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Mulcair-led NDP (thread #11)

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Boom Boom
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Yes - but is the new law that Charest brought forward last night part of "Section 93 of the constitution makes schools the exclusive domain of the provinces." I think it's more to do with civil rights. Mulcair can at least condemn that - no?


socialdemocrati...
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KenS wrote:

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

Before, the mainstream media had framed the debate as "the economy vs the environment". And the economy always won. Something about a giant recession, about Conservatives representing a focus on "pocketbook issues" and "managing the crisis". Something about the rise of the West, and the value the oil sands poses to the rest of Canada.

Now, I still see the same oil company shills beating the drum. But I also see enough commentators beating the opposite drum.

Who is doing that? Articles from Jim Stanford and other usual suspects- writers who would rush to support, no matter what. So that tells us nothing about what is brewing out there.

Look to Paul Wells, Chantal Hebert, Andrew Coyne, Bruce Anderson and the like. These are people with their own biases and so forth, but who acknowledge the substance of what is happening. They arent driven by their pre-dispositions. Any one of them is often off the wall. But if you are doing something for which you can expect to be making gains, at least one of them is going to say so. They are all either saying nothing about what Mulcair is doing, or scratching their heads- "how is this supposed to work for the NDP?"

If you cant buy that kind of metric, then something other than what the people are saying who would come to your aid no matter how bad things looked.


socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

I suppose I could concede that we're not winning this issue. But we're not losing either. The polls are probably oblivious to this issue, and if anything, it's giving us a boost.

Polling is not going to show effects, if any, for quite a while.

And I would argue that the potential damage, if it comes, will not be in the near future.

That what we are seeing now is a pre-cursor. [And what we are seein now, is not over yet. Even for me, certain it is not going well so far, the horses are not in yet.]

Your notion that if anything it will give us a boost is based on what?


socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

It's Harper who is on the defense. This is a direct challenge to the idea that Harper represents reliable, objective financial management. You do have a few conservatives who have found the dismissive "ah, Mulcair's just being divisive, he'd better apologize" defense. But you have a lot of conservatives who are now trying to explain their way around the Dutch Disease. There are plenty of articles about the actual substance of the debate, and you don't have to look on Rabble to find them. Mulcair is keeping the pressure on: "we're not against any province, we're for sustainable development everywhere. Why is Harper so silent?"

Sorry, but I think the notion that Harper is on the defensive is positively delusional. I will readily conced that my understanding of the trouble in this may be extreme. But Harper, defensive on this?  ??

Its only a direct challenge to Harper's strong points if you beleive as Mulcair must that you can lecture your way into winning this one. People need to disabuse themselves of that.

It is possible to win that argument. But you dont win it by having the best lecture. At best, lectruing on this has no effect. At worst, it sends things the other way. And so far, Mulcair has just delivered a lecture... which is not so far getting through as the primary message.

So what is it Harper is supposed to be on the defense about?

He's in his lair, rubbing his hands in glee. Waiting for the right moment to strike. So far, they are just trash talking to keep the story going.

 

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

The dual concepts of the dutch disease and sustainable development are entering the broader conversation. It's gone from unthinkable and radical, to sensible and reasonable. It's only a hop skip and a jump to making it the basis for a new economic policy. But it doesn't happen overnight.

We agree that this doesnt happen overnight. And I have said many times that it isnt expected to have sprung forth in front of as soon as Mulcair tosses it out on the stage. The question is whether we are moving in the right direction.

Most of the appearances of 'sustainable development' have been quotes of Mulcair embedded in the stories of the storm he has stirred up. They dont have magical powers. In the context they are getting out there, no one is being exposed to or learning anything they didnt already know. If they didnt get it before, nothing is being added now.

"Dutch disease" has entered the parlance. But it is as 'that thing Mulcair talks about'. Which in turn is....

 

I'm just not seeing this backlash that you're talking about.

I agree that lecturing is only going to work on a small subset of the population. Most people *aren't* following the details of the debate. But why would you put more weight behind what Mulcair's Conservative critics are saying? If you look at all the debate proportionally, all people are getting is "there's a debate about the tar sands." Even the names you're talking about -- the Chantal Heberts of the world -- are representing Mulcair's opinion pretty fairly, and giving it significant support.

