Sunday, January 14, 2007

SD in AB

I dropped by the Dion town hall on Thursday, mainly because I figured a public town hall with the Liberal leader in Alberta would be sure to generate excitement (if not protests, riots, and/or lynchings). Unfortunately, there were no irate NEP rants from this large and mostly (but not uniformly) Liberal crowd which received Stephane very well. Here are some of the questions asked and noteworthy portions of Dion's answers; Since half the questions seemed to be on the environment, I may have skipped over some of them. If nothing else, this should provide some clues as to what the Liberal platform and messaging may look like for the next campaign.


-Question Topic: Infrastructure
Answer: Dion said the Liberal promise to send parts of the gas tax to cities will be in the next platform and that it's because of the need to spend on things like infrastructure that he will not be cutting the GST an additional 1%, to 5%.


-Q: Differences between Dion and Harper on the environment
A: Dion feels Harper will do some half measures on the environment now that the polls show it's a major issue but it's never been a priority for him before. Dion also thinks Steve should have appointed Bob Mills as the environment minister.


-Q: Wheat Board
A: Dion asked the audience who supported the wheat board, and over 90% of the hands went up. He feels the board is needed because the farming subsidies the US and Europe give to their farmers.


-Q: Lubicon land claim
A: Dion talked about a desire to have an independent body to solve land claims.


-Q: Would you agree that there is a quiet revolution occurring in Alberta now?
A: Like everyone else, Dion didn't really understand the question and it turned into an environment answer where he announced that he would not bring in a moratorium on oilsands growth.


-Q: Senate reform
A: An elected Senate would hurt Alberta since it would bring more legitimacy to a body where Alberta is under-represented. Dion does think there should be 10-12 year term limits on Senators and consultation with the Premiers before naming new Senators.


-Q: Court challenges program
A: Liberals will re-instate it if they win election


-Q: The need for female candidates versus the unpleasantness of appointing candidates
A: Although Dion didn't say so it in these words, his answers boils down to: appointments if necessary, but not necessarily appointments.


-Q: Health Care
A: Dion congratulated the Alberta Liberal Party for helping to kill Klein's "third way". Stephane would like to see a national healthcare library, a push towards more self-help, an attack on the causes of health problems (ie. toxins), and an attempt to identify which practices the provinces currently use which work best.


-Q: Is "sustainable development" anti-Albertan?
A: Not according to Preston Manning.


-Q: Income Trusts
A: Harper was foolish to make a promise he knew he'd have to break. Liberal still haven't decided if they will propose changes to income trusts in next platform.


-Q: Afghanistan
A: Dion would use diplomacy to bring more countries on board and tell the world "Canada is a good team player, but we need a team". Wants to have a bigger focus on infrastructure and rebuilding.

47 Comments:

  • Can't help but notice that no-one asked him the real tough questions...i.e....what would he as PM do the next time that Alberta erects another firewall to keep out a Saskatchewan gopher naimed Gainer?

    Just saying that could be one more area on which he and "strangely silent, firewall letter writing, Calgary riding representing" Haper differ.

    By Blogger Small Town Shyster, at 3:02 PM  

  • "-Q: Wheat Board
    A: Dion asked the audience who supported the wheat board, and over 90% of the hands went up. He feels the board is needed because the farming subsidies the US and Europe give to their farmers."

    How many in the audience were actually farmers?

    By Blogger Candace, at 3:09 PM  

  • Is ANYONE going to call Dion out on his ridiculous aproach to Afghanistan?

    Does he not think we are part of a "team" now? What does he mean by "more diplomacy".

    I love the emphasis on more development of infrastructure... can someone ask Dion how that will happen if we decrease our troops there? When is Dion going to Afghanistan to check out the situation?

    By Blogger Riley Hennessey, at 3:18 PM  

  • If Dion is so in favor of the wheat board he should extend its jurisdiction to cover Ontario and Quebec, at then he'd be consistant.

    Personally, I think we should increase agricultural subsidies, and work with the US and Europe to ensure agricultural subsidies in all three regions remain high to support our farmers and cut out competition from third world nations.

    By Blogger Andrew Smith, at 3:33 PM  

  • CG, no mention of the gratuitious insults to all Albertans, who are also Canadians, much to the chagrin of the Libranos? No worries, I'll summarize.

    Dion: You in Alburda are lucky. You get all the easy money but you are melting the canal in Ottawa, when I will be Prime Minister I will stop you from making it ot. We in theee eeast know more dan you dumb rednecks so we will take your easy money, and make a big government which will have mega tonnes of money to steal.

    Mr aaarper is an evil neocon man who has no social conscience, and you weel pay for voting for im. To ell with you.

