Saturday, June 17, 2006

Round 2

Cross-Posted to Gerard's OC

There were quite a few times I cringed watching today's debate...mainly because the performance by the organizing committee was downright embarrassing. By the end of the debate, every single person in the room was fanning themselves. There were constant microphone glitches in the opening statements. The lights kept fading in and out during Ken's opening speech (it's hard enough to stay away during Dryden's speeches, even in a fully lit room, so they were really just tempting people...). At one point a lady went to the microphone to lambast the candidates for not speaking enough French (it was really weird).

The debate itself, was once again rather dry. You don't need fireworks for a fascinating debate but the questions really didn't open the door for much disagreement, or specific policies. The best question of the day dealt with federal/provincial relations but it was wasted on a Bevilacqua/Fry solo debate. Here are some random thoughts:

1. I thought Dion's "you haven't proposed any changes" to Kennedy in their one-on-one was a little unfair, especially since Gerard wasn't given any time to respond to it. Kennedy came out with an extremely detailed environmental platform yesterday. He's also released a detailed immigration platform which has been praised by experts. I haven't seen any of the other candidates, Dion included, come out with more policy than this.

2. I will give Dion props for actually putting the crazy heckler in her place. He told her that the rules were to answer English questions in English and French questions in French, so that's what he'd do.

3. It's hard to say anything good about Volpe, except that he makes the debate interesting.

4. While Volpe was the most critical of Iggy on Afghanistan during the debate, Rae was the most critical of him afterwards, making repeated references to Ignatieff's Iraq position:

I think you've got to take his statements over time. He supported the war in Iraq. He described the war in Iraq as an extension of the duty to protect and he said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So neither of those I think pass muster.

And I think that's the context in which we have to face a lot of the debate and arguments since that time.

5. While Brison was on the receiving end of a great line by Martha Hall Findlay last week, he showed himself to be quick on his feet this week, getting a good jab in at Bob Rae on the Afghanistan issue. After Rae told a story about young girls in Sri Lanka, Brison reference the million girls now going to school in Afghanistan.

6. Still on Afghanistan, the Globe & Mail front page carried the "Ignatieff Lambasts Opponents" headline. In the article, Ignatieff tried to compare Afghanistan to the Rwanda genocides which is a really bad analogy and something an expert of foreign affairs should know better than to do. Rwanda was a genocide. Afghanistan isn't and never was. The proper analogy would be to compare Rwanda to the Darfur (where our troops can't go, because they're tied up in Afghanistan).

7. The editors really didn't do Dion any favours. When he was answering his first question, they cut to the crowd and showed a man who was asleep. Ouch.

8. I'm a little upset Ken Dryden didn't mention the Summit Series for the international moment which affected him the most.

9. Ignatieff appears to have backed down on the carbon tax issue, dodging the question when it came up. Nearly every candidate except Ignatieff and Dryden did however categorically say they opposed a carbon tax. Putting aside whether or not it's good policy, I'll just say this: If a Liberal leader runs on the carbon tax during the next election, I'd advise everyone to invest heavily in Kevlar. Because Liberal campaigns in Alberta are going to have buy a ton of bullet proof vests for their door knockers.


  • Not only does Kennedy have a detailed environmental discussion paper on his website, but I haven't seen anything similar released by Dion on anything. Dion had his turn as environment minister and yet, Canada didn't make any environmental progress under his leadership. He already had his chance.

    There was no real debate between Dion and Kennedy. Actually, none of the candidates engaged in a real debate. It was a snoozer.

    By Blogger jnpliberal, at 8:12 p.m.  

  • Jesus H. Christ Grit do you not realise that if we are not invited by Sudanese government that we would have to FIGHT our way into Darfur? Are you Liberals ready for that? Thought not. Coupled with the idiocies coming out of Liberal Defence critic's mouth and you guys wonder why we in the military think that the Liberals are a bunch of no talent ass clowns when it comes to hard power.

    By Blogger D.M.M., at 10:04 p.m.  

  • "I haven't seen any of the other candidates, Dion included, come out with more policy than this."

    Actually, Kennedy's immigration ideas sound suspiciously just like Dion's, which he put forth well before Kennedy announced anything new.