The conversation has already changed. People were struggling with "do we vote with our environmental conscience, or for out pocketbooks?" But now the economic downside of the oil sands are actually being covered. Even most of our opponents, by arguing that the oil revenues are making up for the damage to the manufacturing sector, are helping our cause by making people wonder "oh shit, is oil money hurting our manufacturing?"

This IS moving public opinion, or at least it will. People in the middle who haven't voted Conservative or NDP (or at least, haven't done so enthusiastically) are thinking "ah, I already had a problem with the tar sands on an environmental level, and now I hear it might actually be hurting our economy too." And just by virtue of who the NDP voters are, guaranteed there are fewer New Democrats thinking "what?! I love the oil sands! Screw Mulcair!" than there are Conservatives who are realizing "huh. I voted Conservative because I trust them on the economy, but I'm starting to have doubts."

Again, you might say we're not winning. But then, it's just as reasonable (if not moreso) to say that we're not losing. The debate goes through multiple phases.


Boom Boom
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kropotkin1951 wrote:

Boom Boom here is what I get from his statements. For instance in his aside to you he seems to imply that someone like you who admits to not being part of the Orange Wave should just shut your pie hole. I suspect he might not have remembered that you were a BQ supporter.  Now the other quote seems to be addressed to people like me who have worked for the party for decades but don't show the proper devotion to our new saviour.

Heh. I think he wants us all to STFU and bow down before his superior wisdom. Laughing


socialdemocrati...
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Boom Boom wrote:

Yes - but is the new law that Charest brought forward last night part of "Section 93 of the constitution makes schools the exclusive domain of the provinces." I think it's more to do with civil rights. Mulcair can at least condemn that - no?

I didn't catch the new law from last night. Just looked into it. That really sucks. But it's a new development, and it might take time before he has a chance to respond, let alone figures out an appropriate response. Keep in mind that "property and civil rights" is the exclusive domain of the Provinces, which is balanced (of course) with the notion that free expression is the constitutional law of the whole country.


Boom Boom
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Yes - give Mulcair time to respond to the new law. I posted a link to Mulcair responding to the student strike in his May 8th interview. I'll repost it.

ETA: Here it is: NDP's policy on Quebec student unrest: more federal cash for education  (CP)

excerpt:

MONTREAL - The leader of the federal NDP says his party's position on the student crisis rattling Quebec is perfectly clear: it wants more federal money for post-secondary education.

Tom Mulcair bristles at the suggestion that he's forbidden his younger members from taking sides in the dispute over tuition - a charge levelled at him by opponents in his home province, particularly those of the left-leaning sovereigntist variety.

Mulcair says his caucus is united and that young New Democrat MPs, some of whom were university students just last year, understand their new role as federal politicians.

And that role doesn't involve weighing in on Quebec provincial debates, Mulcair says, even if his party now holds the bulk of the province's seats and is seen as its voice in Ottawa.

As a federal opposition party, Mulcair says the NDP responsibility is to critique the Harper government's performance on the education file and maintain pressure for investment.

"Our fight is not with the Charest government," said Mulcair, who served as a minister in Premier Jean Charest's cabinet.

"Our fight is to make sure that the federal government does its job of spending more with regards to post-secondary education," he added in an interview with The Canadian Press this week.

Any attempt to wade directly into the dispute would come with political risks for the NDP.

excerpt:

The issue hits close to home for some in the NDP caucus. At least five Quebec NDP MPs were students in the province before being elected last year, and several others were recent graduates.

When asked whether his rookie MPs were actually allowed to speak out about Quebec's ongoing student strife, Mulcair simply said the file was his own.

In naming his shadow cabinet, Mulcair made himself the intergovernmental affairs critic - which means that issue and any other issue relating to Quebec falls on his plate.

"I'm the spokesman on it," Mulcair said in Monday's interview. "I'm the intergovernmental affairs spokesman in our caucus so it's my file."


