46

Will you be tricked, National Post?


 

Apparently so:

Liberal MPs urge review of party’s carbon tax plan
Tories claim it shows split within Dion’s caucus
Three Liberal MPs have voted for a motion calling for a review of the effects of a carbon tax on agriculture and seeking protection for farmers, just days before the party plans to unveil a policy it hopes will be key to winning the next election.

As anyone who was up last night reading ITQ after midnight already knows, I’ve already devoted far too much time to unspooling the spin on this story – follow those links for background  – but here are a few quick notes on the Post’s version of events:

1) As far as I know, it was the Conservatives, not the Liberals, who – completely by accident, I’m sure – initially put out an inaccurate version of the amended motion that inadvertently inserted the word “negative” before “impacts”. (I’ve preserved the entire email chain here.)

It’s possible, I guess, that the Liberal communications team didn’t bother to double check the wording after the Conservatives backed off from their initial claim that the committee had condemned the carbon tax — which is what the original, unamended motion would have done. That would be pretty stupid, given Ryan Sparrow’s recent misadventures in media misinformation. Anyway, as far as I know, it wasn’t the Liberals who “changed their version of the wording mid-day,” as suggested by the Post.

2) To fully appreciate the strategic sneakiness – a term of admiration here at ITQ, I should note, provided you don’t get caught – of what the government was trying to do, you have to look at the context.

This was one of four anti-carbon tax motions that have been working their respective ways through various committees, and you can bet that there is a similarly gloatful press release on the successful passage of each and every one sitting in Ryan Sparrow’s outbox, just waiting for him to press send. Unfortunately for the Tories, two of those press releases will never see virtual daylight. The Finance committee voted the first motion down last Thursday, and Natural Resources will do the same just as soon as the Conservatives stop filibustering their own motion.

I’m still trying to track down the fourth – which is at Transport – but my guess is that what happened at Agriculture is as close as the Conservatives are going to get to pulling this plan off. That puts an entirely different spin on what the Conservatives claim – and the Post reports – is possible dissent within the Liberal caucus over the plan.

3) As for the “confusion” over the timing, as far as I know the only media outlet that claimed the plan would be released today was the National Post. I’m not sure if it’s entirely fair to use that as evidence of still more disarray and disorganization over the launch of the plan. Couldn’t John Ivison – or whoever told him it was going to go on Wednesday – simply have gotten it wrong?


 

Will you be tricked, National Post?

  1. It’s he NAtional Post. Do we really expect..err…facts from them? What I like to do is read the online versions of 5 different newspapers then see which facts remain the same.

  2. I never believe what’s in the National Post – it’s so totally partisan it doesn’t know truth from fiction.

    This paper is going downhill fast and no wonder.

  3. Or perhaps he was right and the Liberals have been forced to move their caucus meeting and the announcement to Thursday because they are organizationally-challenged. Which does not bode well for their ability to actually implement the darn tax.

  4. I’m suspect their ability to implement the darn tax is hindered more by the fact that they’re not in government. I’m certain they’d be a lot more organized when they occupy the seats to the Speaker’s right (as would any party).

  5. That’s possible, but there were definitely some of us reporter types who always figured that it was going to happen on Thursday, including some (not me) who might’ve had good reason to think that. (I just started with Friday as the last possible day to do so this week, and worked backwards.)

    What’s even more likely, I think, is that the final decision to go on Thursday, rather than Wednesday – or, heck, Tuesday, or maybe Friday – wasn’t made until fairly recently. Really, if there were organizational challenges that would have made it impossible to launch today, how on earth could those be resolved overnight? And if they were, wouldn’t that demonstrate that the party *could* actually implement the darn tax, if perhaps a day later than initially hoped?

  6. On the timing of the release of the Liberal plan, why wouldn’t they wait until, say, next week, when Parliament isn’t sittting, and they could own the news agenda?

    Dion could even go into into the Alberta lion’s den and do it with despoiled oil sands as a backdrop. It’s not like he has anything to lose picking a fight in Alberta.

    Anyway, I don’t understand tactically why the Dionistas are releasing it this week at all, (unless they were actualy trying to bury it which I seriously doubt.)

    – JV

  7. Next week no one will be here… a lot of journalists will be starting using up overtime I expect.

  8. It is good to see the misinformation from our Opposition in Power ™ will continue. The already inefficient committees are being stalled.