    Same for the environment.

    Honestly, if you read anything about Dion I don't know how you missed it? He's got very detailed plans, he discussed them in the phone conferences and they are in detail on his website.

    I am a Dion supporter but even if I were not, the fact that I heard Dion himself address these issues verbally and then saw them on his website in some detail...I'm suspicious of Kennedy coming out with the same thing all of a sudden.

    Not saying you're wrong CG, just, have you seen or heard Dion's ideas and plans about environment and immigration?

    By Blogger noone, at 10:09 p.m.  

  • Darfur (where our troops can't go, because they're tied up in Afghanistan)

    Darfur is a little more complicated. If "the west" simply sent troops into another arab country a new generation of "freedom fighters" (as the left likes to refer to them as) would be born. Look how well it's worked out for the US in the last few decades.

    I thought you were smarter than that, but then again you're a Liberal.

    By Blogger What_The_Puck?, at 10:17 p.m.  

  • dmm; Obviously there's no mission to Darfur now. But, within the next three years, there probably will be.

    carrie; I've certainly heard Dion talk a lot about the environment. Haven't heard any immigration policies of his, and didn't see any on a quick check of his website (although, in fairness, he does have a lot of speeches up on his site, in a wide range of topics. Just not a detailed platform for much.). Dion certainly is a policy driven candidate, but I think his attack that GK hasn't said anything falls a bit flat.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:20 p.m.  

  • Kennedy's environmental plan is just words - it won't work.

    1. A GST exemption of up to $5000, for hybrid, hydrogen and fuel cell and ultra clean bio-diesel vehicles
    A hybrid vehicle can cost up to $10,000 more than a conventional one. Going hybrid will still be too expensive for the average consumer.

    2. A progressive gas-guzzler tax on all vehicles that have worse than average fuel consumption
    OK, this one will probably decrease truck and van sales. Way to punish the farmers Gerard.

    3. 50 per cent of government fleet purchases to be hybrids or alternative fuelled vehicles by 2010 and 100 per cent by 2015
    It'll cost a lot of money, and just be a drop in the bucket, but its not a bad idea.

    4. One per cent improvement in energy consumption per capita in five years and three per cent over the next 10 years
    I don't understand what he means - but if he means 1% less consumption per capita, he should study other North American jurisdictions that tried it - they all failed.

    5. Drive innovation by using the tax code to encourage investment in environmental technologies that will result from higher risk, longer term R&D
    Actually a decent idea

    6. Adopt highest possible efficiency in home and commercial heating and cooling by providing incentives for ground-source heat pumps
    Probably the most asinine idea. Heat pumps are fairly useless in the cold Canadian climate, and often operate at less than 1% efficency. It would actually use more energy than installing another heater.

    7. Create programs and greater incentives for conservation including home retrofit programs and pilot programs to monitor energy consumption and energy cost by the minute
    Did he copy this from the NDP plan?

    8. Introduce a mandatory market-based system that allows companies to register and trade emission credits
    Then they will pass the extra costs onto the consumer.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 10:29 p.m.  

  • Andrew,

    Kennedy's plan has some great ideas in it and you seem to like some of them yourself. His plan is definitely feasible and a great start. Hybrid prices are on the way down. Kennedy would not penalize farmers and others who have no vehicle/road choices.

    What is your candidate proposing?

    By Blogger jnpliberal, at 10:54 p.m.  

  • Andrew,

    Kennedy's plan has some great ideas in it and you seem to like some of them yourself. His plan is definitely feasible and a great start. Hybrid prices are on the way down. Kennedy would not penalize farmers and others who have no vehicle/road choices.

    What is your candidate proposing?

    By Blogger jnpliberal, at 10:55 p.m.  

  • Grit, but your party (and the NDP and Bloc) wants us to leave A-stan right now and go to Darfur. What makes you guys think that Sudan will let us in their country in 1, 2 or even 10 years?

    By Blogger D.M.M., at 11:27 p.m.  

  • "8. Introduce a mandatory market-based system that allows companies to register and trade emission credits"

    Is actually the only way we will get even close to meeting our CO2 goals.
    Everything else is mainly eyecandy.