Doug
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I don't see why Mulcair should be wasting time on provincial issues. Let Jean Charest hang himself and focus on the Conservatives.


kropotkin1951
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Good thing that there is no election on the horizon.  imagine if he had to deal with the day to day pressure of an election campaign and the minefields that appear out of nowhere.  I hope he soon learns to make decisions and respond to breaking events in a timely fashion and certainly before the next election.


kropotkin1951
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The emergence of the police state in Canada is a matter under exclusive provincial jurisdiction. Who could have known?  Tell me are there no RCMP and CSIS agents running around Quebec investigating and infiltrating student groups? That would truly make it a distinct culture.

 


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

Exactly - what's not to understand about that.

Doug wrote:

I don't see why Mulcair should be wasting time on provincial issues. Let Jean Charest hang himself and focus on the Conservatives.


NorthReport
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Now this is indeed a problem.

Supreme Court justice retires, giving Harper chance to appoint majority

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/supreme-court-justice-retir...


NorthReport
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Quite the difference having a Left-of-Centre head of state, eh!

Hollande pledges to end French combat role in Afghanistan, but support country in another way

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/hollande-pledges-to-end-french-co...


NorthReport
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Well said!

Time for a great debate

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/Time+great+debate/6642528/story....

Voiced concerns about NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair's view on Alberta's oilsands have had little to do with its veracity and more to do with whether he is shooting the NDP in the foot or whether Alberta is again under attack by Eastern muckamucks.

What should concern us is whether there is anything to Mulcair's claim that unprecedented investment in Fort McMurray is creating economic imbalance in Canada.

Mulcair says the oilsands are oversubscribed in large part because environmental costs are not adequately accounted for and the costs of setting up shop there are lowballed. As a result, he claims, the Canadian dollar is artificially inflated, manufacturing jobs are being lost and Canada remains a branch-plant, relatively undeveloped economy.


quizzical
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i don't want the official opposition or the federal government weighin in on what's happen in Quebec. it's students and people's of Quebec matter to deal with. as it is now.

IMV the only thing Mulcair should be doin is saying the federal gov. needs to fund PS Ed for those that need it. and then start fighting for it.

i'd like to see a national education plan. starting at  pre-school.


kropotkin1951
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NorthReport wrote:

Quite the difference having a Left-of-Centre head of state, eh!

Washington Post wrote:

But his words following his meeting with Obama indicated a compromise could be likely to shift French troops away from combat roles, but leave some French presence in Afghanistan in another form.

Seems to be indistinguishable from Harper's policy that is supported by the NDP and a continuation of the policy of Sarkosy. Considering that the French troops have been doing mostly training for some time the only question is what does it mean to withdraw all your troops except trainers when most of your troops already are trainers?

Quote:

The French president immediately suspended all military operations on the ground and sent his defence minister, Gerard Longuet, to Kabul to investigate whether conditions were safe enough for French troops to operate.

"If the security conditions are not clearly established then the question of an early return of French forces from Afghanistan will arise," Sarkozy said. "The French army is in Afghanistan at the service of the Afghans, against terrorism and against the Taliban. The French army is not in Afghanistan so that Afghan soldiers can shoot at them."

France plays a key role in training the new Afghan national security forces and a sudden withdrawal could result in a major setback for the US-led Nato coalition, particularly if other troop-contributing nations follow suit.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/20/france-threatens-troop-withd...


Ippurigakko
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Gee James Moore tweeted:
"Interesting that the #NDP not backing down on oilsands or on UN rapporteur. Canadians will have a real choice in 2015"

 

Canadian already have a REAL choice and vote NDP in 2015! he will be completely shocking! Bwahaha!


Vansterdam Kid
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Interesting tweet indeed. Though James Moore won his seat handily last time, he ought to be careful as he could get swept away. I think he's used of the Cons opponents being push overs.

I'm a bit late to this party since I've missed the 60 or 70 posts in the last few hours, but KenS mentioned something about the BC NDP not joining with Mulcair on this or finding Mulcair's positioning unhelpful. I disagree.