    Even when national security may have been compromised by someone with direct ties to biker gangs and senior officials in two prominent government departments (that we know of) by an unofficial lobbyist with a Quebec development firm… but I digress…

    Of course the Cons will distract and stall as much as possible. They are suppressing investigation into how many scandals now? Most news organizations would say about a dozen? The National Post would probably say zero.

    Leave it to Canada’s Opposition in Power to desperately attack an announced plan before the details are available. Perhaps it’s because they have no big plans of their own… only targets set for 15-40 years from now…

    The Conservatives and their communications department (National Post) know Canadians can be tricked by spokeglobs and sound bites… most unfortunate.

  9. “The Conservatives and their communications department (National Post) know Canadians can be tricked by spokeglobs and sound bites… most unfortunate.”

    Dije, have more faith in the intelligence of Canadians.

  10. The Star reports today that the Green Party will announce it’s carbon-tax proposal today (June 18):

    http://www.thestar.com/News/Canada/article/445151

    So maybe the National Post was so anxious to be the first to publish their ‘sensational’ story they forgot to verify which plan would be released today…

  11. Actually, I think it bodes well for the journamalistic critical thinking skills of the gallery that, as far as I know, only one media outlet fell for yesterday’s trick. Admittedly, it’s one of the largest in the country, but still.

    Also, on the timing: Someone pointed out to me via email that up until yesterday, the Liberals would have assumed that today – Wednesday – would be the day that Julie Couillard testified before committee. I doubt they would have wanted to compete with *that* story.

  12. boudica – I do my best. I am just amazed and increasingly apathetic about anything current events. Talking with people I know or overhearing people in public and I get the impression that very few people take the time and effort to find out what is going on around them.

    Apathetic, but still voting, which often puts me in the minority…

    Maybe I am just a little crusty this morning :

  13. Wow. Ivison a little bit sensitive when confronted by journalism.

  14. Dije, I’m not sure who you are speaking to but I’m experiencing the complete opposite. The people I talked to are starving for a forward-thinking policy discussion, whether they agreed with the carbon tax plan or not (keep in mind that they don’t know what the plan entails yet). That whole Oily-the-Splot thing was rather insulting to them as it pretty much shows that the CPC thinks Canadians are idiots who need cartoon figures to explain policies to them.

    I say that Dion’s problem in pitching his vision won’t be the Canadian public but rather the Judases within his own caucus.

  15. the tories have chosen to go after the Dion tax-on-everything “before it is even released” (as Kady O’Malley and the rest of the Peanut, er, Press Gallery keep telling us), precisely because it is the Liberals’ intent to dress up his new tax in language like the “green shift” or other bs terminology, to disguise that it is a… you know, tax.

    Without the ad campaign, the Liberal/Tammannay politicos would be able to get away with it, with the cheers from the Liberal/NDP pamphleteers in the press gallery.

    As far as the NP getting a story wrong (I don’t read the post nor any other dead-tree publication), is it really the case that the NP is the only media outlet to get facts mistaken?

  16. So Dun, are you saying that there won’t be an income tax reduction in this policy?

  17. I am glad you have seen through the smoke screen dun roberts. Where did you get your advance copy of the bs terminology ladened document disguising it as not a tax carbon tax?

    Also, I am glad you know better than to think that the NDP has the most to gain from any Liberal losses, which is why they would celebrate together the fleecing of Canadians with a disguised tax described as a revenue neutral carbon tax. We all know it is actually the NDP that is in charge of the left in Canada.

    I’m sure the peanut gallery would love a copy of the carbon tax plan a day early. Please send us a link!

  18. dun: Of course it’s a tax. But if it’s a tax that really is revenue neutral, than it’s not a new tax, it’s a shifted one. The government changes how it calculates taxation ever single year. This one gets news because it’s a big change, and because it’s based on different values than “Take money from people as they earn it” which is how our government has been working for the last umpteen years.

    As far as the NP getting a story wrong, of course other outlets get facts mistaken on occasion. The NP is the only one that does it so consistently both in the frequency, and in the type (in favor of government).

  19. boudica – perhaps our circles are just very removed. I’m in Ottawa and most of my friends are under-30s post-secondary educated people who generally stay close to the centre politically. Only me and my girlfriend can have political conversations (she is a full-time poli sci and history major and I am a very part-time poli sci and comm student).

    Maybe I just have the itch to take some classes again soon to keep the stimulation going.

    I’m socially left, fiscally right (generally) and think Danny Williams might be the only conservative left with a voice in Canada.