    If you accept that we should meet our goals, with as little distortionairy effect on the economy, then any end plan will have a major component of carbon trading, or carbon tax. Carbon trading will just work better due to market mechanisms.

    Emission trading has worked for SO2, NOX, and is working for CO2 (in Europe). We don't hear people complaining about the extra however many cents porducts cost to stop acid rain in the industrial north east, or smog is Houston.

    By Blogger Kyle Olsen, at 11:34 p.m.  

  • jnpliberal:
    I give Kennedy credit for bringing together a plan, even though I don't agree with some of it. My real issue is that it looks like a lot of it was just slapped together - like the heat pump idea. Also, I do think the idea of taxing trucks is punshing farmers and workmen becuase they use a lot of gas-intensive equipment and often drive trucks - and I haven't seen any hybrid heavy-duty trucks yet. Maybe he said he would exempt agricultural workers from the tax and I just don't know about it.
    Finally, all of the plans are really just nibbling around the edges - the only ambitious plan I've read about to decrease pollution (carbon dioxide and smog) is Dalton McGuinty's nuclear expansion. McGuinty's plan also doesn't force consumers to do anything.
    Being from Toronto, I would really like to see a plan that focuses more on smog reduction, but it seems most of the candidates are focused on Kyoto.
    I am not a member of the Liberal Party, but I think Ignatieff is the best of the bunch. He seems the most principled.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 12:56 a.m.  

  • It's a discussion paper inviting input , and we're all now giving input. I like where the campaign is going with this.

    Oh, and d.m.m. the Liberal Party doesn't want to leave Afghanistan now.

    By Blogger Dan McKenzie, at 1:13 a.m.  

  • I assume that when Dion pointed out that Kennedy wasn't expressing anything of substance he was talking about the debate, rather than Kennedy's website.

    While I certainly agree that Kennedy has some policy up on his site, when it comes to speeches and debates he can only seem to articulate his ideas in generalities and platitudes.

    It seems to me that Dion's comment was pretty fair.

    By Blogger rob, at 1:37 a.m.  

  • What substantive good will our troops accomplish in Darfur that they aren't accomplishing in Afghanistan? If all else is equal, where is there more of a geopolitical advantage to be gained.

    By Blogger matt, at 1:57 a.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Hammering Jow, at 4:16 a.m.  

  • Andrew,

    On your point about focusing in on smog, you should look into a phenomenon called global dimming. There is a huge danger for us if we only focus on smog

    By Blogger c-lo, at 11:51 a.m.  

  • robedger; Yes, Kennedy didn't say much policy in the one-on-one debate...but you only get 1 minute to do that. And all Dion didn't say anything except "be proud of the past" in his part of their duel.

    Given the format and the questions, Kennedy certainly put out as much as anyone else.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:27 p.m.  

  • Sadly for the LPC Grit, the Volpe attitude is the predominent one in this current crop of Liberals. Volpe is just the result of having a group of power hungry people get together and be in power for over a decade. Volpe think's he should be leader of the Party...because HE's JOE VOLPE.....

    He thinks he's the cream of the crop, and that the cream always rises to the top.

    Someone needs to tell Joe that the same phenomena occurs with oil, and he's proof of it.

    You see Grit....Volpe is not an aberration of the Liberal Party of today, he is the ESSENCE of it.

    Until that changes, it looks like Harper will be running the place for a while.

    By Blogger James Halifax, at 12:48 p.m.  

  • (where our troops can't go, because they're tied up in Afghanistan).

    Also, China has a lot of money invested in Sudanese oil and in Sudan's current government. It would not look too kindly on any intervention, no matter how well meant.

    By Blogger LeoPetr, at 12:59 p.m.  

  • c-lo:
    I read your link on global dimming - are you actually suggesting we continue to pump smog-causing pollutants into the atmosphere to mitigate global warming?

    The UN's own figures say that if the world temperature increased by 8 degrees/century (40% higher than the highest estimates for 2000-2100)it would still take over 1,000 years for that catastrophic flooding you describe. In the meantime if we flood our atmosphere with dangerous particulates the health consequences would affect people living now.

