Oh, and I might as well say this - Macleans.ca

Oh, and I might as well say this


Having Elizabeth May there didn’t hinder, detract, or otherwise bring down last night’s debate in any way. And I was always a bit cranky about pulling that fifth chair up to the table, but I think her advocates are vindicated.


Oh, and I might as well say this

  1. I think anything Harper and Layton worked on together behind the scenes is definitely something to oppose. May got in a few good jabs and Harper didn’t seem comfortable responding, but it is still not obvious to me why Harper and Layton felt so strongly that May needed to be excluded.

  2. I think the jury is still out until after the English debate. Her French is not strong enough that she would try to get anything but the simplest of her messages across. She wasn’t going to tip her hand for anything she might say in the English debate that she wants to surprise anyone with. Disappointed in her performance in the “say something nice” segment…but if she performs similarly in the English debate tonight I’ll agree with you completely.

  3. Someone needs to tell May that she is the leader of a political party and not heading a non-governmental organization.

    Chantal Hebert, Canada’s most astute political commentator, makes the point that “an attentive viewer would be hard-pressed to come away from the exchanges knowing more about the party she purports to lead.” For the leader of a new party getting the opportunity to showcase it to the country, she didn’t even try to do so.

    May blew a golden opportunity last night.

  4. She claimed at one point that Harper would – literally, not figuratively – cause the apocalypse. At one point she was screeching in English loud enough to be audible over the translator on CPAC’s feed.

    I think it’s fairly arguable that she didn’t benefit the inherent dignity of the event, at least.

  5. The most dramatic moment came during May’s press conference after the debate. She was asked about the ‘say a nice thing’ response she made about Harper’s kids. She talked about kids for a bit.

    She then stated that since she believes that Harper loves his children, he must truly be deluded about climate change (implying that Harper would deliberately destroy the world and his children).

    The room was stunned. Then she did a giggle, a silly physical gesture, then trotted off.

    I was almost sick.

  6. May was great! So entertaining. What I kept thinking is that she’s speaking for us – for average Canadians. And she’s holding Harper and Layton to be accountable. It was like having someone at the table to represent us, as if we had a voice to force Harper to hear us. That’s the appeal of May. I think she was most focused on helping avoid a Harper majority rather than pushing her party. She really does put the country first in her efforts and I appreciate that.

    The translator for May was awesome!

  7. spicydoc – I saw that too.

    She’s a fanatic. If you don’t agree with her position on global warming, you’re a liar and a fraud.

    She was totally graceless in the exchange on “saying a nice thing” response which said a lot about her. If you don’t agree with her, you’re not a good person. That’s not exactly a way to make a fledgling party grow.

    She epitomizes the smug patronizing left. She makes good company with Dion and Duceppe in that regard.

  8. “The room was stunned. Then she did a giggle, a silly physical gesture, then trotted off.

    I was almost sick.”

    Spicydoc, the room was stunned indeed but not for the reason you think. What she said was deep and heartfelt. I actually raised a fist in the air when I heard her say this.

  9. spicydoc, I didn’t see that exchange, but I don’t understand your point.

    For anyone who understands the science of climate change, it is impossible to understand how a politician could both understand it and also choose to do nothing. It is not that the science is absolutely definite. It is that the science is overwhelmingly on the side that (1) humans can do something; (2) this is a long-term endeavor and time is quickly running out, and (3) to do nothing will lead to catastrophic and irreversible damage. This is no time to gamble on the few percent chance that we might get away with doing nothing.

    Therefore, from what you report, May is right. Harper must not understand the science, otherwise, how could he take such enormous risk for his children.

  10. Boudica and catherine make my point.

  11. To all those who disliked May’s performance, it seemed to me that she was the perfect counterpoint to the persona evinced by Mr. Harper during his two plus years as Prime Minister–every negative adjective you used to describe May can be applied precisely to the behaviour of the man you consider a hero.

    In my view–and I know many share it–Harper is NOT a hero. He is a cynical, devious hypocrite if his behaviour is any indication–and last night he looked exactly like the reprobate I think he is.

    Ha, take that!

  12. Catherine, what you – and most greens – seem not to understand is that there can be valid differences of opinion on the relative importance of differing worthy goals. Your strawman can be applied to any issue. Don’t agree with me on climate change? You must not understand the science! Don’t agree with me on crime? You must not understand the statistics! Don’t agree with me on tax policy? You must not understand economics!

