Sunday, May 18, 2008

Thinking, Thinking...Hmmm, Maybe I Can Get Max's Job?

It's obviously early days, (earlier than early really), but further to my post yesterday about Dion and the tax shift he is proposing, it would seem that so far the conversation is headed in the right direction.

I think the Con's probably felt they had swept the Environment issue off the table and in a way they had. They threw around lofty terms that meant nothing really, chose Baird to spend more time excoriating the Lib's than actually doing anything concrete and called it a day.

Their followers bought it, but no one else did and realising that it was futile to argue with the government because they were deaf on the matter, the public conversation died down.

Dion has injected a new component into the debate that once again has people talking. Not only is that a good thing, based on what CPC MP's are saying, I think it's the Con's biggest nightmare.

I suspect that many Environmentalists will be contacted to react to this idea over the next few weeks, especially once it's finally announced and depending on what the plan ends up being, I'm pretty certain it will be endorsed.

We saw the first go-round of that playing out on Question Period today. Baird, blustered and sputtered and of course told us exactly what Dion was going to do, ignoring the fact of course that Dion himself hasn't said what he is going.

You can see where the Con's intend to take this. They begin by pointing out that Dion has changed his plan a few times. The suggestion being of course, that he is indecisive. It always makes me laugh when Con's bring up such arguments. It's such a validation of the fact that they are incapable of evolving and adapting to changing circumstances.

They then suggest that Dion cannot be trusted with tax dollars, because after all he has $64B hole that he has to fill. Umm, perhaps John forgets that a policy platform will be costed.

He then links Dion with favouring big business at the expense of the middle class . (Note, he almost slips and says that his party wants to go after big oil, lol). Well listen for yourself. He talks an awful lot but says nothing.

Conversely, David Suzuki was praising Dion's idea while condemning the Con non- plan. Baird can present his plan as something it's not as much as he likes. He will now once again be called out on it, not just by the Lib's, but by those who know. Who will Baird get to defend their non-plan I wonder? They can't go back to trotting out climate change deniers, they've now spent too much time chanting, we believe!

As was mentioned on the show the NDP may not fair too well here either. It's one thing to disagree with the Lib plan but if the experts come out for it, well, the NDP will are going to be arguing with them too. That's a rather bizarre spot for the NDP to be. Additionally, people like Jane Taber who see only black and white, will continue to lump the NDP and the Con's together, which is rather interesting in itself.

Finally, I think we have only seen the very tip of the iceberg here. I'm thinking/hoping that Dion's plan is not going to be restricted to simply a revenue neutral carbon tax, but likely include reinvestment, cap and trade and other ideas that will make it both palatable and difficult to criticise.

Time will tell of course, but in the meantime it's great to see the debate back on again and it's also nice to see the narrative walk away from weak leadership, to a bold and courageous move by Dion.

Oh, and if there really are nervous Lib's in the caucus, how about using that energy to develop strategy to sell this plan rather than criticise it? The next election isn't going to be a cakewalk any way you cut it and this at least puts something substantial in the mix that will expose the Con's fraudulant claims on this file.


Anonymous said...

Knb I just copied my whole post from Steve's place just in case he deletes it. I'm only answering your post from Steve's place here it goes.

"I look forward to your comments when this strategy wins."

I don't have to comment when this strategy wins knb,because it will not
work period. Just look at history from my post 6:59 post.

Example remember all the experts that came out in favor of Kyoto?
It didn't change one Iota when it came to the Canadian people saying who is the better leader and which party the people would vote for.

You give me one example Knb in recent history of our country where a major political party proposed a new tax during an election campaign and won.

Please don't tell me that this will be revenue neutral,because no-one in their right mind will buy this.

Everytime a government has come up with a tax they have always took in more then what they gave out.

Let us say that it will
be revenue neutral for argument sake alright.
That is 17 billion$ from the Carbon tax and 17 billion$ in lowering our income fine.

Now the carbon tax is supposed change people habits right. Let us say it works and changes our habits. We stop using all energies that uses carbon. This would mean that the government would not receive the 17 billion $ from the carbon tax,but still lower our income by 17 billion $ this to me spells deficit my friend. Now you know why I don't buy in this notion of revenue neutral.

RuralSandi said...

Excuse me - but how in hell can people like "right is where...." make a judgment with figures to boot when Dion has presented all of the details of the plan?

Doesn't make any sense whatsoever - would you sign a contract before you read the details?

I'm for hearing what Dion's full plan is before making any judgment - but whatever it is, obviously Baird, et al are worried because they are out in full attack mode - yet they don't know what it is. How pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Let me ask you the same question RuralSandi. How can anyone support this plan if Mr.Dion hasn't made it public then?

I can tell you why I have a major problem supporting it. Its because people in is own caucus have a problem with it that's why. You don't think that the people in his caucus don't know the plan RuralSandi?

I do believe there are people in his caucus worried about this plan,because if their weren't the liberals would be all over the place denying it.

RuralSandi said...

You don't know diddly about the people in his caucus "Right where...". They may be worried that Canadians are afraid of change - not that the plan isn't any good.

You listen to Harper's misleading statements and info far too much.

I think Canadians may be ready - and many want to hear the plan before making judgment.

I didn't say I supported it or not support it - I said I want to hear it. It would be the intelligent way to deal with it. I sure wouldn't listen to Baird and the other CPC bobbleheads - that would be stupid.

The only exercise some people get is jumping to conclusions.

Karen said...

Right, until there is a concrete plan, I don't think it does any good to lay out doomsday scenarios as and members of the CPC have done.

Baird risks looking even more foolish than he already does by telling us how much gasoline, etc. will rise.

I don't know yet if I support the actual plan, I haven't seen it. I do know that I support the concept and while it is a risky move, I also support Dion having the courage to bring it forward.