    One would think as an Albertan, you might have been offended. It seems your Liberal affiliation is more important to you than your citizenship.........I guess that applies to all Citoyen Dion's defenders, doesn't it?

    By Blogger Grithater, at 5:58 PM  

  • Libranos?

    Speaking of gratuitous (not to mention tired) insults...

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 6:16 PM  

  • Umm, Island Liberal, what's your point? I hate Grits, not provinces, and tired is in the ear of the wearer. When some actual Liberals have done the perp walk for stealing my money, I'll retire it. Until then, it stays.

    By Blogger Grithater, at 6:32 PM  

  • Speaking of playing fast and loose with money, grithater - you gonna pay for one of those $5000 a head tickets to talk to Steady Eddie?

    Oh, and perhaps you should not "put on ze fake quebecois acceeeent to insult Dion whle claiming not to ate provinces"?

    By Blogger Glen, at 6:45 PM  

  • I think that glen missed out on the whole 'nations' debate. I'm pretty sure that not everyone in the province of Quebec speaks with a french accent...

    Back to Dion: this little trip to Alberta sounds more as though it was done for the sake of shoring up his fragile core voters in Ontario/Quebec than it was an attempt to forge new ground in Alberta and 'the west'. Either that or he has no clue how to do the latter.

    When he first won the liberal leadership I thought that he was going to be doing things significantly differently from the Chretien/Martin/Trudeau liberals but this whole bash-alberta-and-expect-them-to-carry-the-national-burden is only getting older, and can't possibly get any more tired.

    By Blogger just a guy..., at 7:03 PM  

  • how many train wrecks can you fit down the main CN line?

    With Dion touring the country I think we are going to find out.

    Coming soon to a community center near you: Stephane Dion on why you all suck.

    By Blogger renegadejet, at 7:14 PM  

  • Grithater, the people responsible for the Sponsorship problems have either been charged or are at trial.

    So just a guy, what are the insults to Albertans that Dion said? Hmm? Thats right - you don't have examples.

    Shoring up the base in Ontario? How does getting packed houses in Edmonton and Calgary shore up the base?

    There were many new liberals at the events of the past week. Dion has now had more public events in Alberta since becoming Liberal leader then Harper since he has become Prime Minister.

    By Blogger Kyle G. Olsen, at 7:22 PM  

  • kyle,

    the givers of the money yes.

    not the takers and spenders of the money. who among them? Gilles Duceppe asked in the last election - who spent the money? Its still a valid question.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 8:58 PM  

  • Coming soon to a community center near you: Stephane Dion on why you all suck.

    And those insults were?

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 10:14 PM  

  • -Q: Wheat Board
    A: Dion asked the audience who supported the wheat board, and over 90% of the hands went up. He feels the board is needed because the farming subsidies the US and Europe give to their farmers."

    How many in the audience support the Conservative Party or voted Conservative in the last election? Not mucking futch I suspect...

    By Blogger Left Right and Center, at 10:28 PM  

  • Kyle, if all the people who were involved in the sponsorship scandal are in jail or on trail, then why is Jean Chretien or Paul Martin not in the slammer? Or could it be that the scapegoats are taking the fall?

    By Blogger Andrew Smith, at 10:30 PM  

  • Because no one has sufficient evidence of criminal liability in either case? In Martin's case, in particular, he was exonerated by the Gomery Inquiry.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 10:43 PM  

  • Dion was only in Alberta so the Montreal Gazette, and La Presse could report that the Liberals will punish Alberta for the oil sands. Quebecers would LOVE to see Alberta paying their way....as usual, and Dion knows Alberta has too many intelligent folks living there to fall for it. Therefore, insult the Rednecks all you want....they'll never vote Liberal anyway.

    No lose situation.....

    Sort of like stealing money and blaming it on the lackies...which by the way, is another Liberal tactic that has worked well over the generations.

    By Blogger James Halifax, at 10:45 PM  

  • Therefore, insult the Rednecks all you want....they'll never vote Liberal anyway.

    How exactly did he "insult the rednecks?"

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 11:32 PM  

  • He insulted us by saying we were making "easy" money in the oil fields. If 40 below is easy, maybe Dion should try it for just one day. Albertans are smarter than Dion thinks we are, we understood his message was for the east, not the west. He obviously has no understanding about how the west really thinks. Noone even knew he was in Alberta, and fewer cared, he's a noone.

    By Blogger hunter, at 2:04 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger LIB YYC, at 2:28 AM  

  • What's with all the vitriol? I'm a proud fourth generation lifelong Albertan and a proud Liberal, and all this "insult" stuff is a bunch of baloney. "We've been insulted" is the same tactic the Quebec seperatists use whenever they don't get their way. Let's end this ridiculous regional bickering.

