they weren't so sure it is really fake science?

If on the other hand, you approach it like any other thing, where crooks will try to cash in, then it is a question of fixing the problems to make it work.

Should we abandon capitalism because it is rife with scam artists? Even the US, after centuries of capitalism, is still fine tuning the system. Enron and sub-prime crisis stuff happens, and they try to tighten the rules. Why? Because the benefits are needed, and they just need to weed out the problems.

The emissions trading system of Kyoto was modeled on the Montreal Protocol for CFCs. That worked very well. It is a problem translating that success however. There are not many manufacturers of CFCs. Like all businesses, you have to balance your costs and income. You can make a major investment in something that reduces your cost, but you need to be able to calculate the payback so you can decide if borrowing the money at current rates will work. For CFCs someone gets the ball rolling by making the investment in better technology. The decision is affected by the fact they stop paying for someone else's CFC credits and can even sell their credits after the work is done. So someone does it, and starts selling instead of buying credits. As the economy naturally expands, the cap doesn't and so buying the credits gets more expensive, spurring others to make the investment.

That's the theory. I think for GHG emissions it needs to be modified, since there are emitters everywhere. I see no reason to send billions of dollars to the Russians, for example. We should be taking the money we would spend on credits, and instead spending it on our own emission reductions. However, there is a big difference between doing that and just quitting. Why make plans to reduce emissions by 2050, instead of staying with the treaty and just saying we won't convert any emission credit deficits to cash until 2050? We should have soaked up all the credit deficit by then anyway.


That's a little rich about "they would have done it anyway without selling offsets". So what? They make more money, and what do they do? Build more windmills. There's still some learning to be done in windmill technology so they can actually try more ideas and end up with better technology, if they have a better cash flow.

The enormous volume of corn required by the ethanol industry is sending shock waves through the food system.
Corn is being used for ethanol because it is already widely cultivated and so can be readily obtained as feedstocks. However, it is expected to be mainly a short term measure. You get about the same amount of energy from corn as you put in. Contrast that with switchgrass, which yields five times the energy you put in, and possibly more when you factor in the reduced cost of growing it. At one time, switchgrass covered the prairies and fed the bison. It grows in marginal soils.

So there are scams aplenty, and special interests trying to make a buck off it. Lots of problems too. What else is new? Why not point these out and get them fixed instead of sticking your head in the sand?

Gabby in QC said...

"Those bad old Russians!"

Who's being judgmental here?

You know, circular arguments belong in an environmentally friendly compost heap.

That's it, I'm done.
Declare victory, if it will make you feel good about yourself.

liberal supporter said...

"Those bad old Russians!"

Who's being judgmental here?

You are.

I pointed out when Kyoto actually came into effect, and as incidental information, mentioned it was the Russians who were the last needed signatory. The requirement for going into effect was "55 parties and at least 55% CO2 1990 emissions by UNFCCC Annex I parties." It just happened that the Russians put it over the top.

You then sneered "So Canada had to wait around for Russia before doing anything?". Great soundbite, but nowadays you need more than a sound bite.

You know, circular arguments belong in an environmentally friendly compost heap.
Your say so does not make my arguments circular.

That's it, I'm done.
Declare victory, if it will make you feel good about yourself.

And your passive aggressive attitude is unhelpful.

liberal supporter said...

That letter highlighted by liberal supporter Feb 09 at 3:32 PM shows that the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper is a strong, decisive, and competent leader.
He was great in opposition, wasn't he?

The Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper steps up to the plate and hits a home run everytime.
Yes, the Jays could really use him. They went downhill after Stephen Harper became an MP in 1993.

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper basis his decisions on the concerns of the day. He is a forward thinker and is prepared to change his thinking on the hard issues when appropriate.
Yes. Each day's polls do affect his decisions. He does look forward to gaining a majority and will change his position on any hard issue until he gets one.

As a Canadian I am proud of the job that the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper and his Cabinet are doing
I am too!

and the excellent work they will continue to do for many years.
He really was better in opposition, wasn't he? He could really hold the government of the day's feet to the fire without endangering all of our institutions.