Wait, there are rumours circulating that have nothing to do with Guy Giorno and the coming purge at PMO? - Macleans.ca

Wait, there are rumours circulating that have nothing to do with Guy Giorno and the coming purge at PMO?



And yes, it’s true: Michael Byers is planning to run for the federal NDP nomination in Vancouver Centre, currently held by Hedy Fry. From an email he sent out earlier today:

I’ve decided to run because of my growing concerns about the lack of Canadian leadership on critical issues such as climate change, the war in Afghanistan, health care, housing and human rights.

I’ve studied the various federal party policies on climate change. The NDP policy makes the most sense. And it respects individual citizens. The Liberals want to force Canadians to change their behaviour through taxes; the NDP wants to help Canadians to change with solutions.

We need real political leadership, with bold and effective public policy, and Jack Layton is the only one in Canada offering that.

Michael Byers
Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law
University of British Columbia

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Wait, there are rumours circulating that have nothing to do with Guy Giorno and the coming purge at PMO?

  1. Good one for Byers, he’s a great commentator, and his book “Intent for a Nation” was fantastic!

  2. “The Liberals want to force Canadians to change their behaviour through taxes; the NDP wants to help Canadians to change with solutions.”

    As someone who voted for Howard Hampton’s Ontario NDP in the last election (don’t laugh at me), I am very dissappointed with the federal and BC NDP’s reaction to the idea of a Carbon Tax. The David Suzuki Foundation had to release a ‘Carbon Tax Reality Check’ against the BC NDP’s misleading attacks against Gordon Cambell’s ‘Fuel Tax’. Strange times indeed.

  3. The one thing I’ll never forget about Byers — and Andrew Coyne might remember this — is that he once went on Mansbridge’s At Issue panel and said that Westerners (or something to that effect) wouldn’t care two bits if Toronto was blown up in a terrorist attack.

    Now, it’s one thing for a leftist academic to say something like this. It might be another for someone running for political office. I dunno. Then again, maybe even this kind of bashing of Toronto is politically advantageous. Who knows?

  4. Dennis,

    It might be advantageous for Byers in Vancouver. Might not be good for the NDP out here.

  5. Byers is by far the harshest and most credible critic of Harper foreign policy. This is great news for Layton and bad news for Harper.

    Dennis is thinking of the same thing as Paul Wells — that is Byers argument two years back that Canadians were made of sturdier stuff than to dispair for long over a terror attack. He’s probably right. Recall that Londoners were out drinking at pubs the night of the Tube bombings.

    Byer’s attack on the carbon tax is tough to refute. Who but Liberals would say that Canadians aren’t doing enough for the environment while the tar sands grows more out of control each day?

  6. Byers doesn’t seem to understand how cap and trade works if he somehow thinks its effects on individual citizens is different than a carbon tax.

  7. You know, the Liberals have looked pretty shaky over the past few months, but they also have a great selection of big names with big resumes, and the Green Shift is – I think – going to resonate pretty well.

    Well enough, at least, that a party that wants to disagree is going to have to put up a counter-proposal. The Tories basically already know this, I think, but the NDP apparently have no clue. Recent events indicate their counter-proposal is yelling, “noooOOOOoooOOooooOOooooooo!”

    I don’t think that really gets you votes. “Solutions for Canadians” is the same empty bloviating we’ve heard from Mr Jack for five years now.

    Last time around the election circuit, didn’t the NDP say something about how they wanted to “work” instead of succumbing to partisanship? They get played by the Conservatives on the one side in exchange for easily-forgotten hat-tips (e.g., the Committee of the Whole for the residential schools apology), and on the other, looking like unprincipled hacks trying to lamely gnaw at the Liberal party base.

  8. I don’t think we have seen the last of environmental plans yet. I expect the NDP will come out with a revised plan because the idea that cap and trade will not increase costs to consumers is not going to fly. By openly acknowleging the cost to consumers, the Liberals have built in money to help low-income Canadians. The NDP are going to have to follow suit with their cap and trade proposal.