    By Blogger LIB YYC, at 2:29 AM  

  • If I remember correctly, Gomery was not allowed to dig into some sensitive Chretien/Martin files.
    The RCMP are still on the Adscam trail, and it was reported more charges will be laid within a few weeks.

    Albertans will NEVER let a Liberal nor a Dipper get their hands on our chequebook. You can 'townhall' until your accounts run dry. It ain't gonna happen.
    Just ask Jim Dinning.

    Citoyen Dion, do you love Canada?

    By Blogger wilson61, at 3:37 AM  

  • "How does getting packed houses in Edmonton and Calgary shore up the base?"

    Oh yah, Im sure the french speaking Liberal enviromentalist from out east is banking on being a huge hit in Alberta.

    By Blogger mclea, at 4:15 AM  

  • All the bickering and vitriol is meaningless and doesn't contribute to constructive discussion or debate.

    The downside of blogging so to speak.

    Those who already have their minds made up on either side won't be changing them anytime soon.

    In addition to the public town hall meetings, there were lots of smaller side meetings that were also very productive.

    This was great trip by Stephane Dion. He was here for two way communication. The town hall meetings were to communicate with the grass roots. The fact that the meetings were packed is a bonus.

    He is no stranger to town hall meetings. He has done it for years in Quebec, defending Canada while Stephen Harper co-authored the Alberta firewall document.

    He has a lot of class and integrity and you will continue to see this quiet style of leadership.

    You'll never see this from Stephen Harper. They'll try to impose their ideology even if most Canadians oppose it.

    They might have the occasional cabinet meeting in Quebec but you won't see town hall style meetings.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 9:14 AM  

  • nice work toning down the 'bickering and vitriol' there down & out. no misleading carricatures or straw men in your arguments there, its all very constructive.

    Since you're so open minded, let me see if I can make some headway here:

    I referred to the historic liberal pattern of Alberta (and west) bashing because their eastern base seems to enjoy it, and because they have so few votes to lose in the process. Dion is simply carrying on this rich tradition by apparently placing the burden of his environmental policy on Alberta via the oil-sands. I'm sure his policy booklet (or whatever) has lines in it about the need for the manufacturing and especially the automotive sector to make drastic improvements, but that doesn't seem to be getting a lot of air time. Why is that? Well, lets look at the electoral map and see in whose back yard the manufacturing sector is located... hmm, why that would be liberal country!

    So Dion comes to Alberta and makes liberals feel good about themselves because there's nothing that a liberal (apparently even Alberta liberals) loves more than to tell Albertans they get to pay the freight.

    Honestly, I'd hoped he be different.

    By Blogger just a guy..., at 9:47 AM  

  • -Q: Would you agree that there is a quiet revolution occurring in Alberta now?
    A: Like everyone else, Dion didn't really understand the question


    Ouch - that's the most damning thing I've ever read about him. That rather disappoints me.


    And yes, if the Wheat Board is so that and a bag of chips, let's definitely bring it to Ontario, too - hurray! Canada Wheat Board forever!

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 9:56 AM  

  • Dion is simply carrying on this rich tradition by apparently placing the burden of his environmental policy on Alberta via the oil-sands.

    Isn't it kind of ironic that the same folks who howled at Dion for watching Canada's GHG emissions rise under his watch (due mostly to emissions from the oilsands BTW) are now complaining that his environmental policies will unfairly target those same oilsands?

    Anyone else see the irony in this?

    By Blogger Z, at 11:08 AM  

  • Tut, tut, Arnold, where's your journalistic integrity?

    Some of those questions did not even come up at the meeting - and I was there and have reported extensively (at www.wernerpatels.com).

    You're probably talking about the Young Liberal event, which was separate from our town hall meeting.

    You got to be prrecise in your reports, or don't report at all.

    By Blogger Werner Patels, at 11:28 AM  

  • Sorry, I just realized you were at the Edmonton meeting. It would help if you clarified THAT.

    By Blogger Werner Patels, at 11:31 AM  

  • Yes . It was the Conservatives and specifically the Klein government who thumbed their noses at the Kyoto protocol.

    No surprise that Alberta is now the largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 12:34 PM  

  • "-Q: Income Trusts
    A: Harper was foolish to make a promise he knew he'd have to break. Liberal still haven't decided if they will propose changes to income trusts in next platform."

    Okay,if Dion said Harper knew he would have to break that promise it confirms Dion as well new trusts need to be taxed.So the question is why did the Liberal's not do it?