A) The BC NDP has come out very explicitly against the pipelines. Whether they're against exportation of oil sands Oil is irrelevent, for various reasons including what social democratic centre said about not getting involved in fights that are not ones own (although I'd suspect that they buy into the petrodollar argument due to the effect it has on other exports). What is relevent is the interprovincial angle. If Albertans want to take a dump in their own kitchen, great, let them. If they want to spread it all over our kitchen, no thanks, which is why they've come out explicitly against the pipelines. In fact other local actors have too, such as First Nations, mayors and newspaper columists who don't lean NDP in the slightest.

B) Why would the BC NDP mention anything on exportation and the effect on the Canadian dollar? Let other actors take that on because...

C) It distracts from their provincial message about Christy Clark not defending BC's interests. When Clark takes Harper's side in this fight, or is neutral on the pipeline issue (by trying to buy time) it makes her look even more ineffectual than normal and helps position her (as A24 mentioned) as Harper's assistant. If it's bad to be the Ottawa boogeyman it's worse to carry Ottawa's water.


6079_Smith_W
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@ VK

Again, I don't think the problem is criticizing the environmental threat of the oil sands. I think the party should be on board with holding that industry to account.

The two things I object to are 

1) Framing it as "oil sands versus manufacturing" when in fact there are many factors involved. The real problem in my mind - the enrivonmental destruction - has nothing to do with manufacturing, nor is it so easy to twist into an accusation of  regional division. 

2) Criticizing provincial leaders (or anyone, for that matter) by saying that they don't speak for themselves, but are instead someone else's mouthpiece. It's extremely insulting, in this case it is false, it serves no practical purpose, and it works against any kind of solution.

 


socialdemocrati...
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6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ VK

Again, I don't think the problem is criticizing the environmental threat of the oil sands. I think the party should be on board with holding that industry to account.

The two things I object to are 

1) Framing it as "oil sands versus manufacturing" when in fact there are many factors involved. The real problem in my mind - the enrivonmental destruction - has nothing to do with manufacturing, nor is it so easy to twist into an accusation of  regional division. 

2) Criticizing provincial leaders (or anyone, for that matter) by saying that they don't speak for themselves, but are instead someone else's mouthpiece. It's extremely insulting, in this case it is false, it serves no practical purpose, and it works against any kind of solution.

I object to the objections. Mainly the first one. The second one I'm less sure about, and you might be right, depending on how it plays out.

On the first front, saying that the oil sands are purely an environmental issue stacks the cards against us. It frames the debate as "the environment vs the economy", or even "our conscience vs our pocketbooks". For better or for worse, Canadians have voted with their pocketbooks. Otherwise the Kyoto protocol wouldn't already be dead.

What we need to do, and indeed what Mulcair is trying to do, is go after the sustainability of the tar sands both environmentally and economically. You see that the dutch disease has become an issue. But you also see that we're asking "so why are we exporting bitumen to the U.S. to buy it back as gasoline?" That's the broader debate we should be having: how is cashing in on the oil sands as fast as possible taking into account our long term economic future, from clean-up costs, to inflating the value of the dollar, to neglecting any value-added manufacturing?

Oil companies vs. everyone else. That's a winning frame.

The second objection... I think Mulcair's goal has always been to get Harper to duel with him on the oil sands (including oil subsidies, exporting raw bitumen, environmental costs, and the dutch disease -- the whole thing). When he saw the provincial guys going after him, he saw a situation where they trade bullets, while Harper gets away clean. "They're just mouthpieces for Harper" was his way of getting back to Harper. I honestly think it's true: Harper is deliberately staying silent, and each of those premiers have all spoken to Federal Conservative strategists. But it's a messy situation, and might look overly hostile. Unless Mulcair actually succeeds in getting Harper to comment, so he has his soundbite to campaign against: "Stephen Harper says ... Well, to that I say..."

Again, it's a multi-phase debate. So far he's doing decent. But we'll see. In the meantime, we should keep engaging with neighbors on the oil sands issue. It's a winnable issue, and one that we need to win to oust Harper in 2015.

 


knownothing
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6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ VK

Again, I don't think the problem is criticizing the environmental threat of the oil sands. I think the party should be on board with holding that industry to account.

