Thursday, June 19, 2008

Contrasts

Watching Stephane Dion this morning I saw exactly what I'd hope to see.

Clearly he is committed, passionate and understands the issues. Aside from his devotion to the plan, the man himself stood in sharp contrast to our current PM. He was confident, thoughtful, funny, inspiring and generous in his praise for his team. Additionally, he spoke to Canadians with respect. Respect for their intelligence and respect for their desire to have a real conversation about the issues that face us. Above all, his integrity was on display.

Shortly after he spoke, Harper was of course questioned about the plan. In sharp contrast to Dion, he was belligerent, clearly worried about it, used intelligent language like, 'it's crazy! It's crazy economics and it's a crazy environmental plan.'

I guess he missed the news that environmentalists strongly endorse it, with the Sierra Club of Canada today, saying, 'We're delighted', 'Dion is showing real leadership', 'Well done Mr. Dion' . Or maybe Harper didn't realise that Jack Mintz, Marc Jaccard, The Conference Board of Canada and The Canadian Council of Chief Executives endorse such plans.

Facts are of no use to this PM, because of course he's got nothing to offer. The only 3rd party endorsement for the Con plan comes from deniers, or Harper devotees.

As I've said before, this will not be simple to sell, but the website looks promising and includes a calculator to help people understand the implications of the plan in their own lives.

So, there will be work ahead, but today I saw a PM so terrified of the implications of a solid plan all he could do was resort to yelling and attack.

Conversely, I saw Dion ready show leadership and take on the challenge.

Speech.

38 comments:

RuralSandi said...

Damn - I only caught glimpses of his speech - the cable kept going in and out....but DAMN when Harper was on the cable was okay...do you think Harper planned it that way?

I caught the part where Dion joked about his Australian and laughed -it was a cute, warm laugh -- he needs to do this more often.

I hope CPAC will carry it later on.

Harper looked totally out of control when the press kept asking him about it....is he falling apart? He does run and hide when things get tough.

Steve V said...

Knb

I thought Harper was pretty revealing actually. He became quite animated, and you could see his anger coming through at one point. I'm watching the Con reaction today, and I must say they have made a miscalculation. Kenney's lame one liners looked even more juvenile, on a day when seriousness was clearly on display.

Some will scoff, but I think they are really worried about this plan and the reactions today tended to support that.

Steve V said...

"I hope CPAC will carry it later on."

What is with CPAC anyways? Can't they break away for a full press conference once in a while, instead of showing us one MP in Parliament, talking to nobody. Why not show the entire Dion presser, something else more important going on today?

knb said...

sandi, I thought I saw a notice this morning on CPAC that they were going to carry it, then it disappeared.

The NDP, those fair guys that want a serious debate, moved a motion to call a vote while Dion was speaking, so it may be in their mandate that they must cover the vote.

That said, I imagine it may run again, but so far nothing on the schedule. I presume the Lib site will have it soon.

Harper did look out of control and to be honest, I felt really uncomfortable seeing the depth of his anger.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see Harper, but I did see/hear Dion. I really had a hard time understanding him. To me, he appeared quite wooden. No matter how wonderful his speeches may be, he really, really has to get his English under control. It doesn't matter how great an idea is if people cannot understand him.

knb said...

I agree completely Steve.

It was obvious to me that this has really caught Harper off guard.

btw, why the hell is Kenney answering environment questions?

He like Poilievre, PVL and Del Mastro is just another attack dog.

Dion is lifting the discussion and the Con's remain in the gutter.

(btw, did anyone else know that Harper was going to make an announcement today?)

See my comment to Sandi re' cpac.

knb said...

anon...sorry pal, that idiotic argument simply doesn't fly anymore.

If you can't understand him, you've got a real problem.

knb said...

Sandi, I added a link to the speech at the bottom of my post.

knb said...

Oh good grief I'm listening to it and Bob Fife cut's in. Hang in through that.

Steve V said...

"To me, he appeared quite wooden."

LMAO. That was the best I've seen Dion since he took the helm. He was the antithesis of wooden, very animated, very passionate and I was genuinely impressed with his English.

Man, these trolls really do have nothing...

Anonymous said...

I've actually gotten to like Dion's accent. Whenever I am reading something that quotes him I kind of read with that accent in mind ... and it is kind of fun.

MD said...

I'm pretty happy with Dion's proposal, despite the fears of the Liberal caucus. The next election will be interesting if this becomes the central issue. The Cons will have superior marketing and more aggressive spin, and the Libs will have superior public policy.

I agree with the "nervous nellies" in the caucus that the Libs will likely pay a price for being bold. It's not going to be as easy a policy to sell as the GST cut was for the Cons. But I guess it goes back to the question of whether you believe politics should be about ideas and innovation or simply about destroying your opponents. Perhaps with some actual policy to debate, the media might focus more on the direction of the country rather than Dion's English or the crankiness of the LPC's Quebec wing.