    By Blogger paulsstuff, at 12:58 PM  

  • wilson61...you are so right, the Liberals are trying to forget that there is still $40 million of taxpayers dollars missing from ADSCAM. All this happened under Dion`s nose when he was one of the Liberal top dogs in Quebec. And he wants to be PM?

    By Blogger islandconservative, at 3:16 PM  

  • Werner, you really know how to lose more flies with vinegar than with honey, you know that?

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 4:10 PM  

  • Dion will never be PM I am afraid

    By Blogger CanadaBlogs, at 8:09 PM  

  • z said...
    "Isn't it kind of ironic that the same folks who howled at Dion for watching Canada's GHG emissions rise under his watch (due mostly to emissions from the oilsands BTW) are now complaining that his environmental policies will unfairly target those same oilsands?"



    Well z, that would be ironic, if it were true. I'm growlin at Dion for howling at Harper for not doing more in 10 months than he did in 18, or the liberals did in 12 years; secondly, there's nothing wrong with targeting the oilsands, it has to be done, but they also can't be the only thing targeted.

    By Blogger just a guy..., at 9:21 PM  

  • by the way, can someone fill me in on how to do those funky tags? I can't seem to italicize anything...

    Oh the irony.

    By Blogger just a guy..., at 9:21 PM  

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    By Blogger sink sink socks, at 2:15 AM  

  • The National Post made me laugh:

    "Stephane Dion visited Edmonton for the first time as Liberal leader on Thursday. What speaking venue, you may be wondering, did he select as a means of convincing Alberta Liberals that he can successfully reach out to anglophones? The Petroleum Club? The Royal Alberta Museum? Actually, he plunged into the heart of the city's francophone enclave to give a speech at the Faculte St.-Jean, the University of Alberta's French-language campus. Nice messaging, rookie."

    By Blogger Chris, at 1:07 PM  

  • I guess you cleaned up his grammar, how could you even understand him?

    By Blogger Rositta, at 7:37 PM  

  • Amazing how much rascism and bigotry exists.

    In this country we have two official languages.

    There are one heck of a lot of unilingual anglophones who seem unable to accept a francophone on the sole basis that they have an accent.

    Doesn't bode well for keeping the country together

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 8:33 AM  

  • There's a million Chinese in BC who don't particularly have a use for French either... course, far be it for Quebec to realize that. As long as a Frenchman gets service in French, thats all thats important right?

    By Blogger WC Macdonell, at 11:49 AM  

  • Constitutionally that is correct.

    Official languages are exactly that and are defined as such in the constitution.

    Everyone speaks a language of their choice without any constitutional guarantee.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 2:40 PM  

  • That should read

    Everyone ELSE speaks a language of their choice without any constitutional guarantee.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 2:42 PM  

  • Well z, that would be ironic, if it were true. I'm growlin at Dion for howling at Harper for not doing more in 10 months than he did in 18, or the liberals did in 12 years; secondly, there's nothing wrong with targeting the oilsands, it has to be done, but they also can't be the only thing tareted

    just a guy,

    Not sure where you're going with the first point. And while I may not be a Liberal fan, I have to concede that their climate change programs would have been effective - if given a chance to work. The Auditor General agreed, but unfortunately Harper cut them all. And the Tories were nothing but obstructionist about climate change when in Opposition.

    Regarding the oilsandsm, yes there are other sectors to target. Fuel efficiency and power generation come to mind. But the oilsands are one of the top sources of GHG's (if not the top source) in Canada these days. So it stands to reason that any decent climate change plan will include emissions caps and regulations for the oilsands.

    And I don't think Harper will do a thing about them.

    (Oh - if you want to use italics and other tags, the instructions are just above the comment box.)

    By Blogger Z, at 5:17 PM  

  • Albertans will NEVER let a Liberal nor a Dipper get their hands on our chequebook.

    Which is why Albertans will continue to be ignored and betrayed by both Liberal AND Conservative governments. When one party has a permanent monopoly on a province's votes, neither they nor their competition has any incentive to actually pay any attention to that province's concerns.

    Albertans are, by a wide margin, the least politically astute voters in the country. Voters in every other province realized decades ago that the only way to have power is to make it clear they can and will punish and reward different parties.

    I imagine Toronto-native Stephen Harper is right now having a good laugh at how he's screwing Alberta and Saskatchewan over resources in order to benefit Quebec. And how Albertans will "punish" him for it by giving him every single seat in the province.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 9:53 AM  

  • What a laughable claim. When the Mulroney PCs started to "screw over" Albertans, they shifted en mass to the Reform Party.

    The Liberal hegemony over Toronto since 1993 is just as strong as the Reform/Alliance/Conservative presence in Alberta during the same time period. Do you consider Torontonians to be "the least politically astute voters in the country", too?

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 7:31 PM  

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