  20. To bad Conrad is not available to keep the NP current.

  21. Why is it that every time I ask a carbon tax naysayer about the accompanying income tax reduction they all go radio silent? Didn’t the CPC mothership provide them with talking points on that one?

  22. John Iveson? What can I say – it’s all about partisanship – integrity and an unbiased look into anything? Huh.

    You don’t trust partisans – they will bend over rightwards to twist things around to their direction.

    Not worth the risk.

  23. thwim or whatever –

    the Dion tax on everything will not be `revenue neutral’; there is simply no way that any economist, nor anyone, can guarantee that any householder will not lose out when Dion chooses to tax everything. It will be `revenue neutral’, perhaps, a big perhaps, for the government itself. the term `revenue neutral’ is, of course, just part of the snow-job that the Liberals are (so far successfully) foisting on the public.

    *As far as the NP getting a story wrong, of course other outlets get facts mistaken on occasion. The NP is the only one that does it so consistently both in the frequency, and in the type (in favor of government).*

    do you have some tally that you have produced to back up this assertion? Of course you haven’t.

    Dije – you can check on google news all you want, for stories going back to May, in which the Liberals proclaim that they are not going to use the term `tax’. That is what the Tories are combatting, this stealth gouging of the public on everything.

    btw, the Liberals have again mendaciously claimed that this `won’t be a tax on gasoline.’ Which brings to mind two questions:
    how can you tax `carbon’ if you’re not going to tax gasoine? (you cannot, of course); and, if your goal is to reduce carbon use, how can you do that without taxing gasoline.

    A scam up and down, that’s what it is.

  24. Dije, not so removed. I’m also living in Ottawa but travel too frequently to Montreal, my hometown. Though the folks in my circle aren’t political junkies like me, they all talk about the environment and the economy as it happens to be the subject of concern for many canadians.

    Tomorrow will be the first time that a political leader will be putting forth an actual vision and a proposed solution for those two problems.

    While there is a variety of opinion on the subject, the general consensus is that they all want some leadership on those matters.

  25. dun robert, you haven’t answered my question. Are you ignoring me? I wonder why.

  26. *So Dun, are you saying that there won’t be an income tax reduction in this policy?*

    Sandi or something – I’m not going silent.

    If the Libs speak about reductions in income tax tomorrow, i will eat my shoe.

    If they actually implement any reduction on taxes, should they (yahew forbig) ever reach government under this dion, I will eat my hat and my shoes and my underwear.

    Tell me, though, when did the left become so big on income-tax reductions? When Mike Harris reduced income taxes, his opponents acted like he was just declared a dictatorship.

    No, talk about `income tax reductions’ is just more bs so as to lull a public that has been taxed to death, and then some.

  27. “If the Libs speak about reductions in income tax tomorrow, i will eat my shoe.”

    Dun, you better get ready for some pepto bismal then. What exactly do you think is referred to when they say “tax shifting?’

  28. *Dun, you better get ready for some pepto bismal then. What exactly do you think is referred to when they say “tax shifting?’*

    it is exactly my point that `tax-shifting’ is just pr bs to lull people into believing that the state is not going to separate them all the more so from their hard-earned cash. (vide – McDinky’s health-care `premium’)

  29. boudica not sandi, sorry, i replied to you, however

  30. Try to keep up to this century, Dun. Every political party has moved to fiscal conservatism to one extent or another. Hell, in Saskatchewan, even the NDP was running balanced or surplus budgets for the last few years.

    It’s widely recognized by economists and those with common sense that income tax is the worst form of taxation (though easy to manage) because it removes incentive to work, and unfairly penalizes people who do not have behaviors that incur public costs. So where possible, people with sense are moving away from income taxes to taxes that penalize behaviors that incur public costs (such as how smoking incurs public health care costs, or how emitting pollution and waste incurs environmental costs borne by the public in the cleanups)

  31. dun roberts – I think the point is we are commenting on a proposal that we do not know the details of.

    All there is right now is spin, fearmongering and sloganeering.

    As for a healthcare tax… that is what happens when a government takes over that won’t cut fat and has to fill a huge deficit left from some well-cooked books. McGuinty will still go down as one of the largest hypocrites in Ontario for that move. And with the current opposition in Queen’s park, will get his third majority, ranking him among one of the most successful and dispised politicians in Ontario and Canadian history… he is a whole other discussion however and I think a prime example of why so many people are tuning out of politics. He avoids issues and problems until people stop asking about them.