RuralSandi said...

Well, here's something refreshing. Dion was on Mike Duffy's show - Duffy reminded him that when Ignatieff talked about a Green Tax Dion said he would never do that - guess what Dion said?

He said - yes, I did say that - but I've changed my mind. I can't remember the exact words but it went something like when he found a way that it would be much of a burden on Canadians he changed his mind. "Honesty" - can you believe it - actual honesty folks.

Dion wooden? Ah, Harper isn't? Harper's like a push button store front dummy - push button one- moves head to the left, button 2 head to the right - button 3 moves body....

I have a hearing problem and I'm find I understand Dion better than I did before - if I can, anyone can.

RuralSandi said...

would be much of a burden on Canadians - whoa I better clear this one up s/b "wouldn't be much of a burden......"

Sorry

knb said...

steve: Man, these trolls really do have nothing...

Just like the man they adore. Could be Harper, could be Layton. One never knows these days, though the NDP usually speak to specific points.

knb said...

anon @4:54, do you really do that?

While, I don't specifically do it with Dion but I thought I was the only one on the planet to do that.

Thanks for a refreshing thought.

knb said...

md, The Cons will have superior marketing and more aggressive spin, and the Libs will have superior public policy.

I suppose it depends how you define superior, but if I take your point you are referring to $ availability. That said, the quality of what they produce, (on this subject to date), is the ridiculous.

I agree with you that it will be tough going, but disagree that they will pay the price.

I really do think most Canadians are ahead of the rhetoric on this issue and if the Con's continue the attack without substance, the Lib's will continue to own the issue.

But I guess it goes back to the question of whether you believe politics should be about ideas and innovation or simply about destroying your opponents.

Exactly! I think only about 30% of Canadians believe your latter point.

knb said...

Sandi, like anyone living in a dynamic world with dynamic circumstances, most of us evolve in our thinking.

Dion's integrity is just another very important distinction, between him and Harper. Think about the lies that Harper has spewed since taking office.

I'm glad you understood him Sandi. I think some people are uncomfortable with the fact that his accent in english is not a classic Quebec accent. It's not Chretien, or LaPierre, or Coderre '-like'. It's more Quebec City with some parisian tones mixed in.

Hmmm, I wonder if the Con's understand Sarkozy when he speaks english?

Anyway, it's a bogus argument and one that after today certainly has no validity, unless of course you've never heard anyone with an accent.

Steve V said...

"Just like the man they adore."

Knb, did you catch the part of Harper's presser, where he became angry, saying the Liberals were bereft of ideas, they have nothing to offer? Pretty funny, considering, this from the party that needs the summer to have a policy conference, the same party who ran out of steam last spring, with NOTHING on the table. Amazing.

knb said...

I did Steve and that confirmed to me that Dion has done the right thing.

They have NOTHING.

jarrid said...

For the first time in living memory my overall taxes are coming down, not by much mind you but it is noticeable and is helping me get my debt load down as I watch my expenses.

Now this guy comes along and wants to raise my taxes and is practically bragging about it? Look it's not even 24 hours and Dion has all but admitted that this tax is not revenue neutral.

Repeat after me: not revenue neutral. This guy wants to raise my taxes and my blood is boiling.

Paul Wells seems to think that people don't mind tax increases but he must be on easy street with no sense of how the struggling middle class lives. The struggling middle class, you know the one that decides elections in this country.

ottlib said...

Hey jarrid, I noticed that you are bouncing all over the Liblogs tonight peddling this "indebted middle class" crap.

It is interesting that you have chosen tonight of all nights to visit these sites. After all, I have never seen your posts before.

Your not just some Conservative troll trying to sound like a non-partisan concerned citizen are you?

Of course not.

Usually jarrid I ignore people like you because you are so boring and predictable. However, what the hell, here it goes.

If you read the Green Shift plan jarrid you would note that your income taxes will be reduced. That will give you greater take home pay and put more money in your pocket, which should help you with your debts.

Of course, the tax on carbon could cause the price of petroleum products to rise, which could eat into those tax breaks.

So if you want to reduce that then you have to make some choices. Take public transit, wear a sweater in the winter time and shorts and a tee-shirt in the summer. If you are unwilling to make those choices then too f***ing bad. It is not the place of government to finance your chosen lifestyle.

If you will allow me to rant for a minute it really frosts my cookies when I hear Conservatives say the government has no business interfering in the economic lives of Canadians in one breath. And then in the very next breath they demand that government finance their lifestyles with tax cuts.

Here is a neat idea. Take responsibility for yourself and stop expecting government to save you from making those tough choices we all have to make.

There, my rant is done.

Cap and Trader said...

