Sifting Through the Shift Reviews
The unabashedly pro-Liberal Globe & Mail describes the plan as "daring and perhaps foolhardy" in a mostly negative editorial. Jeffrey Simpson is more bullish on the idea, proclaiming "bravo to the brave!"
Over in the Post, John Ivison takes a "propane tank is half full" approach, in a thumbs down review. He also either leaks the Conservatives' "cap and trade policy" or is as confused by all the different plans floating around as everyone else.
The Canwest story describes Harper as "uncharacteristically emotional as his voice rose to condemn Dion's plan". So now we know the two things the PM feels passionately about – hockey and high gas prices.
The Toronto Sun editorial calls it “too good to be true”…somehow I don’t think they meant that as a compliment.
Alberta politicians show great restraint in not actually saying the letters "NEP", although they allude to it. The columnists out west are unable to maintain the same self-restraint. Neither is the Prime Minister.
Coyne makes some valid points on this plan's revenue non-neutrality, but the crux of it is he would have rather seen rich people got the tax breaks. Maybe that makes some economic sense, but politically? This thing is hard enough to sell on its own, without it being spun as a reverse-Robin Hood scheme.
Wells points out all the beer and popcorn which can be bought with the proposed $350 a year child tax credit and advises the grits to avoid making this a debate about revenue neutrality. Given that the Tories appear intent on making this all about revenue neutrality, that's a pretty good sign the Liberals should be focusing on something else (like the "make polluters pay" principle).
Radwanski is glad that Dion is talking about something policy related, even if it's not exactly a "set-the-world-on-fire" (and tax the CO2 created from that fire?) policy. I agree. If the next election is about leadership, Dion will lose - so making it about policy isn't a bad strategy...unless that policy is deathly unpopular (see: faith-based schools, funding of).
Kinsella says it isn't a "total disaster", and links to a Liberal promotional video that plays upon the desires of Canadians for a bold, national plan to fight climate change.
Libloggers generally think this is the greatest thing since the tax on sliced bread, and the Blogging Tories are too busy thinking about spanking senators to really notice it.
As for my take? It’s a good policy – most environmentalists and economists will tell you that. It’s also a fair policy since it puts a realistic price on a negative externality. Under this plan, some people would be better off and some would be worse off, despite what the hyper-partisans on both sides will argue. I don’t have a house or a car, and blogging isn’t an overly CO2 intensive hobby, so I suspect I’d gain – but other people will lose and some industries will be hit hard. And, yes, although Dion will dance around the issue, the price of gas will go up – duh. But people will be getting a lot of cash back to make up for it and gas should be more expensive.
I think it’s debatable how much this will actually affect energy-consumption habits; people still drive despite a massive spike in gas prices and there aren’t really a lot of alternatives to home heating fuels. That said, putting a price on emissions acts as an incentive for alternative energy sources, and rising heating bills makes conserving energy and retrofitting homes more cost-effective.
So, yeah, it’s something we should be doing. Politically-speaking, I’m not very high on it, but when politics in this country has turned into little more than schoolyard name calling, it’s nice to see politicians actually putting real ideas out there.
Labels: green shift