    You would do far better to presume that your ideological opponents have valid reasons for holding their beliefs in good faith, than to imagine that they must logically be deluded for disagreeing with the inviolate precepts of The Science.

  13. Oh, and Jarrid–I looked up ‘smug’ in the New Canadian dictionary and there was a photo of Harper smiling during last night’s debate.

    He is the epitome of smug.

    “narrowly contented with one’s own accomplishments, beliefs, morality, etc.; self-satisfied to an annoying degree; complacent”

  14. Here’s an interesting point made by Bjørn Lomborg, adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School and the author of Cool It: The Sceptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming

    “Using the latest academic meta-study by Professor Richard Tol we can calculate that cutting 1,100 million tonnes of CO2 would create benefits worth £4 billion in terms of the impact on agriculture, forestry, preventing deaths from heat and cold, disease and unmanaged eco-systems. At a cost of £100 billion, the investment involves paying £1 to do less than 4p worth of good.

    The UK emits about 2 per cent of global CO2[Same as Canada]. Thus we could imagine the world as composed of 50 UKs, each emitting one fiftieth of the carbon. If all 50 of our “UKs” paid a £100 billion to reduce temperatures by one three-thousandth of a degree in 100 years, the result would be still be trivial: one sixtieth of a degree by the end of the century. Costs would most probably increase similarly, fiftyfold to £5,000 billion. This amazing sum would simply postpone global warming and its problems by a mere 11 months by the end of the century.

    The cost of £5,000 billion is equivalent to a hundredfold increase in global donations to developing countries. To make a simple comparison, the UN estimates that for about £40 billion annually, we could solve all major basic problems in the world – we could give clean drinking water, sanitation, basic education and healthcare to every person in the world. But instead we are spending a fortune achieving almost nothing.”

    Yup, let’s follow May and Dion and wreck the economy which result in more poverty and misery, especially for the poorest in our society. The enviromentalist project, if allowed to take root, will result in the same result as those who tried out the great marxist economic project: more poverty and more misery.

  15. Oh and what is Lomborg’s prescription for global warming: “We need to do the right thing – and invest in discovering and developing new low-carbon technology.”

    Hey, wasn’t that what Mr. Harper was saying last night?

  16. The May fans seem to think what May said about Harper’s kids was ‘okay’. It wasn’t. Let me illustrate by analogy.

    Let’s say that May opposes Harper’s plan re violent youth remaining in jail longer.

    Imaging Harper walking up to the mike and saying this:

    “I believe Ms. May loves her daughter very much, which is why I am shocked about her opposition to the crime bill. Why else would she basically consent to having her daughter raped and murdered by a young offender out on bail?”

    It is exactly the same noxious comment, greenies. Wake up.

  17. I thought May got a couple of jabs in at Harper when he had forgotten she was there, like on youth punishment.

    She more than cleared the bar Preston Manning set.

  18. Spicydoc – I was in the room when Elizabeth May was delivering her press conference, and honestly, I don’t think we were “stunned” — although by that point, a lot of us (read: me) were a little punchy after being stuck in the hermetically sealed English media room for the duration, so we may have just been experiencing that weird sense of disorientation that you get when you leave a movie theatre and find yourself back in the real world.

  19. When 8 out of 10 doctors say there is an excellent chance you have a bad disease, it is foolish not to take steps to treat that disease.

    Same principle applies to globabl warming.

  20. People leave movie theatres?

  21. I think they should do some kind of draw and add a couple of more leaders from fringe parties. The more voices, the better the debate.

    When they sit around a table like that it makes it easier to have a conversation because people are less likely to misbehave when they are sitting right next to the people they are debating.

    May toned down her act for the debate. I was expecting her to be much more bolshie and loud mouthed than she was.

  22. “When 8 out of 10 doctors say there is an excellent chance you have a bad disease, it is foolish not to take steps to treat that disease.

    Same principle applies to globabl warming”

    The solutions to global warming must be economically responsible Mike T.

  23. Kady–

    If the greenies are so proud of the ‘Harper would murder his own children for the sake of his ignorant ideology’ comment, why isn’t it getting more press?

    Where’s the headline–“May Slams Harper for Wanting to Kill His Own Children”?

    You guys are giving the ‘plucky’ creature way too much slack on this.