    Don't forget - those same climate models that you put so much faith in have a margin of error larger than any of their predictions. The same models also predicted back in the 1970s we would be in an ice age now.

    I just think with all the money it will cost we should stick with what we can prove, for now and concentrate our efforts on solutions that will help people in the present. Smog fits the bill.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 3:32 p.m.  

  • Just re-watched the debate:

    The question for Dion / Kennedy was: what new initiatives would you propose to help regional economic development?

    So, when Dion said that Kennedy hasn't proposed a single new initiative, he meant in response to the question - during the debate between the two of them.

    For some reason Kennedy's bloggers (Bart you aren't alone on this) seemed to think Dion meant no original ideas in the entire leadership race.

    Either way, when Dion was telling Kennedy that it was his turn to speak, and that he wasn't going to be interupted he reminded me a lot of Jean Chretien (in a good way).

    By Blogger Hammering Jow, at 6:39 p.m.  

  • Who won Saturday?

    Methinks, Harper, who was at the Oiler game high-fiving fans.

    Harper, smart wife, two young kids, hockey fan.

    You going to put Igantieff, Rae, or Dion up against that.

    Kennedy is more nerdy than Harper.

    Who has the best chance of connecting with the 905?

    Next election, from Bloc Toronto, to Bloc Rosedale and Forest Hill.

    I can't even bring myself to spend the $10 and vote for anyone.

    By Blogger godot10, at 9:18 p.m.  

  • I heard that you're buddy Kennedy said that he "might run in Lethbridge".

    That's smart thinking. :) Why doesn't he just run in Wild Rose?

    By Blogger Michael Fox, at 10:46 p.m.  

  • I think if Kennedy decides to run outside of Toronto it will prove once and for all that he is a phoney. He has lived in Toronto for over a decade, and if he just parachutes himself into a Western riding the people there will see it as a cheap political ploy then park their votes with somebody else.

    It would be the same if Harper had tried to run in downtown Toronto last election. Canadian voters are a lot more sophisticated than Mr. Kennedy gives them credit for if he thinks that plan would actually work.

    If he is serious about being an "ideas" candidate he should develop some sensible plans and run on that - in his home riding. Anything else would be insulting to the people he expects will vote for him.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 12:15 a.m.  

  • hammering jow; Once again, I don't see how you propose new ideas during a 24 second one-on-one debate. Dion was probably correct in that respect, but it still strikes me as a tad unfair a critique.

    Toronto Tory; I tend to think Lethbridge would be a rather poor choice for a riding, to put it mildly...

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:31 a.m.  

  • If Gerard is considering Lethbridge, he needs to give his head a shake.

    The last numbers were CPC 33,000,
    NDP 9,000 and Libs 6,500.

    In the 2004 election, Ken Nicol managed to attract about 10,000 votes for the Libs.

    Lethbridge would be a steep climb indeed.

    A better Alberta seat might be Calgary West against Rob Anders or one of the two Edmonton area seats that previously elected Anne McLellan or David Kilgour.

    Gerard troubles me on a number of fronts. His site has policy details but he can't enunciate them.

    Are they his ideas or someone elses?

    Alarm bells are going off for me.

    If I had to choose between Stephane and Gerard on a final ballot, it's no contest.

    I'd pick Stephane because he understands and can defend what he is saying.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L.A., at 12:33 a.m.  

  • "It would be the same if Harper had tried to run in downtown Toronto last election. Canadian voters are a lot more sophisticated than Mr. Kennedy gives them credit for if he thinks that plan would actually work."

    I like your respect for the voters Andrew but I think you may be discounting the fact that often voters are completely bored with their usual candidates. I mentioned to my bud in Winnipeg South Centre the other day that Kennedy might run there and he sounded very interested. Standouts transcend party lines and provincial ideas like "parachuting".

    An elitist like yourself should know this.

    By Blogger Dan McKenzie, at 2:05 a.m.  

  • Andrew, you'd have a lot more credibility in these discussions if you weren't hauling out misleading crap like that "we thought it was going to cool" line.

    Global warming exists. It is caused by human behavior. The debate (such as it ever was) is over. And if a Canadian government is going to get serious about it, they're going to need to tackle the biggest source of CO2: the internal combustion engine.