The two things I object to are 

1) Framing it as "oil sands versus manufacturing" when in fact there are many factors involved. The real problem in my mind - the enrivonmental destruction - has nothing to do with manufacturing, nor is it so easy to twist into an accusation of  regional division. 

2) Criticizing provincial leaders (or anyone, for that matter) by saying that they don't speak for themselves, but are instead someone else's mouthpiece. It's extremely insulting, in this case it is false, it serves no practical purpose, and it works against any kind of solution.

 

Environmental destruction has plenty to do with manufacturing...you are missing the whole point to what Mulcair is saying...because the polluters are not paying for their cleanup there is more foreign investment in the resource sector than there should be and this is artificially driving up the dollar and consequently hurting the export sector

If the resource polluters were actually paying for their environmental destruction...foreign investment would decrease and the dollar would be lower and create a more stable economy for exporters


Vansterdam Kid
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Quote:

1) Framing it as "oil sands versus manufacturing" when in fact there are many factors involved. The real problem in my mind - the enrivonmental destruction - has nothing to do with manufacturing, nor is it so easy to twist into an accusation of  regional division. 

Except that there is quantifiable evidence that the petrodollar effect does have an effect on manufacturing. True there are many other factors involved too and there are other sectors that are effected but highlighting this factor is not objectionable in itself.

I disagree. It is a matter of regional division. Alberta is asking the rest of the country to take a hit, for its benefit while trying to tell us that we benefit too. It is highy debatable that we benefit more than we don't. Alberta is being selfish and calling them on it is a reasonable reaction. In fact the status-quo seems unreasonable, unless everyone is expected to move to Alberta and work in the oil patch. While it would be lovely to gloss over the regional divisions involved and I agree it would be best not to exacerbate the divisions considering Canada's volatile regional political history, one must acknowledge that these divisions exist and this issue exacerbates them.


kropotkin1951
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socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

Oil companies vs. everyone else. That's a winning frame.

The second objection... I think Mulcair's goal has always been to get Harper to duel with him on the oil sands (including oil subsidies, exporting raw bitumen, environmental costs, and the dutch disease -- the whole thing). When he saw the provincial guys going after him, he saw a situation where they trade bullets, while Harper gets away clean. "They're just mouthpieces for Harper" was his way of getting back to Harper. I honestly think it's true: Harper is deliberately staying silent, and each of those premiers have all spoken to Federal Conservative strategists. But it's a messy situation, and might look overly hostile. Unless Mulcair actually succeeds in getting Harper to comment, so he has his soundbite to campaign against: "Stephen Harper says ... Well, to that I say..."

Oil companies vs. everyone else. That's a winning frame.

Now I agree with that a hundred and ten percent. [I like to talk jock sometimes]

However that is why he needs to never attack the Premiers as Harper's tools again.  Clark, Redford and Wall all take their orders from the oil industry not Harper.  It is insulting to the Premiers to say they follow the dictates of a federal politician and it is untrue. The real truth is even uglier and that is all four take their orders from the tar sands owners. So the answer to the second point is the same as the answer to the first. Mulcair needs to keep pointing at the real puppet masters not claiming that one of the puppets controls the others.

Oil companies vs. everyone else. That's a winning frame.


Vansterdam Kid
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Quote:
Oil companies vs. everyone else. That's a winning frame.

True. Saying these Premiers and Harper take their marching orders from the Oil Companies is a better frame than the regional issue, which exists but doesn't maximize potential benefit. Something along the lines of saying that they take their marching orders from the Oil Companies and that this hurts the economy and everyone else is probably the best way to approach this.


6079_Smith_W
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@ All above

What I said (and have said already) was that to frame it as an inverse relationship between oil production and manufacturing is misleading. And if you read my past comments on this, I don't think I have missed any of the points raised.

Resource revenue is ONE factor in the value of the dollar. Mulcair was called on this based on Mark Carney's assessment that it was not the only factor, and he conceded. 

Likewise, there are many factors contributing to the fortunes of manufacturing throughout Canada; the dollar is just one of them .

