Better know a talking point

by Aaron Wherry

Stephen Gordon skewers a Conservative talking point.

Sectors that cannot absorb the tax will see declining employment, and employment in the other sectors would grow. If the tax is introduced gradually, these shifts will absorbed into the usual flows in and out of employment, and total employment wouldn’t be affected even in the short run.

To the extent that a carbon tax will reduce employment in certain sectors, then yes, it “kills jobs.” So does a cap-and-trade system. And more importantly, so do regulations. Just as with a carbon tax and cap-and-trade, the regulatory approach that the Conservatives now prefer increases the cost of doing business. Some sectors will be able to adapt to this, some will not. Same with a carbon tax.




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Better know a talking point

  1. Hon. member: “The NDP would introduce a job-killing carbon tax!”
    Another hon. member: “The Conservatives have introduced job-killing regulations!”
    Another hon. member: “The NDP would introduce a job-killing carbon tax!”
    Another hon. member: “The Conservatives have introduced job-killing regulations!”
    …..
    One thing that strikes me: there’s an inherit advantage in the design of Question Period that the government always gets the last word. Not to say this is wrong, but I think it’s fair to say in any debate, it’s often the party that gets the last word in that comes across best. (Take for example Mitt Romney preferring to speak last at the first debate)
    As such, it seems no matter what any opposition party does in Question Period, as long as the CPC has the last word, it’s very much a mug’s game in the end when the content of questions are inane accusatory, and the responses are inane and unrelated to the questions.
    Is there a solution to this conundrum? To think out of the box, the only thing that comes to mind is the government can’t answer questions in QP if the opposition doesn’t ask them in QP.

    • Remember when Ignatieff went through a brief period of asking only good solid, mostly non gotcha questions? It didn’t slow the govt for a second. Some have wondered if he gave it up too soon though, as it wa starting to become obvious that the only truly stupid responses were coming from the govt side of the house. If only MI had been experienced or tough minded, or patient…or any good as a politician

      • I agree, but I think this underscores my point exactly. Good questions or bad questions, the whole exercise is tilted towards the government as they always get the last word.
        If one believes QP’s only purpose today is to score political points, and not to seek information from the government (and being the cynical realist I am, I believe it is), then if I were an opposition member, I’d have to ask myself the question, am I better to participate in this, or am I able to mount a more effective opposition by staying away from this process all together?
        I will reiterate one thing – the government can only get in the last word if someone asks a question. No opposition questions, and QP is reduced to the circle jerk that it is of gov’t MPs lobbing softball questions to ministers.

        • If we had a government that didn’t hold Parliament in contempt, it would be entirely appropriate for them to have the last word — presumably to provide an answer to the last question the opposition asked.

        • Obviously the opposition gets something out of it then – unless they’re bound by a sense of duty or is it masochism?

      • I always felt Ignatieff’s questions were far too long and convoluted, and always ended with him asking something in a weak and passive way: “When will the government do the right thing and … ”

        Answer: the government has NO intention of doing the right thing, and your question was so boringingly asked that nobody even knows what it’s about any longer, so they don’t have to answer anyway. I sure want to see far brisker delivery in questions, answers would be good but you know, a Perry Mason delivery of a question can be as inspiring and important as any answer. Some emotion behind the delivery, because the question matters. A means to force an answer of showcase the government ignoring the question.

        • Good point. Ignatieff was often like one of those 19th century gents asking a question in the House of Lords; living proof that academics rarely make good politicians – Dion wasn’t much better. Give me someone with a trained legal mind, who knows how to cross examine any day.

  2. Only four years late!

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