Tuesday, July 01, 2008

At Issue...the Thrilling Conclusion

As the parliamentary year ends, here's a recap of the second half of last Thursday's At Issue Panel.

Overlooked and Under Reported

Hebert: Smitherman and Couillard leave their health portfolios
Coyne: Shift of power to the west
Gregg: Can/US energy relations
Rex: Human rights commissions

Hebert suggests a worthy choice, but I tend to disagree with her claim that the health portfolio "defeated" Couillard and Smitherman. At the very least in Smitherman's case, he was highly regarded for his work on the file and left to a promotion.

I can't think of any obvious stories the media overlooked this spring but I will say that conservative.ca seriously under reported Conservative Party accomplishments - I assume there must have been some, although you'd never know it by reading their site. A rough eyeballing of their 2008 news stories shows over three quarters of them with shruggy Dion as the main graphic.

Shamelessly Exploited Issue
Coyne: Aboriginal Affairs
Gregg: Harper attacking green shift before its release
Rex: Global warming
Hebert: Couillard affair

The harder challenge might be to find an issue that hasn't been shamelessly exploited.

If you're looking for comical issue exploitation, nothing comes close to Dennis Coderre slamming the Tories for allowing CBC to ditch the HNIC theme. Except perhaps all the other hockey insanity we saw during the playoffs this year.

Ballot Question for Next Election
Gregg: If the Tories succeed: "is Dion up to the job?" If the Liberals do: "referendum on the environment".
Rex: The economy's relationship with global warming
Hebert: Ditto
Coyne: The carbon tax driving style differences between the leaders

To a certain extent, I think all four panelists are right, although I wonder if they might be over emphasizing the carbon tax's impact because it's top of mind right now. That said, right now both the Liberals and Conservatives think they can win an election on the carbon tax so they'll do their best to keep it front and centre. So in the end, I think Coyne may be closest to the mark - opinions of the carbon tax are going to shape opinions about Dion as a leader, so this one will probably come down to leadership.

Who will we be Talking about in One Year?
Coyne: Shawn Graham
Gregg: Elizabeth May
Rex: Danny Williams
Hebert: Jean Charest

Mansbridge gave Coyne the mandatory shout-out for picking Maxime Bernier for this question last year. And with Kevin Taft and Phillip Couillard out of politics, being picked by At Issue for this question might very well be the kiss of death.

With a federal election likely this fall, picking any of the party leaders or their possible successors would be a safe choice. If the carbon tax backlash in BC drives Gordon Campbell to defeat next May, we'll definitely be analyzing that election. And, depending on how long Judge Oliphant takes to run his inquiry, we might be talking a lot about Brian Mulroney at this time next year.

When will the Election be?
Gregg: First opportunity
Rex: Fall
Hebert: Fall
Coyne: October '09...if the grits want to go, the Bloc or NDP will back down

I'm putting my money on a November vote but Coyne does make a valid point - it wouldn't at all surprise me to see Duceppe propping up the Tories if Dion gets more hawkish about an election.


  • I missed this but what did Andrew Coyne say about Shawn Graham.

    By Blogger Bailey, at 10:04 p.m.  

  • Happy Canada Day!

    Let's consider setting all this aside for one day and remember our soldiers, who lay it all on the line and get no glory. Who are still eating crap out in the field even while the Stanley Cup does a tour of the base. Who fight the enemy from all sides and are providing a better life for many Afghanis (while the Afghan army continues to improve, and might be able to take over entirely within 8 or 10 years).

    Today is for Canada. Let's also look forward to Nov 11 when we as an entire nation should, above other days, take the time to remember those who have given all they are and all they will ever be in the service of Freedom.

    By Blogger Paul, at 10:38 p.m.  

  • I missed it too Bailey. What did he choose Graham for, the first premier to get a public wedgie from irate French Immersion parents?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:39 p.m.  

  • Happy Canada Day! Six minutes behind schedule, but the Island ferry took awhile.... better late than not at all. :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:07 a.m.  

  • For those who missed it, Coyne singled out Graham for tax reform (a pet issue of his) and the attempt to lower taxes significant in NB and make it one of the lowest taxed jurisdictions in Canada and North America.

    By Blogger Justin, at 8:12 a.m.  

  • Coyne was gung-ho on Shawn Graham shifting provincial taxes around...I’m not quite the tax reform junkie Coyne is so I’m not positive on the specifics.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:28 p.m.  

  • “Let's consider setting all this aside for one day and remember our soldiers,”


    You're being silly. Remembrance Day is for the military community and families of volunteers. Canada Day is for all Canadians, and it is much bigger than just the military.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 7:13 p.m.  

  • "...although I wonder if they might be over emphasizing the carbon tax's impact because it's top of mind right now."

    I think that's totally right.

    By Blogger Paul Wells, at 10:01 p.m.  

  • Coyne should have his shout out retracted because he predicted Bernier (and continues to do so) for exactly the wrong reasons (he mistakenly believed that Bernier was poised to be the next PM).

    I predict Harper is succeeded by Mario Dumont or Jim Prentice.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 8:40 a.m.  

  • Emerson could be a future PM, based on all the MSM praise for his competency..........
    (coz he was formerly a Liberal?)

    By Blogger Unknown, at 11:34 a.m.  

  • How does Stephane Dion not get picked by anyone for most underrated or the person we will be talking about a year from now? Does no one think he is going to rise to the occasion and pull of selling the Green Shift? I think we will be talking about him in one year. Context to be determined.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:06 p.m.  

  • Smitherman didn't really get promoted. They created a new "super ministry" for him.

    This worked out so well the last time it happened in Ontario: Frances Lankin, who was also praised for her stay in Health and was also passed over to the top top job (i.e., Finance), was given a super ministry in the dying days of the NDP.

    One can only hope...

    This is, of course, Smitherman's first step towards a Toronto mayorship campaign. Think of all the lolly he'll get to doll out to Toronto now...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:50 a.m.  

  • By Blogger Unknown, at 3:12 a.m.  

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