The Commons: Home improvement

by Aaron Wherry

The morning after the night before, Michael Ignatieff went for a stroll down the adhesives aisle of a Rona in suburban Gatineau. A Liberal candidate stood on each side of him. A semi-circle of photographers and cameramen shuffled backwards in front of him as he went.

Turning the corner he happened upon a shower door that caught his interest. Opening the door, he stepped behind the glass and looked out at the cameramen who clicked away happily. Further on he spotted a tub and signalled for his wife to come have a look. After some consideration, both appeared to be impressed with the bath’s craftsmanship and design.

He continued on between the giant shelves of this high-ceilinged retailer. Turning another corner he came upon an assortment of French doors where, coincidentally enough, someone had set up a podium to which was affixed a red Liberal sign. A row of television cameras had been set up in anticipation of his arrival.

He was here not only for the tubs, but also to announce that his party, were it to win a sufficient number of seats in the House to form government, would provide a tax credit to those who renovated their homes in an environmentally friendly manner.

Mr. Ignatieff wore a blue zip-up vest over a sweater and some informal slacks for the occasion. He was positioned between two doors, either of which can be yours for 15% off the sticker price. “It’s becoming clearer and clearer what the choices are,” he said. In fact, he continued, “the choice is clear.” “The only party that can replace Mr. Harper,” he explained, “is the Liberal party of Canada.” The audience of morning shoppers seemed mostly pleased with this.

After dispatching with a dozen questions from the reporters who, coincidentally, were also shopping at this hour, Mr. Ignatieff returned to browsing. At the front of one aisle he was impressed by a sizeable power drill. Down an adjacent aisle he tried out a sledgehammer.  He paused briefly to chat with a few shoppers who’d lined up to have a word, then turned and headed for the service department where he posed for pictures with a couple members of the staff.

Out the door and back on the bus, he waved for the cameras from the steps. Before he could go though a woman approached and handed him a package. She had, apparently, an abstract painting to give him. He accepted it happily. Presumably he will be back for the tub later.




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The Commons: Home improvement

  1. Well, 24 Sussex is in deplorable shape so the interest was probably genuine.

  2. Well, 24 Sussex is in deplorable shape so the interest was probably genuine.

    • The liberals will put a stop to a reckless conservative majority. Canadians care about the environment.

      • How can they stop something that hasn't existed yet?

        • By preventing from happening in the first place.

  3. The liberals will put a stop to a reckless conservative majority. Canadians care about the environment.

  4. Sadly, these are just the kind of shenanagins that the voters respond to. We hate the system, but reward those who play it best.

  5. Sadly, these are just the kind of shenanagins that the voters respond to. We hate the system, but reward those who play it best.

    • You miss the point…

      'Green' products are typically have a more expensive sticker tag than their less energy/resource conservative counterparts, despite their long term savings. These subsidies are not intended, nor will they have to the effect of having people run out to buy new and throw out the old wastefully… They are intended to encourage people, when they are renovating, to spend the extra money upfornt for better products that will be less wasteful.

      From a government standpoint they can cough up a bit of money now in the interest of saving money in the long run on water/electricity which are going to be very expensive in the long term. Its better for the economy to conserve finite resources, than to expand their consumption in the long run.

      • Wow I failed miserably there… this was intended for the post under this one. Luckily there seems to be no way to delete it.

  6. Consumption in the name of conservation. Subsidized by the taxpayers of tomorrow. Brilliant.

  7. Consumption in the name of conservation. Subsidized by the taxpayers of tomorrow. Brilliant.

    • Now you're anti-renovation?

      You do realize you're still paying off WWII, right?

    • You miss the point…

      'Green' products are typically have a more expensive sticker tag than their less energy/resource conservative counterparts, despite their long term savings. These subsidies are not intended, nor will they have to the effect of having people run out to buy new and throw out the old wastefully… They are intended to encourage people, when they are renovating, to spend the extra money upfornt for better products that will be less wasteful.

      From a government standpoint they can cough up a bit of money now in the interest of saving money in the long run on water/electricity which are going to be very expensive in the long term. Its better for the economy to conserve finite resources, than to expand their consumption in the long run.

      • So if it's such a brilliant idea, and so able to pay-for-itself in energy savings, why must we bribe people (with the wealth of people who have no say in the matter) to do it?

        • Hmmm…if you didn't knee jerk about it, perhaps you would realize that sometimes people can't actually afford the initial capital cost despite the long term net savings.

          • So, naturally, someone else should cough up for it?

          • Here is the thing: If you don't pay the fairly minimal expense for making up the difference between a resource conserving product and a normal product now you will pay the direct cost later in the increased rates for utilities. Not only the cost in using more of those utilities, but also the cost of expanding the infrastructure for those utilities.

            I agree with sentiment you are expressing, and I would typically agree with you when the government has no place interfering with markets or servicing the needs of a few special interest cases at the expense of the general populace… but this is a case where we all see benefit, and where government involvement is appropriate.

          • I would typically agree with you when the government has no place interfering with markets or servicing the needs of a few special interest cases at the expense of the general populace… but this is a case where we all see benefit, and where government involvement is appropriate.

            Sadly, that sentiment can be (and has been!) applied in any number of scenarios where somebody can dream up a "greater good." We're all better off when we grow up in better shape — BAM! Tax credit for the kid's soccer team registration and swimming lessons. We're all better off when some talented young adult wows us with her musical skills — BAM! Tax credit for the kid's piano lessons. We're all better off when Canadians generally have a better understanding of the wide world out there — BAM! Tax dollars subsidizing young adult Canadians to study and work abroad. We're all better off when there's less traffic gridlock at rush hour — BAM! Federal income tax credit for the monthly bus pass.