    Dion has also said the Liberal plan will evolve. Right now it mentions caps and retrofit programs but the details are buried in other documents or are not available. I suspect even Harper will come out with some revised environmental plan.

    For all this, one can thank Dion for bringing such attention to this issue. The initial response from the NDP and Conservatives have been strong (and unimpressive) attacks, but ultimately, I think it will actually impact on their own platforms.

  9. Byers is the kind of candidate the Liberals want and need.

    Like Thomas Mulcair in Outremont, it is more evidence of quality candidates measuring up the options and cutting the Dion Liberals loose.

    As already noted, Byers–an academic who has spend at considerable effort understanding climate change and the arctic–studied both Dion’s carbon tax and Layton’s cap and trade.

    He made an educated decision that: a) Dion’s plan gives no measurable reductions in pollution b) Layton’s plan does.

    In the battle between Harper’s do nothing approach and Dion’s tax cut cockamainie, Byers has signalled there is a third option worth considering. One that the EU, most of the G8, Australia and both US presidential candidates consider to be the most effective way to cut pollution. One that actually might get the job done.

    How refreshing.

  10. In fact, most of the countries implementing cap and trade already had carbon taxes in place (whether comprehensive or focussed on certain fossil fuels) and it is openly acknowledged that the US is leaning toward cap and trade for political, not practical, reasons. It is interesting though that NDP supporters even mention a Republican candidate as endorsement for their ideas on how to deal with climate change.

    Either a cap and trade or a carbon tax is better than nothing, but a combined system properly designed will capture the advantages of both.

  11. Charles,

    Don’t forget that Dion ran Jocelyn Coulon in Outremount by-election that Thomas Muclair won, which defeats your ‘evidence’ that ‘quality candidates’ are passing up Dion’s Liberals.

    And please go easy on the getting the job done rhetoric, the NDP and some of it’s supporters are starting to freak me out. Here’s a sample of BC NDPs complaints against Gordon Cambells Carbon Tax, found in their ‘Framework for Real Climate Action.pdf’.

    “Climate Change is not stuff of spy novels. But the Campbell Liberals seem to think so. They consulted only with a secret list of hand-picked insiders.”

  12. I have to agree with Charles Learmonth. The Liberals would die for a candidate like Byers. That some of their ranks would come on here and bash the NDP is evidence of just that.

  13. Aaron Wherry has posted the transcript (BTC: ‘It wouldn’t be the end of the world’) of Byers on CBC’s At Issue that posters referred to above.

  14. The idea that we Canadians might only react strongly short term if a terrorist act occurred would entirley depend upon the nature of the attack – If politicians were targeted (well need I say more) If something culturally significant were bombed by Al Qaeda Taliban – listen to the sound of the pipers because here comes the black watch eg: what if a hocey arena during a game was a target – like in Montreal say as an example now (please do not report me to the HR tribunals)- dollars will get you donuts you would see a whole new face to Canada!

  15. Waynes world…

    By the my NDP friends, I support Michael Byers seeking to become a candidate for the NDP and I might add, I think he would be a welcome change from Hedy Fry. I just take issue with his statement on the Liberals proposed Carbon Tax.

  16. >>Then again, maybe even this kind of bashing of Toronto is politically advantageous.

    >It might be advantageous for Byers in Vancouver. Might not be good for the NDP out here.

    Maybe rural BC, but not in Vancouver-Centre, where 95 per cent of the population moved from Toronto. Then again, they tend to be some of the biggest Toronto bashers, so you may be on to something after all…

  17. “I just take issue with his statement on the Liberals proposed Carbon Tax.”

    I don’t think he has much choice. Are there any NDP candidates or MPs who will openly say that a carbon tax and cap and trade are simply two ways of pricing carbon, both are good, and Canada would benefit enormously by implementing one or both as soon as possible? I.e. something along the lines that Dion said after the NDP announced their cap and trade. I imagine the NDP will come around to this, as there is pressure from environmental groups, but I haven’t seen it happening yet.