  24. spicydoc, am I the only one who is surprised that Harper (or one of his candidates) HASN’T said something like that yet? It fits in great with Martin loving kiddy porn, Layton loving the Taliban, and Dion loving recessions. Perhaps you should pass that along to the CPC comms people.

  25. It was typical Elizabeth May. Doubtful anyone who has seen her or heard her for any length of time would be shocked. Very unappealing trait to me – much more appealing to zealots.

  26. “The solutions to global warming must be economically responsible”

    Exactly. That is why Harper buried his own government report which showed that a carbon tax would be better for the economy than his own do-almost-nothing cap and trade. Cap and trade is a more expensive way to deal with global warming. A carbon tax is the economically responsible approach.

  27. The Headline for the National Newswatch (news aggregator) should read:

    “With twelve days to go, media desperately spinning to make this a close race”.

    with a by line

    “Mountains out of molehills – impartial observers say media trumping up Dion, just as they over played CPc gaffs of previous week.”

  28. John D–

    You miss the point. The only ‘nice’ thing May could bring herself to say about Harper was that he seems to love his kids.

    She then says that she is therefore bewildered that he would support policies which will kill them.

    This line of dialogue is repugnant. Period.

    Only a pathological Harper-hater would be ‘okay’ with this kind of comment.

  29. Mike T.

    Funny that the news of the last four global tracking agencies (including NASA) showing a .7 decline in global temperatures, the coldest since 1932 and the biggest one year drop in the modern era,

    and the very real scientific studies about the lack of sun spots and the maunder minimum,

    Doesn’t make any headlines of late.

    I linked to a single article the other day in Investors Business Daily about it. It’s startling.

    But it’s also something the “deciders” who tell us what is news (here’s a hint, if it doesn’t according with a neo-green/progressive world view it’s not newsworthy),

    decided we need not see.

    We’re setting global economic policy and proposing real hardship on Canadians,

    on ten year old science,

    and having the recent stuff kept from our eyes by a complicit media.

    Don’t worry though.

    The truth will burst the bubble.

    It will not be good for many.

    It will likely worst for the media (as it exists today).

  30. And while we’re on predictions

    (though in fairness it’s not a prediction just choosing to listen to what the insiders in the field are now more than whispering about),

    the IPCC will revise its forecasts dramatically next go ’round, and being forced to address the weight of current scientific observations (as opposed to computer models based on untested theory),

    such that the current global warming meme will essentially disappear.

    It’s already happening actually,

    but the ‘deciders’ in the media are invested too heavily at this point. The 180 turn will be too sharp, so they close their eyes and keep going forward.

    (uh oh, is that a code of ethics, codified standards, and a disciplinary board – that all true “professions” have – coming for the journalists [who are currently not actually professionals at all]????)


  31. Speaking of zealots, or people who are unappealing…

  32. Dot,

    I’m entitled to my predictions.

    As for the basis of my predictions (and the studies),

    of course you’d choose to name call rather than addressing the substance,

    that’s the first refuge of one on the loosing side of a debate.

    You need to do it more subtly though, like the media. I should be labelled a “denier”, you know, so as to presuppose the very fragile untested theories not actually unfolding as predicted,

    are as plain and obvious as the existence of the holocaust,

    with the added benefit of implying the denial of one is as bad as the other.

  33. Everyone says Duceppe did so well in the debate but honestly, I can’t wrap my head around this guy. He’s like a teflon don in Quebec.

    Why oh why, are the Bloc’s numbers risings? It’s like Canada just can’t win against this guy. Liberals, Conservatives and NDP all offer actual visions of prosperity for Quebec, and the Bloc just wants to sit there and moan and groan and divide.

    Why are Quebecers flocking to them?

  34. I thought the debate proved – unequivocally, that May does not belong there. Definitely way, way out of her league. Every person on there has not only been elected many times (she hasn’t ever), but they have also been elected as leaders of their party.
    All May did was wag her finger in the PM’s face, which was completely unprofessional (no surprise from her though), and rude to no end.
    The moderator should have commented on this.

    Of course, if Harper – who showed tremendous restraint, ever wagged his finger in someone’s face, it would be front page news for days in every media and paper.

  35. Kody, double spacing is a trick I used in high school when I had to write a one page book review and I had only watched the movie.