The NDP environment critic, Mr. Mulcair, is making mincemeat of Dion's carbon tax. The NDP looks like they're going to go for Dion's throat on this similar to what the NDP is doing provincially with the B.C. Liberal's carbon tax.

Jarrid, I think the Liberals will admit that it's not revenue neutral but they'll say it's going to be applied fairly which isn't quite the same - the battle will be on whether it's fair to the middle class in suburbia which is where the next election will be fought.

ottlib said...

knb:

I think we should all take Steve's advice from a few weeks ago.

Ignore the Conservative and NDP partisans. No matter how much we try they will never be convinced of the efficacy of the Green Shift.

Mr. Dion and the Liberals need to talk to that mushy middle in Canada who do not support any particular party. That is the audience for this plan and there is a certain amount of evidence out there that they are willing to listen to this plan and judge it on its merits.

jarrid said...

Ottlib - I'm skeptical about this like I am of any major government intervention in the economy. I'm also skeptical on what this is supposed to accomplish at the end of the day. If a government policy is mismanaged but has a laudable goal that's one thing. If it is a high stakes program and I daresay we can agree that this one is, then the goal has to make sense. We are being asked to sacrifice our way of life while China continues to dump carbon emissions that make ours a proverbial drop in the bucket. This will not save our planet. It will result in pointlessness pain. Voters such as me don't like that. Most voters don't like that.

Anyway, I intend to read this thing and listen to enlightened minds to see what they think.

Steve V said...

"The NDP environment critic, Mr. Mulcair, is making mincemeat of Dion's carbon tax."

I thought he sounded like an angry Con today, he was like a thinner Kenney. That wasn't effective at all, Cullen looked dejected.

Lots of bravado, but I honestly sense worry, hence the over the top reactions. Mulclair really tipped that for me today.

Joseph said...

Ottlib,

I think you are on to jarrid. Even in saying he intends to study the plan, he launches two or three veins of argument.

Perhaps their probing for creating the next talking points. I say that only half-way joking.

Gayle said...

"Clearly he is committed, passionate and understands the issues. Aside from his devotion to the plan, the man himself stood in sharp contrast to our current PM. He was confident, thoughtful, funny, inspiring and generous in his praise for his team. Additionally, he spoke to Canadians with respect. Respect for their intelligence and respect for their desire to have a real conversation about the issues that face us. Above all, his integrity was on display."

Harper promised to do politics differently. Instead he has demonstrated that he can be as corrupt as any politician who came before him.

Dion, on the other hand, makes no such promises. And yet, here he is doing things differently. Not just talking about integrity and accountability, but also demonstrating it in his actions.

I hope Canadians are able to see this. He may not be the best politician, but he is clearly a smart and honourable man, and he would be a great PM.

Gayle said...

sandi - I particularly liked the part when Dion asked Duffy if he thought it was smart of Dion not to have called an election earlier.

Clearly he was right to wait. Duffy had no answer to that one!

Anonymous said...

I am on a trip in California and I Got My BEST Birthday gift From Dion!!! What else can I say to show how HAPPY I AM WITH THESE NEWS?
Thanks For showing all .Too Bad I missed the actual day in parlament.
Marta

Ryan said...

It's too bad that all of this stuff is just political theatre.

Seems to me that neither the Liberal nor the NDP plan will cut greenhouse gases enough to make a difference, nor "save the environment."

knb said...

Good advice ottlib. I'll try, but sometimes it just gets the better of you,;).

knb said...

Steve, Mulcair can be a pit bull, there is no question.

What bothered me today was how factually wrong he was. He doesn't usually do that and tends to fight by sticking to the facts.

I think both Layton and Harper were sideswiped.

knb said...

I hope Canadians are able to see this. He may not be the best politician, but he is clearly a smart and honourable man, and he would be a great PM.

I think Harper's response to this plan will make that much easier for Canadians to see Gayle.

knb said...

ryan, I don't think this is political theatre for Dion.

Neither plan is a quick fix, to be sure, but pricing carbon is the first necessary step.

knb said...

Marta, I'm glad you got a chance to see it even from California.

Ryan said...

"ryan, I don't think this is political theatre for Dion."

It's all political theatre, knb. If it wasn't we would have a drastic plan that would assess the problem immediately. Our whole system of governance has become a supremely depressing drama.

Will it lower our greenhouse gases in time to avoid ecological catastrophe? I guess we'll see. I'm highly skeptical on that point and can't see any political party having the political chutzpah to implement the necessary solutions.

Anonymous said...

I Big Bold step to the right Directio that is how I see it.
Will this put the climate change for a halt? No. But Intelligent and honest try to face it..and do what can be done step by steps . just like we need to face in our personal life our worst habits and tame it . The truth is always simple. Harper's "all is well"is the Big Lie and Canadians know it ..

marta