  18. Having read a few articles by Byers, it seems obvious he could have never been anything other than a dipper.
    At least now we won’t have to put up with having his views portrayed (by those whom it suited to do so) as those of some sort of unbiased authority or expert (from Duke University!) on Canada’s international affairs, now that he has outed himself as a political animal with a particular agenda (which has been obvious to me for some time actually).

  19. Blues Clair,

    There are alot ifs and buts in the Suzuki myth buster propaganda. They want to push the tax up $75 per tonne. Make sure every knows that one when they read it.

    This tax is a shame. It is painted “green” but is a neo-liberal tax shift to consumption.

  20. “…the NDP wants to help Canadians to change with solutions.”

    What on earth is that supposed to mean?
    I am still trying to come to grips with the fact of a respected academic joining the howling pack of mediocrities whose vision consists of ATM fee abolition.

  21. Quimby, how is a carbon tax anymore a shift to consumption tax than cap and trade? There is no magic here — an industry will respond to the extra costs whether it is cap and trade or carbon tax. Both will hit consumers as consumption costs.

    $75/ton is equivalent to a cap and trade that sets reasonably ambitious goals. One can argue about exactly how gradually Canada should approach this, but I think the NDP, Green and Liberal parties will all agree that we want to get to the stage where we are aiming for substantial reductions from 1990 GHG emission levels. When we do, $75 ton is not going to be out of line no matter which system (or systems) we are using to price carbon.

  22. I am a Conservative supporter and I am quite happy for Libs, NDP and Greens to all line up and propose ways to shaft the common people. Conservatives will be the only ones not wanting to raise your taxes to fight the nebulous idea of ‘climate change’.

  23. Well, I suppose anyone who doesn’t know the difference between climate and weather will find ideas (realities) like climate change “nebulous.”

    Then again, such a person will also likely find things like drought, vanishing lakes, unseasonal floods, disappearing sea ice and the like “nebulous.” Some people live in strange little worlds of their own. Can’t be helped, really.

  24. Bob I am not certain but you seem to be implying that I don’t know the difference between weather and climate. I know the dif, but I wonder if you do?

    Everything you cite ,”drought, vanishing lakes, unseasonal floods, disappearing sea ice”, is all weather related.

    Climate is ‘the average and variations of weather in a region over long periods of time’. The climate is behaving as it has always done unless you believe droughts, floods and disappearing sea ice only started happening in the past 20 years so somesuch.

    Climate changes over time, always has done, and I am not sure how we are going to stop mother nature doing her thing. However, I am fairly certain these cycles the planet goes through are not going to stop due to me paying $600 more in taxes next year.

  25. If you’re paying $600 more in taxes on the green shift, then that’s because you’ve deliberately chosen to live in a non-renewable lifestyle. I can understand it, it’s certainly convenient, and moving to a renewable lifestyle can be uncomfortable until the new habits are formed. But don’t blame your choice on the government.

  26. T Thwim I am not blaming the government, I am looking sceptically at a tax proposal made by the opposition who claim they can change how mother nature operates by increasing my taxes.

  27. To my cost, jwl, I know something about climatology and other earth sciences. I won’t waste further time arguing the point, except to note that permafrost — like multi-year sea ice, mountain glaciers and many other things — is unaffected by short-term weather variations. It responds only to significant climate change. And it demonstrably *is* so responding.

    At the moment I wish I knew more about psychology, and specifically how it is that people — who otherwise give every sign of lucidity — are able to deny obvious realities they should be able to perceive easily. It would be more amusing and remarkable were it less depressing and common.

  28. Bob, about denying obvious realities, I don’t find it so surprising. Like almost any science that attracts enormous public attention the field will also attract non-scholarly types who are good communicators with an agenda and the oil companies have been happy to fund them. For people who do not have doctorates in relevant areas, they may not know who to listen to. I typically refer people who don’t know whether human effects on climate change are real to the US National Academy of Sciences (http://dels.nas.edu/basc/climate-change/).