And to point to the success of the industry as something that is drawing investment away from manufacturing (Mulcair did not make this argument) is even more diffuse and roundabout

I see three main arguments, the most important one being environmental destruction. Secondly, undervalued royalty revenues to the provinces, and third, shipping raw resources out of the country. All of these things are serious problems that need to be dealt with. None of them is a smoking gun that can be used to lay blame for financial woes in other parts of the country. 

Was it out of order for Mulcair to mention the effect on the dollar? No. But to frame it as harming manufacturing and make it one of his central arguments was not the best strategy, IMO. It is fuzzy at best, it has opened him up to criticism, and I don't think it is even the most important point WRT the tar sands. THat would be the environment, royalties, and keeping jobs here in Canada.

(edit)

If we want get into trading industries off against each other I could say that manufacturing and the resource sector were artificially inflated because they relied on the low Canadian dollar as a crutch. Who was hurt by that? Consumers, retail, and every other industry that relied on imports.  It's all very fuzzy, and doesn't get at the core problems. 

 


Aristotleded24
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Vansterdam Kid wrote:
It is a matter of regional division. Alberta is asking the rest of the country to take a hit, for its benefit while trying to tell us that we benefit too. It is highy debatable that we benefit more than we don't. Alberta is being selfish and calling them on it is a reasonable reaction. In fact the status-quo seems unreasonable, unless everyone is expected to move to Alberta and work in the oil patch. While it would be lovely to gloss over the regional divisions involved and I agree it would be best not to exacerbate the divisions considering Canada's volatile regional political history, one must acknowledge that these divisions exist and this issue exacerbates them.

In a way this is true, but it's not a simple matter of "Alberta" vs everyone else. Remember that the loudest voices against tarsands development will come from within Alberta, simply because Alberta itself has to bear the brut of the impact, as can be seen by the rising shelter prices. So rather than let the oil companies frame this as "everyone picking on Alberta," we need to bring those voices within Alberta that are questioning rampant oilsands development on board and accomodate those perspectives.

Besides, I've said several times that this does not have to cost us votes in Alberta anyways. Every election Jack faced as NDP there were loads of people chiming in about how the NDP was against Alberta, the NDP would lose Alberta, the NDP hates Alberta and on and on, yet somehow the NDP vote in Alberta managed to increase each time.


Vansterdam Kid
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Quote:
But to frame it as harming manufacturing and make it one of his central arguments was not the best strategy, IMO. It is fuzzy at best, it has opened him up to criticism, and I don't think it is even the most important point WRT the tar sands. THat would be the environment, royalties, and keeping jobs here in Canada.

I think if he were to do what you advocated it would make the issue fuzzy to the point that it would negate any benefit from attacking the perceieved strength Conservatives have on the economy thus taking them down a tick or two. It would not generate any interest or benefit for the NDP to go at it that way as well, because the NDP has been saying the last thing forever and it's about as new or interesting as watching grass grow.


6079_Smith_W
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I don't know. I think demanding that the federal government get serious about environmental approval and standards, in order to rein in out-of-control tar sands development and pipeline building is job number one. And it is also something Mulcair did, clearly and well.

Secondly, opposing the raw shipping of tar out of the country, something which makes no economic sense. It means fewer jobs here in Canada, and it is something that would surely draw some support in this part of the country. 

He could also argue for fairer taxation, fewer subsidies, and a moratorium on foreign takovers in the energy sector. Or even talk about the line item in the latest budget in which the feds are going to sink tax dollars into mining exploration. 

All concrete things, and frankly, if we made some headway on ANY of those fronts I'd be happy, and consider it far more productive than this pissing war McGuinty (and to a lesser degree, Mulcair) have let it get distracted into.

As for royalties, I suppose provinces are free to give away the store if they want, and it isn't really a federal issue. 

 


socialdemocrati...
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Seeing some good agreement, at least on the broad and important strokes.

Alberta is not big oil. Big oil is not Alberta. There are a lot of Alberta progressives who are critical (or at least skeptical) of the oil sands, and don't want to see their province become Saudi Arabia with hockey. Harper will want to hide behind Alberta voters, to make it look like Mulcair and the NDP hate an entire part of the country. But we have to remind everyone who the real target is. Albertans are going to get the crumbs after the foreign oil companies have taken all the bread, and then Albertans are gonna have to pay to clean it up.

