Messages of the day: “We never proposed a carbon tax”
Questions not answered:
- Will there be an omnibus budget bill? What will it contain?
- Will we be listing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization?
The return of Parliament
Live from the Foyer, Power and Politics led with the House leaders. Peter Van Loan talked about the economy and job creation. He confirmed there will be a new budget implementation bill, though he would not say if it will be an omnibus bill. Nathan Cullen noted that the environmental changes weren’t budget items — as they appeared in Bill C-38. Marc Garneau said he wanted to see specific measures on the economy, jobs, and the trade deficit. When Van Loan was confronted with the 2008 Conservative platform and the cap-and-trade promise, he said the plan didn’t book revenue from it, so is not the same as the NDP’s “carbon tax” plan. Cullen called that a “distinction with no difference,” while Garneau considered it an attempt by the Conservatives to change the channel from their failures on the economy.
Thomas Mulcair was on Power Play to talk about the Opposition’s plan to go after the Conservatives on the economy. He hammered on the trade deficit and lost manufacturing jobs and warned that health care is in jeopardy. Mulcair said the image of the NDP as tax-and-spenders has not been the reality in provinces in which they have formed governments — with the exception of Bob Rae in Ontario. When talk turned to the “carbon tax,” Mulcair called it a “bare-faced lie,” and said that a counter-offensive would be playing the Conservatives’ game. He also said we’ve already had a successful cap-and-trade system in Canada around sulfur dioxide.
The House leaders also turned up on Power Play, where Van Loan hinted that the budget implementation bill is likely to contain changes to MP and public sector pensions. Garneau said the Liberals now favour cap-and-trade, despite the fact the party voted in favour of a carbon tax at its last policy convention. Cullen predicted that trade deals and the Nexen takeover will be big issues during the fall sitting.
Evan Solomon spoke with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird about the safety of Canada’s embassies. Baird said that while things are peaceful, the safety of our personnel is a priority. He would not get into specifics, except to say the embassy in Iran was not secure. When asked about Egypt, Baird said he’d judge the new president on his actions, but gave him credit for going to Tehran to blast the Syrian government. He also said that there is still time to de-escalate the nuclear situation in Iran, but deferred to Vic Toews to provide an answer on whether or not the Iranian Revolutionary Guard will be listed as a terrorist organization.
Baird also showed up on Power Play where he added that Italy would be taking care of Canada’s interests in Iran with respect to those Canadians on death row.
Carbon tax politics (again)
MPs Megan Leslie, Michelle Rempel and Scott Brison showed up on Power & Politics to talk “carbon tax.” Rempel said a price on carbon was code for market instability and increased costs to consumers. She said Conservatives are focused on growing the economy and reducing greenhouse gases. Leslie dismissed all of this as optics, while Brison noted that even the president of Royal Dutch Shell is calling for carbon pricing, preferring a carbon tax to cap-and-trade. He pointed to the 2008 regulatory framework from the Government of Canada website that called for the very same carbon pricing and mentioned price increases. Rempel talked about the government’s regulatory approach as one to ensure the economy wouldn’t be destabilized, while Brison pointed out that every province taking its own approach to carbon pricing was balkanizing the economy.
Stephen Woodsworth was on Power & Politics to discuss upcoming debate on his motion concerning the definition of a human being in the Criminal Code. It comes up on Friday. He mentioned that in the Morgentaler Decision, Supreme Court Justice Bertha Wilson recommended Parliament undertake such a study. Woodsworth didn’t mention Parliament has tried, but the bill that resulted died on a tie vote in the Senate. Solomon pressed on whether this would be a means of restricting abortion, but Woodsworth kept the focus on the section of the Criminal Code that defines a human being — which he considers a “fraud.” He did acknowledge that if this motion does pass and it produces a debate and a report, it can be put on a shelf and ignored.