Are there people in the caucus who are antsy? Probably, but I take such reports with a grain of salt. That can range for people knee-jerk reacting without sufficient information, to old thinkers who aren't able to break out of dated strategy.

To be frank, I don't care if their are some who don't agree, I expect them to rally and support the Leader.

You don't really believe that the CPC is united on all things do you?

Karen said...

sandi I think Canadians may be ready - and many want to hear the plan before making judgment.

I do think timing is everything here sandi. I would agree that Canadians may be ready for such a plan and even more than that, I think they will be ready for someone who does politics differently.

RuralSandi said...

Well, that didn't take long - Stephen Taylor, Blogging Tories - is trying to question Suzuki now.

Do they ever stop trying to trash, bash and question anyone who has a different point of view? It's pathetic.

RuralSandi said...

I think you're right KNB - we desperatley need politics done differently. We have a dictator in the making here - and what happened to accountability?:

Parliament, CSIS exempt from contracts scrutiny

Ombudsman created by Accountability Act won't have power to review contracts with MPs, ministers

May 19, 2008 04:04 PM
Tim Naumetz

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his cabinet have exempted contracts with Parliament and Canada's spy agency from oversight by a new ombudsman's post that was central to the 2006 Conservative election campaign.

The government slipped the exemptions through last week in regulations that empower the contract procurement ombudsman under the Accountability Act – flagship legislation the government introduced as its first bill soon after taking office.

Opposition MPs were taken by surprise at the exemptions, saying they were unaware the Senate, the House of Commons and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service would be excluded from the ombudsman's statutory duty to review contracts for "fairness, openness and transparency."

The exemptions also mean anyone who has a complaint about contracts to supply goods or services to Parliament – including contracts with offices of MPs, senators or CSIS, will be unable to have them reviewed by the ombudsman.

NDP MP Pat Martin, who was crucial to the Conservative government's success at getting the accountability bill through the Commons, says he would not have allowed the exemptions to go through had he been aware of them at the time.

"I can't imagine any justification for exemptions or exclusions," he said. "We enthusiastically supported this and at no time were we made aware that there would be exemptions or exclusions from it."

The move to keep the ombudsman out of the affairs of Parliament and the national security agency is the latest in a series of government measures and controversies the opposition says contradict the spirit of the accountability law.

The prime minister was criticized immediately upon taking office when he named the Quebec co-chair of the Conservative election campaign, Michael Fortier, to his cabinet and appointed him to the Senate where he is out of reach of opposition scrutiny through question period in the House of Commons.

As public works minister, Fortier is responsible for billions of dollars worth of contracts the government awards each year and was also responsible for steering the regulations empowering the procurement ombudsman through cabinet.

Harper's anger over the opposition's refusal to endorse his nomination of a friend and party supporter, Calgary oil baron Gwyn Morgan, as head of a new commission for federal appointments has led to the prime minister's refusal to put the commission in place to independently screen cabinet appointments to government posts.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has been under opposition attack after his former chief of staff, who went on to a government appointment, broke government tendering rules when he awarded a well-connected Tory an untendered $122,000 contract to write the 2007 budget speech.

The government has also come under fire for eliminating a database containing a massive historical list of government documents that have been released under the Access to Information Act. The database had been widely used by academics, researchers and journalists.

The contract-oversight regulations say the ombudsman "shall not" perform the duties and functions of his office in regard to contracts with "the Canadian Security Intelligence Service; and the staff of the Senate and the House of Commons." Those are the only exemptions listed in the regulations.

Liberal MP Mark Holland was also unaware of the exemptions, saying "I don't think there's any good reason for it." He added if CSIS contracts were excluded for security reasons, sensitive information could be examined privately.

"If the concern is privacy or security concerns, those same concerns surely would exist within the defence department," he said. "As for MPs and senators, that information should be available to the challenge."

The head of a lobby group that has monitored Harper's record on his campaign promise of more accountability says all independent monitoring offices should have the power to scrutinize Parliament.

"The way to do things differently is to extend all of the accountability laws to politicians and they haven't done that with the Access to Information Act, the auditor general, whistle-blower protection or this case of procurement," said Democracy Watch co-ordinator Duff Conacher.

Conservative MP James Moore, the parliamentary secretary for Fortier who answers questions on his behalf in the Commons, declined to answer questions about the procurement ombudsman, referring a journalist to the Public Works Department's web site. Its page for the ombudsman contains only a telephone number and mailing address for contact.

A media officer with the public works department e-mailed a response to questions, saying the government exempted CSIS because ``knowledge of their procurement could compromise their operations."

"An exemption is also made for procurement by the Senate and the House of Commons because of the special legal status of these organizations," said spokesperson Lucie Brosseau.

The cabinet earlier this month appointed former assistant auditor general Shahid Minto as the procurement ombudsman for a five-year term. Minto is also a former chief risk officer for the public works department.

....unbelievable - if the CPC supporters find this okay, something is terribly wrong.

Karen said...

Sandi, no they never do stop bashing.

I saw the Taylor post and thought exactly the same thing.

After the Dallaire example I thought these guys would throw their own family to the wolves if they thought it would keep them safe.

I also saw the article you referenced. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it and what it means.

I know Harper is a hypocrite, I know he is fahioning this government to suit his needs...that he is bloody getting away with it is making me crazy.

How is he doing that? With the support of his hypocrite supporters. It's astonishing really. How can so many people look the other way as this man makes them out to be dupes?

What's clear to me is that most Harper followers have no idea of who he is and what he aspires to...let alone how he will acheive it.

Steve V said...

"from Steve's place just in case he deletes it."

I prefer culling.

RuralSandi said...

Well, you know what they say - dogs that bark the most - are afraid the most.