    JWL, the NAS membership includes essentially all Nobel Laureates and the top echelon of scientists. They have been putting out an annual report on climate change in layperson language for many years. You can track how the science has progressed over those years. They do not overstate and will not say something is certain when it isn’t.

  29. Catherine I typically refer people who don’t know whether human effects on climate change are real to the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine petition of over 30,000 scientists who say man-made global warming is not occurring.

    I also think its interesting that anti-global warming studies must be funded by nefarious oil companies with an agenda but any study that is pro global-warming must be on the side of angels and have no agenda at all.

    I am a student of history and that leads me to the belief that climate changes over the decades /centuries and until someone can conclusively prove that ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’ is caused by man, and not nature going through its regular cycles, than I will continue to be a skeptic.

  30. JWL, science is not done by petition.

    The vast majority of science is funded by the government and the funding decisions are made through international scientific review. If you are not interested in knowing the actual science, then that is your choice.

  31. Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, hey?

    Hmmm. From http://www.sourcewatch.org:

    “The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM) describes itself as “a small research institute” that studies “biochemistry, diagnostic medicine, nutrition, preventive medicine and the molecular biology of aging.” It is headed by Arthur B. Robinson, an eccentric scientist who has a long history of controversial entanglements with figures on the fringe of accepted research. OISM also markets a home-schooling kit for “parents concerned about socialism in the public schools” and publishes books on how to survive nuclear war….

    The OISM website’s homepage [1] says:

    The Institute currently has six faculty members, several regular volunteers, and a larger number of other volunteers who work on occasional projects.

    The Home Page’s current navigation bar lists 8 individuals under the “Faculty” heading. Two of those listed are deceased, and two are sons of OISM’s head, Arthur B. Robinson. Yet even though the OISM credentials 8 persons as “Faculty”, it has no classrooms, or student body.”

    Perhaps you’re right, and I should reconsider this global-warming business, after all.

  32. But never mind all this. If you’re a student of history, JWL, can you think of a precedent for (a) rapid warming happening simultaneously with (b) human activity returning fossil carbon to the atmosphere at about 1,000,000 times the rate at which it was sequestered?

    Yes; each year we burn fossil fuels that took around 1,000,000 years to form.

    But please, take your time about answering. After all, we have all the time in the world. Don’t we?

  33. Bpb Yes, we do have all the time in the world. Quotes from Source Watch are just as ridiculous to me as Oregon Institute is to you.

    I find it interesting that you have to use ad hominem arguments on me and others instead of arguing facts.

    Once again, rapid warming is not happening. The average temp of the earth has fallen since 1998. Michael Mann’s ‘hockey stick’ graph was proven to be manipulated in order to achieve the results he and his team wanted.

    Just because you wish for something doesn’t make it true.

  34. Here is a letter from 1817 from President of UK’s Royal Society to the Admiralty. They wanted to send ships to find out the cause:

    “A considerable change of climate inexplicable at present to us must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been, during the last two years, greatly abated.”

    “2000 square leagues of ice with which the Greenland Seas between the latitudes of 74° and 80°N have been hitherto covered, has in the last two years entirely disappeared.”

    “The floods which have the whole summer inundated all those parts of Germany where rivers have their sources in snowy mountains, afford ample proof that new sources of warmth have been opened …”

    What caused the changes? And how do you know what ever you think is happening now is not part of the same cycle that caused the problems in 1817?

  35. If you’re going to discard the consensus of scientists, why on earth would you accept a single letter?

  36. T. Thwim What consensus? Many scientists say global warming is happening, and many say it isn’t. I am just pointing out that climate changes over time, that’s what it does naturally. And now some of us, global warming believers, want to muck around with mother nature’s natural cycles and I think that’s a spectacularly bad idea.

    Sorry, kady, we seem to have gotten into the weeds down here.

  37. Catherine,
    “Are there any NDP candidates or MPs who will openly say that a carbon tax and cap and trade are simply two ways of pricing carbon, both are good, and Canada would benefit enormously by implementing one or both as soon as possible?”

    I think they’ll get on that when Dion apologizes for being a part of a government that did a big fat load of neither for a solid 8 years.