The environment is still a big part of it. But those voters are already with us. And even more Greens and Liberals will come to us in 2015, if they care about the environment and see there's a chance oust Harper.

The key is the blue Liberals and populist Conservatives who are struggling with the "pocketbook vs conscience" frame. The Conservatives win these voters by reminding them of the huge recession, calling the NDP anti-development, and throwing your conscience a bone with "ethical oil" and insignificant/falsified reductions in carbon emissions. If we can show them that there are huge *economic* drawbacks to unmitigated oil development -- killing our other industries, giving the wealth of our land away to foreign interests, creating zero value-added jobs, and the huge cost of the environmental destruction -- then they realize the oil sands might not be good for their pocketbook.

It's a complex argument to make, because it does involve a multitude of factors, including one counter-intuitive phenomenon known as the Dutch Disease. But just getting that out there into the popular lexicon, for bloggers and journalists to talk about, that will help. If it becomes a common (if still controversial) idea, it will be easier to make the broader case that Harper is overseeing a reckless development strategy for the tar sands, when we could be doing less damage to the environment with wider benefits to other sectors of the economy.

How to pivot from the premiers back to Harper... that's still a tricky one. I can't say Mulcair botched it, but he definitely needs to get back to the real target.


NorthReport
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Premier Christy Clark only BC political leader not taking position on Enbridge Pipeline proposal - "cagey" says CBC host

http://billtieleman.blogspot.ca/2012/05/cagey-christy-clarks-pipeline.html


NorthReport
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Mulcair's oilsands crackdown would put some operations out of business, says ally


http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Mulcair+oilsands+crackdown+would...

Byers, a frequent public commentator on climate change issues, said Friday some oilsands operations would no longer make economic sense under such a regime.

 

Like Mulcair, Byers argues that Ottawa should eliminate federal subsidies for the oilpatch, fully enforce federal regulations like the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Act, and implement a cap-and-trade system.

 

"At the current price of oil . . . it's difficult to see a lot of this production making sense right now" under such a scenario, Byers said in an interview.

 

"Obviously the current means of production of bitumen in Alberta are based on an absence of the kinds of pricing and regulations that we think are needed," said Byers, Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law.

 

"So the current forms of production will have to change. They will not be sustainable in their current form."

 

Mulcair wasn't available for comment Friday.

 

But earlier this week Mulcair, when asked about the implications for the industry, cited the experience of the nickel-producing giant Inco Ltd., now owned by Vale Ltd.

 

Inco responded to the threat of government polluter-pay action by investing heavily in scrubbers starting in the 1990s at its Sudbury, Ont., operation, resulting in a huge reduction in emissions, Mulcair noted.

 

Byers said Friday that some oilsands companies could "quite possibly" adapt to the new "polluter pay" system.

 

He also said that if the price of oil went to $200 U.S. a barrel, from its current price in the low $90-a-barrel range, that would make the industry profitable and a magnet for investment regardless of federal rules.

 

Byers, who is no stranger to controversial comments on the oilsands industry, stressed that he's not speaking for the NDP leader and isn't a policy adviser.

 

"We're friends. I've seen him once since his leadership victory, and we've spoken on the phone, but no, I'm not crafting this policy," said Byers, who is on sabbatical from his UBC post to write a book on the future of the Arctic.

 

"This is Tom's lead, these are his opinions that he's putting forward. I'm impressed and I applaud his conviction and his willingness to stand up to criticism."

 

As a B.C. candidate in the 2008 election, Byers put then-NDP leader Jack Layton on the defensive when he said: "We need to go after the big polluters, we need to shut the tarsands down."

 

The NDP responded by stressing that it had no plans to shut the industry down, but did want to put a stop to the industry's current expansion.

 

In December, Byers said in an interview that Mulcair's policies would mean that the oilsands "would no longer be a viable business."

 

In December, when told of Byers' comments, Mulcair said: "What I think Michael and I are both saying is this, that the tarsands — oilsands — can be developed and can continue to develop if we apply all these rules of sustainable development, and we internalize the costs."

 


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