Wednesday, July 02, 2008

New Kid on the Block

So Michael Byers has apparently decided to run in the next election, for the NDP, in Vancouver Centre.

He's a good catch for them and in fact on Human Rights issues I tend to agree with him often. He's also obviously well versed on the Arctic and the environment. It is for that reason that I find this comment by him, odd:

I’ve studied the various federal party policies on climate change. The NDP policy makes the most sense. And it respects individual citizens. The Liberals want to force Canadians to change their behaviour through taxes; the NDP wants to help Canadians to change with solutions.

He's obviously already got the language of a politician down pat as he ignores the fact that the NDP Cap and Trade plan takes longer to implement and that it too will place a price on carbon that consumers will feel. He also fails to acknowledge that the Lib's will help consumers to adjust to new habits by easing the pain at the front end through income tax cuts and the NDP have no such plan. He further fails to mention that he previously didn't seem to have any aversion to a carbon tax. Here for instance.

At the same time, Harper argues that a carbon tax and other market-based measures for curbing emissions would somehow damage the Canadian economy. But Norway, a major oil and gas exporter, introduced a carbon tax in 1991 and has seen its economy grow faster than Canada's ever since.

For this reason, one can't help but think that the Prime Minister is trying to create a wedge between the Conservatives as defenders of skeptical self-interest and economic responsibility, and the Liberals, NDP, Bloc Québécois and Greens on the side of environmental alarmism and fiscal imprudence.

Whatever his motives, Harper's stance is downright nasty. For rather than simply sitting on the sidelines, he's actively seeking to block urgent action on the part of other countries.

Or here.

On climate change, geography gives us the potential to be a leader in wind, solar, geothermal and tidal power. Let's change our tax system to favour sustainable energy sources, and stop the lunacy of unrestrained development in the Alberta oil sands. Let's recognize – as the Danes and Germans have – that those who make technological advances first, reap the greatest gains.

Fair enough, perhaps he changed his mind, or perhaps he just found his ideological fit in a broad sense and now must repeat their speaking points. Interestingly enough though, he has in the past described himself as a Red Tory, (in the tradition of John A. MacDonald and Diefenbaker), who now finds himself on the right-hand side of the NDP. I'm not sure that I follow that logic.

He's an interesting (though not a surprising) addition to the NDP team and I'm certain they are pleased as punch.

Now, let's see how he's treated by the press, specifically on the environment. Conservative columnists will be salivating to both attack and defend him, because after all, he's anti-Dion. Tough choice guy's. My bet is they'll ignore the story or twist it in such a way that they may want to consider a career change.

Pretzel makers are in demand I hear.

Update - It looks like Byers maybe had a change of heart when a seat wasn't guaranteed to him by the Lib's.


ottlib said...

I am certain his Liberal opponent in the next election will be certain to point out his reversal and ask to explain it.

knb said...

I'm sure she will ottlib but she must be well armed.

Byers takes no prisoners.

I just did a quick check to come up with his quotes. I hope the team in Vancouver Centre is doing more digging.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of pretzel:

I hear Byers only ran for the NDP only because the Liberals couldn’t give him a guaranteed nomination in West Vancouver.

One week he was for a carbon tax, and willing to run under it for Dion. The next week he is so against it that it has driven him to seek public office. lol.

catherine said...

At least some conservative bloggers had pegged Byers as an NDPer a while ago, see AGWN.

Some are describing him as a strong Harper opponent, but he'll be running in a riding with a sitting Liberal and a very strong Green candidate, Carr, already nipping at her heels. Some have described Carr as currently holding second place in this riding. It'll be an interesting race, but not exactly the place to weaken the Harper Conservatives.

old observer said...

Ottlib - his Liberal opponent is Hedy Fry, who I wouldn't exactly describe as unbeatable. Her arrogance has cost her dearly in the past and the NDP obviouslly smell blood. Yet another bad day for the Libs in the west.

Anonymous said...

Paul Wells says "Byers looks like a strong candidate for his party in that riding. And the NDP, in general, is doing a better job attracting moderately high-profile candidates than either of the larger parties."

sharonapple88 said...

Fry won 43.8% of the vote in 2006, 15.13% ahead of the second place candidate, Svend Robinson. It's not exactly going to be a cakewalk for her opponent.

Anonymous said...

National Newswatch asks in a headline today "Yet another NDP star candidate?" "Montreal's CBC Radio Noon host Anne Lagace-Dowson, is rumoured to be the NDP's star candidate for the Westmount-Ville Marie by-election....

The Liberal candidate is of course, Marc Garneau!"

The NDP are making some waves.

knb said...

anon, I added your point as an update. Thx

catherine, agreed. Not the ideal riding and Hedy has a fight here.

old're far to cynical. I hear that happens with age. I'm pulling your leg, I'm likely older than you.

anon...I like Wells and indeed I think he's correct when he say's the NDP is attracting talent. It would however be foolish to ignore who sit's in the Liberal seats.

Sharon, no, it won't be a cake walk and he's not Svend. She has to take this seriously imo.

Anon, I'm not that worried. Garneau has more weight.

I will say this though. The NDP seems to be going after star's and in Quebec specifically. Mulcair won't want to be out shone, yet he's likely behind these moves.

I hope we are making the same kind of effort in terms of gainng candidates that have something to say.

sharonapple88 said...

Sharon, no, it won't be a cake walk and he's not Svend. She has to take this seriously imo.

I hope she does. It bugs me, though, that there's the automatic assumption that she'll go down in the next election.

knb said...

Only by her opponents sharonapple and they imo will keep pushing their point.

It's up to her supporters to make that sure she addresses his arguments, then come out and support her.