    Sound familiar? *coughharpercough*

  32. para starting with: *It’s widely recognized by economists and those with common sense that income tax is the worst form of taxation…*

    I agree with you there. HOwever, which governments are `moving away’ from income taxes?

    para: *…that is what happens when a government takes over that won’t cut fat and has to fill a huge deficit left from some well-cooked books.*

    Again, nothing to disagree about there.

    but of course, you CAN comment on a plan before its official release. The spin etc. will all be coming from the Liberal party and their many pamphleteers in the news media (probably, 90% of the pea- er press gallery, according to some surveys).

    it is precisely my contention, to state again, that there will not be any reduction in income taxes, to `shift’ the tax burden away from the gouging of everything taht Dion has in mind.

  33. “it is precisely my contention, to state again, that there will not be any reduction in income taxes, to `shift’ the tax burden away from the gouging of everything taht Dion has in mind.”

    Dun, you haven’t even read/heard/seen the contents of the proposal so what exactly are you basing yourself on to make such a statement?

  34. Perhaps some of you should do lunch to do your debate or exchange emails…..

  35. *Dun, you haven’t even read/heard/seen the contents of the proposal so what exactly are you basing yourself on to make such a statement*

    This is an utterly ridiculous line of reasoning: no one can comment on anything until there is Official Word about it.

    The Liberals have made enough remarks about their scheme to give anyone who cares about not being gouged on the price of everything…

    To reiterate: the Tories have chosen to launch the ad campaign presumably because they know that the mainstream media (again, 90% opposed to Tories, according to surveys) will just as they always do, as stenographers of the LPC policy.

  36. you may have something there Sandi

  37. dun roberts is 14 years old, the new proposed voting age, so go easy on him.

    If the Senate changes C-10, will Harper huff and puff, or stomp and thomp his way to the Governor General and call for an election?

  38. don’t denegrate people under the voting age, please.

  39. Interesting that Kady would suggest the possibility that a reporter could ever get something wrong. This is the same Kady that defended Krista Erickson’s planting questions with the Liberals scandal to the bitter end.

    Its no coincidence then that this reporter happens to work at the National Post and by getting it wrong, he slandered Kady’s beloved fiberal party. Nothing to see here…moving along.

  40. Brian popping up for more. I’ve never seen anything that suggests Kady has a specific party bias. She lambasts all for their follies and tom- and tammy-foolery. But the NaPo was outed and wearing mud on their face on trying to foist this rumour as fact. No one questions that it and the new Aspers are squewing right, crowding the Sun chain.
    As to defending Erickson – why not? Maybe she did something foolish but its been found that Tories and NdPers also mine the press gallery for good questions. They just don’t make the mistake of getting caught, that’s all. Ms Erickson paid a hefty price.
    Now, with the PM on tape admitting that an offer was made to a dying MP who had a vote that the PM coveted, what is the price he should pay? I’m sure you’ve rationalized that act.

  41. I think Brian may work in the PMO. I’m not saying, I’m just saying…

  42. Hey, reporters get things wrong all the time. Including this one. But what I found a little disingenuous was to then suggest, after being shown to have been wrong by the merciless editor that is reality, that somehow, the reporter had actually been right all along, and the fact that reality snippily failed to cooperate indicated a failing in the party, not a simple case of a faulty prediction. That, however, is far less worrisome to me than the fact that Ryan Sparrow *was*, in the end, apparently able to fool someone into running his largely hallucinatory version of what went down at committee. How on earth is he supposed to learn his lesson about being honest with the media if we let him get away with this stuff?

  43. If the National Post couldn’t be bothered to get worked up about being cut out of the in-and-out search warrant “private briefings” then they certainly aren’t going to have a problem repeating…sorry, “reporting” inaccurate Conservative talking points.

    Full Comment, btw, is also your headquarters for scores of condemnations of the residential schools apology without one single specific criticism of our beloved Prime Minister.

  44. “If the Libs speak about reductions in income tax tomorrow, i will eat my shoe.”

    So Dun, can I provide you with some salt and pepper?

  45. let’s see the details, gertrude; there is simply no way that anyone can warrant that these Dion taxes on everything will be `offset’ by reductions in income tax.

    by the by, the Lie-berals DID release their carbon plan yesterday:

  46. hxxp://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/06/18/liberal-carbon-plan.html?ref=rss

Sign in to comment.