Friday, May 16, 2008


Ah, like the fortunes that are told through the tarot cards, the Stephane Dion strategy is becoming clearer.
Floating a trial balloon isn't a new concept, but seeing an opposition party do it is fairly unique. It's typically the bailiwick of a government -- like Harper and his magically mysterious defence strategy. It allows for the party to stake claim to an issue and an action without painting itself completely into a corner. On more than a few occasions, governments have overshot their policies, heard the outcries, and quickly averted complete catastrophe. However, by attaching his flag to a carbon tax proposal, there are negative possibilities. Looking too ambitious, or appearing indecisive, for two.
Here in B.C., Gordon Campbell's sudden conversion to a carbon tax action plan has been met with more than a few howls. But the difference is distinct: Campbell is stepping into territory he never campaigned on; Dion is making the issue his own, rightly or wrongly. Like a high-wire act at the ol' circus, the public can't help but be interested in seeing this person reach his destination.
At this stage of the game Dion has little to lose. He's been defined to death through the most savage of means, his obituary was every columnist's sudoku -- so fun they'd do it twice a week and three-times on Sunday. Now, however, he's being given credit at least for having cajones.
From my uncomfortable ledge above the cheap seats, I'm beginning to see a very interesting action plan unfolding.
And it all starts around the reality that Dion is a principled, studious man of integrity. Let's step back to his decision to link unofficially with Lizzy May and the Green Party. Coming from his experience on the environment file, which involved extensive footwork to understand what is at stake, what are the issues and what is the depth of Canadians' concerns, Dion came to a crossroads. Let the Liberal Party stand merely on its record and accomplishments of the past, while relying upon the 'campaign on the left' election strategy, or create a new box outside the box.
He witnessed the breadth of the environmental movement, the drastic sea-change required to alter what he (and most scientists) sees as a global crisis, and Dion embraced a proactive risk. By standing with May and the Greens, the undercurrent among passionate, educated environmentally aware voters was that at least Dion 'gets it.' Whether they trust the Liberal party or would accept it, was another step.
That's where the current carbon tax trial balloon lifts off.
It is risky, and people can see that risk as Harper and his Schultzian henchmen try to pop it. And then there's Jack, shouting down the idea of any form of carbon tax, professing regulation as the only pill that can save the patient. He's immediately pushed away 75 per cent of the electorate and virtually every economist right there.
As NdP support bleeds to the Greens, and the CON support begins to melt around the edges with the stickiness of its own hypocrisy and lies, Dion has positioned the Liberals to a place where no other party wants to go.
Come the election -- and God, make it soon! -- those who truly worry about climate change and social justice and the Harper social conservatives, will see someone standing above the rest. He may not be charismatic, he may not be the best orator, he may not even be the most leader-like, but he will have taken a stand on a difficult but vital issue. And that is the definition of a leader.
He has worked hard to create a vision where a coalition of Canadians -- Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, NdPers and Greens -- could find some comfort from the storm. It would lead to a "We'll take those votes back now, Jack" and a "let's work together, Lizzy, and get these things done" mosiac that scares the bejeezus out of Harper and his band of half-wit blowhards.
And while Harper is counting on fooling the Canadian electorate with traps out of the Bush republican playbook, he may just be taking for granted that our nation is keenly aware of what occurred down south. It doesn't mean that we're immune to it, but it may provide more Canadians with the knowledge that the best choice isn't the one that offers free stuff and sunshine.
No, it may just mean that Harper's game of chess will turn into solitaire.


Anonymous said...

If you think Canadians are going to believe and trust a Liberal Party to massively increase taxes with the promise it is going to be revenue neutral then you truly are living in Liberal la la land.

Remember this is the party that introduced the gun registry saying it was going to cost net $2 million. It has cost Canadian taxpayers +$ 2billion and still counting.

If it is going to be revenue neutral how does that change behaviour? If behaviour is what the Liberals want to change then they have to make it punitive and that will not be accepted by Canadians.

Dion will introduce a carbon tax along with a cap and trade system where billions of dollars will flow to places like Russia. It will do nothing to help improve the environment in Canada.

Canadians are not stupid enough to elect a government that campaigns on higher taxes no matter how you couch the words.

So promote the carbon tax proposition to death and we will surely see 1984 all over again with Harper winning a massive majority.

Blue Magic said...

Dion on a carbon tax then and now.

Sorry Dion plays checkers.

Pete Takeda said...

Trial balloon?
You don't think this couldn't have been a leak by an Ontario Liberal MP or staffer?

Firm news of this carbon tax came out pretty much immediately after an Ontario MP caucus meeting with Liberal pollster Michael Marzolini at Queen's Park.

It's curious how the Liberals could allow the news out so soon before Dion is to officially announce it and let the Conservatives jump all over and paint it as they see fit.

Platty said...

Man I was having a tough day on the job site today, thanks for the end of the day chuckle.

Dion playing chess???

Oh, quit it!! you're killin me....

When it comes to political chess, I'm afraid Dion would have trouble setting up the board.


Dame said...

These trolls try to pester you ...don't give a damn Your line of thoughts is too much For them To follow.. they are used to little slogans what easy To remember.and repeat endlessly....lololol

yes you are right about the slow but surely emerging strong leadership qualty of Dion ,,, and roots are groving and the NEW era of "what about the future" is taking place replecing the " DO NOTHING ALL IS WELL " fals and rotting cons. agenda.

Excellent post !!!

Platty said...

Your line of thoughts is too much For them..and roots are groving and..

Hey look, Steffi was here, and I see he can mutilate the language at the keyboard as well.


Dame said...

Lol . Good language is not replacing BAD THINKING or even NO THINKING..
yes I am careless on the keyboard not everybody is "perfect" the way you are..

Platty said...

.. not everybody is "perfect" the way you are..

See, now was that so hard to admit?


Woman at Mile 0 said...

Great post!

Anonymous said...


Platty said...

yes you are right about the slow but surely emerging strong leadership qualty of Dion ,,,