    There's only one way they can do that, and that's by getting people to use less gas, and they can either do that through ensuring that people drive fuel efficient cars or by making gasoline more expensive. (Or both.) The latter is Ignatieff's proposal. The former is Kennedy's proposal.

    There's really not a third option, and personally, I'd say the fallout of more expensive SUVs is worth it, if it's openly justified on environmental grounds.

    (The only reason the things even exist is because they're a way of getting around CAFE standards in the United States by pretending that they're "trucks". Why encourage that?)

    Oh, and it would be simplicity itself to waive the tax for farmers. That excuse is meaningless.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 2:27 a.m.  

  • You know I am not a Kennedy fan. I think this running in the west is a stunt.
    That said if he commited to running in Churchill, where he was born or in one of the Edmonton ridings where he used to live or work, and I mean commited, My opinion of hm would rise a lot.
    Of course, Churchill is held by Tina Keeper so....and she kinda rocks!

    By Blogger Aristo, at 10:40 a.m.  

  • I have been completely underwhelmed from what I have seen from Kennedy so far. Worse there are few things that have really started to irk me. One, he claims that he represents the future, but he blathers on non stop about "the west" circa 1997. There is no massive voting bloc, "the west", that can defined in large part by that bloc's opposition to Ottawa and that is entirely within the Conservative camp because of this. Indeed, someone ought to sit Kennedy down and show him that Vancouver and Victoria went red and orange and they are west of everything else. Regional animostity simply does not define, at least not anymore, federal politics in Vancouver the same why it does in, say, Calgary. Two, yes the Conservatives were wrong to call a Afghanistan vote without proper debate. However, Kennedy was never going to be part of that debate and his asking for it seems pretty odd given that he does not seem to have an opinion on the extention. I want to hear what he has say on what he claims to be a pressing issue. Three, I wish he would just stop all this talk of Canada being the first "international country". People do not have any idea what he is talking about. He has not properly defined what he means by this.

    By Blogger Koby, at 12:13 p.m.  

  • It worries me how this race is developing.

    People (M.P.s, Bloggers)are committing to candidates before they have proven themselves.

    We will be in jeopardy of not picking the best candidate because of this process.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 12:38 p.m.  

  • down & out; I was a big advocate of a longer leadership race. I would have liked to see a February 2007, or even May 2007 convention which would have given people more time to shop around and see the candidates before jumping on. But with the June 30th cut-off, everyone needs to get on board fairly early in the game.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:05 p.m.  

  • Well, I have serious reservations about the alleged front runners.
    ( Ignatieff, Kennedy, Rae )

    None the less, I am doing my best to interest people in our party and get them to sign up by June 30th so they can participate in the leader selection process.

    It disappoints me that prominent Liberals are publicly committing.

    There is no need to do so this early and creates the potential for divisiveness later as a series of "Anyone But" factions emerge at the convention in December.

    All anyone needs to do by June 30th is make sure that they are eligible to participate in the process.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 2:11 p.m.  

  • Demosthenes perhaps before you say I am hauling out "misleading crap" you should have a look at a few of these links because they seem just as alarmist as what people are saying now.

    Please don't accuse me of being misleading in the future - I really do my best to check facts.

    I am not saying global warming doesn't exist, in fact quite the opposite. I just think we ought to think about it before we spend tons of money. Don't forget there are other environmental problems that we have to address.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 10:32 p.m.  

  • "Ignatieff appears to have backed down on the carbon tax issue, dodging the question when it came up. Nearly every candidate except Ignatieff and Dryden did however categorically say they opposed a carbon tax."

    Why are they opposed? A carbon tax is not a bad idea and it looks like a may be a winner with Quebec voters. Yes it will not be popular in Alberta, but if comes down to pleasing Quebec voters or pleasing Alberta voters, the choice is not exactly a difficult one. The Liberals will be lucky to pick one seat in Alberta.

    By Blogger Koby, at 2:51 p.m.  

  • Lol that is way too close to the bone in this day and age. But hey It's not like I am complaining :)

    Have a good one

    Sean Cody

    By Blogger Gef, at 9:55 a.m.  

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