    It gives one the appearance of being vacuous.

  36. I too was appalled at Liz May’s comments. They display a lack of class.

    What she fails to understand is that Mr Harper does not disagree on the fact that global warming is a serious problem. The disagreement is on the best way to deal with the problem in a responsible manner.

    Given my family situation, health care is a far more urgent mattter than global warming for me. But I worry about policies that would push the economy into a recession because it would mean that the government would no longer have the revenues neeeded to pay for new medical facilities and services. Likewise, pushing Canada into a recession may help our emission-record by cutting industrial output as it did in Europe, but it also weakens our ability to develop long term solutions for clicmate change.

  37. The sunspots are clearly trying to make this look like a horse race. Sh*t, I mixed up my conspiracy theories.

  38. Two Cents: I doubt Harper’s sincerity on climate change. He still hasn’t released his plan which was announced, what, over a year ago? I think he saw a political weakness on his flank. When even Bush no longer denies ‘so-called global warming’, he couldn’t maintain his denial.

    Also, a carbon tax would not cause a recession in Canada. A government report commissioned by the Harper regime indicated that even a carbon tax of $50/tonne would cause less than 0.1% GDP drag for the first few years, and thereafter have a positive effect on economic growth. Given Dion’s phase-in plan is much more modest, it seems likely that any economic harm caused by a carbon tax would be a matter of rounding error.

  39. Riley: Because the Liberals aren’t popular under Dion (see: Clarity Act), the NDP have never been, and Harper’s doing his best to ensure he alienates the majority of Quebec.

    Honestly, if the support was going anywhere but the Bloc I’d be more surprised.

  40. Not doing anything about climate change will put Canada at a significant economic disadvantage to the rest of the developed world that is moving ahead. Yet Harper is not going to do anything substantive because a) his support base will savage him, b) it doesn’t fit with the “do nothing / markets always right” approach he favours, c) he’s been arguing against doing anything on climate change for his entire political career, and d) there’s a big segment of his support base that believes the earth is here (some would say “God given”) for the sole purpose of our exploitation, and e) rich countries won’t suffer as much as poor ones from climate change.

    Where’s the progress, now two and a half years later? There is none. EnCana has been operating a CO2 sequestration plant as a trial for years now (partly funded by the Liberals and the U.S. government). Its in Weyburn. Guess how many are in the world? Four. How many in North America? One. How much of the oil and gas related GHG’s sequestered? Too small to measure.

    Doing nothing substantive on climate change while playing with smoke and mirrors is directly akin to doing nothing (except reducing regulation) in the U.S. financial system.

    Not doing anything about runaway lending in the U.S. has led to financial collapse of their big banking institutions only after spawning housing bubbles in a number of regions of the country. (And yes we have bubbles in a few areas too). Lack of regulation and oversight did that. “Let the market” deal with it.

    Do nothing is not a solution, its abdication of responsibility.

  41. Michael Watkins

    From Bloomberg story today about EU economy, the only area crazy enough to prize carbon:

    “The economy contracted in the second quarter, unemployment increased to the highest in more than a year in August and the manufacturing, services and retail sectors all shrank for a fourth month in September. Confidence in the economic outlook is the lowest since the slump following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, according to the European Commission.”

    Why would we want to follow that model?

    One of Harper’s weaknesses is that he doesn’t explain himself very well at all. He just asserts things but doesn’t explain. He has good economic argument to make, look to Europe and see how they are doing with pricing carbon, but he seems incapable of it.

    They are nationalizing banks in UK, French and German economies shrunk in second quarter and are on track to do the same in third, who knows what’s happening with U.S. but Harper doesn’t mention any of that.

    Nor does he mention the positives of Canadian economy, like 0.7% growth in July, unemployment reaming steady at 6%. For an economist, he’s pretty crap at explaining why Canada is on the right track.

  42. once again I agree with Boudica about May’s post debate performance… I was stunned with how she had the reporters in the palm of her hand… a nice anecdote about the PM that got some laughs, then brought it around to climate change and hit him square in the head with it. I am no fan of May’s but I was impressed with her last night.

  43. PS what was with the strategy for Harper? Were they trying to make him look calm? It went too far, I thought he was narcoleptic.

  44. jwl, you’re not being very coherent. The USA doesn’t price carbon, and they are the worst basketcase of all.

  45. Oh, jwl, you’re spinning so hard you’re going to hurt yourself. I hope mommykins put your helmet on.

  46. Why I am wrong Sisyphus? Please explain.


    I wrote EU is only place that prices carbon and U.S. is separate issue, maybe I should have posted twice but couldn’t be assed. From what I can tell, Canada has best current economic numbers of all G8 countries but people are unaware of that because they prefer to act like chicken littles.

  47. I have to disagree Paul. I didn’t find her being there brought much at all but it did detract from Dion. Also, I think her inability in French meant she was less involved in the debate last night but tonight… I think that her inability to wait for others or listen to the moderator will be more prominent. I think that English will see how annoying she really is may not be a bad thing in the end.

  48. Many people have recognized that North America has been living in/on a bubble for years. Taxing Carbon for me is mainly about forcing our society to become more efficient. The credit crunch is the economy saying our lifestyle has been unsustainable. The environment is well on its way to showing us the same thing. ALL OF THIS IS CONNECTED.

  49. The surge in oil prices over the past few years has done everything we need to stimulate the move away from an oil-based economy. We do not need to pile on with added carbon taxes, particularly at a time we are headed into a recession brought on by global conditions. For Pete’s sake, even Dwight Duncan understands. Isn’t that enough?

  50. “Your strawman can be applied to any issue.”

    Talking about strawmen and the likes:

    Did anyone notice that last night during the debates that all party leaders, except Mr.Harper, used strawmen: ‘Bush’ this, ‘big oil companies’ that, ‘American laissez fair’ this, …. on and on. Not one of those leaders can manage to carry an argument without using one of those strawmen.

    Harper did not utter the word ‘Marxist’, ‘Cuba’, ‘Russia’ or ‘China’ once! It seems to me that his points for debating don’t need that kind of superficial gabberdash. He might actually believe that views can be held within Canadian context.

    An argument held within Canadian context!

    Waw, now that would be an eyeopener.

  51. “ALL OF THIS IS CONNECTED” if only we could see the connections!

    The crowds roared when target settings overflowed the table surface during the debates last night. Yet, remember who questioned in a realistic way, some might say in a connected way, how those targets can be met.

    But when looking at the postings here this morning, the connection between target setting and results are to be overlooked. Oh, those poor, poor children and their future! If I were me, and I am, I would be more worried about the state of our collective brains….

  52. I, too, was disappointed with PM Harper’s defence of his economic policies. He could, and should, have made a much more forceful case why now is not the right time to impose an additional tax burden on the Canadian economy.

    And, let there be no doubt. Just as the GST proved to be a wonderful revenue generator for government, the carbon tax would do likewise.

    Whatever its merits as an instrument of environmental policy, the carbon tax is not revenue neutral. It also is a massive redistribution of wealth from Alberta and the West to central Canada.

    While this may be true, it is very difficult for the Prime Minister af all Canadians seeking votes in Quebec in a French-language debate to say so openly. Hence, the result was a Stephen Harper who looked like he was sucking a lemon.

    Elizabeth May and Stephane Dion will never win a seat in Alberta so they don’t care about the distortions that a carbon tax will bring.

  53. “Hence, the result was a Stephen Harper who looked like he was sucking a lemon. ”

    Yes, very true. But perhaps he looked that way, because honestly, who in their right mind can say something meaninfull within a 45 second timeslot? Explain this economic upheavel within seconds? The debates were a joke. It was nothing but gotcha grabbing. Some politicians crave for that sort of policking, whereas others rather suck it up. There are limits imposed for holding onto one’s integrity.

  54. “When 8 out of 10 doctors say there is an excellent chance you have a bad disease, it is foolish not to take steps to treat that disease.”

    Yes, but it helps when the doctor’s don’t all prescribe different treatments.

    And, if I may stretch the metaphor even further, what if the expemnse of treating your new bad disease precludes you from treating an existing condition?

  55. Yeah. Killing ducks.

  56. Stephan Dion has been superseded by Lizzy May in the very competitive race for “media darling”.

    Lizzy to media: “You like me. You really, really like me”

    With four left of centre candidates the Canadian media has become increasingly confused.

    The bad guys , as always, are the Conservatives. But four left choices are causing shattered hearts amongst the media community.

    Except for such well known Conservative supporters as the TO Star, the CBC, and media friends of the arts community. The ideologues.