            I would invite people to dream up any number of other "greater good" notions, but I fear some idiot politician will suck them up and blow them out onto Line 2865 of Schedule 437 of the 2014 T1 General Income Tax form.

          • I cannot help but think that you have scripted a great political ad.

            Think MI walking down main street in anywhere Canada. It's a sunny day and the birds a chirping. Everyone is just thrilled to be alive. Then, the musical score kicks in:

            MI (please remember, this is a musical): I am here for your family; please tell meeeeeee, what you neeeeeeeddd.

            Couple in matching jogging suit: We want to work out so that we can be healthyyyyyyyy

            MI: BAM!!! Tax credit for yoooouuuuuuu!

            Anybody family of four (the children singing): We want to learn to play classical musssiiiiiiccccc

            MI: BAM!!!! Tax credit for yooooouuuuuu!

            College kids playing frisbee: We want to go to Africa Michaellllllllllll

            MI: BAM!!!! Tax credit for yoooooouuuuuu!

            ————————–

            Perhaps the BAM is to violent? And I imagine there could be some nice graphics a la Adam West Batman.

          • Why are you getting thumbs down? Even if a person disagrees with you, this was well thought out and funny.

          • :) )

          • lol Well put, and fair point. I actually agree with you on all of those points believe it or not.

            However, there is a distinction between the two examples – to my mind at least. All of the examples you used a fair bit more abstract than the one in question. Paying for a kids fitness may make him healthier long term, but no one can say wether that kid wouldnt have just gone out and kicked a ball around regardless… is it going to the right people? And who says those kids dont break bones or have strokes while staying fit on the public purse? For that matter, how can it really be shown that the cost is justified but the savings?

            With subsidies of this nature each dollar is actually going into direct savings. Not only does it cut down on the individuals expenses, but everyones through reduced service charges.. Efficiency is something the government needs to invest in, we can't simply rely on an ability to continually increase consumption.

            The choice is between investing that money rebuilding/repairing overextended infrastructure to allow for increased demand, or to invest in directly reducing the strain while still meeting demand. Either way this money is going to be paid by the public.

          • Of course it can. But if you don't look at the world in pure black and white terms, you then gain the capacity to apply judgment to which ones have benefits that are worth the costs.

          • Someone else?

            So we shouldn't all chip in together for a national benefit?

          • I cough up taxes while the Harper government subsidizes oil production — and take public transit in a place where riders pay more than 80% of costs — unlike places like, say, Alberta. So AFAIC I think you're breathing out of your posterior.

          • That's the way it works presently.
            You get your cheap crap, and someone else gets polluted water, polluted air, climate change, depleted oceans, cancer, etc.

        • Because people dont think long term, or are unable to. They are making short term financial decisions based upon the funds they have available to them. The government in this case is doing the same, recognizing that short term expense is actually preferable to the long term expense.

          The other benefit is that it creates an infrastructure and demand early, lowering costs and shifting the market faster than would naturally occur. Normally I would agree with you that subsidies are largely stupid, but in this case it actually has a direct benefit. Resources are increasingly scarce, and our infrastructure is coming under increasing burden. The cost will be directly on the consumer either way, and those costs will be much less if we can lower the strain on our infrastructure rather than expand it – or pay the cost for increasingly expensive natural resources.

          • The government in this case is pandering, recognizing that the short-term bribe for votes is worth the long-term expense of paying for the short term bribe. Today's ten-year-olds will not be voting for Ignatieff's eco-renovation brilliance in 2021, but they may well be paying for it.

            Harper was just as bad with the home reno tax credit garbage, and the infusion of massive amounts of our future wealth into unworthy and failed businesses of all sorts of descriptions. But that doesn't make this plan any less dishonourable.

          • Or, they'll be enjoying the benefits of it.

          • Better that the next generation reaps the rewards of soaring energy and utility costs? Conservation is all about the next generation… its doing more with less. Are you really suggesting that using limited resources as inefficiently as possible to avoid slightly higher initial costs is responsible for future of our country?

            My water bill is going to increase by 20% over the next few years, what do you think my kids will have to be paying out? If people in this area could get a bit of help to affordably use 20% less water it would be a very big benefit to future generations.

          • Can anyone remember urea formaldehyde? What a great government conservation program that was, eh?

            What I am suggesting is that betting that the government even has the beginnings of a clue about how best to nudge us inconvenient citizens towards best behaviours is a dangerous conceit that should be discouraged as often as possible.

          • Well then, why would Harper have me subsidizing other people's kid fitness programs? Pandering too, no?

          • Well played. I missed that.

          • Because people dont think long term, or are unable to.

            Which is why this idea sounds so nice. "Oh look! Free money to help install new windows! I'll vote for that!"

            I guess you like the subsidies for purchases of Prii and Volts and Leafs, too? Just how much of our environment-draining generation of wealth must we devote to these schemes, anyway, until someone who can count speaks up?

        • I agree with you here, but there's no daylight between the conservatives and liberals on this subsidy issue.

          • Well and good. I am not sure I said there was any daylight between them, however.

  8. Now you're anti-renovation?

    You do realize you're still paying off WWII, right?

  9. You miss the point…

    'Green' products are typically have a more expensive sticker tag than their less energy/resource conservative counterparts, despite their long term savings. These subsidies are not intended, nor will they have to the effect of having people run out to buy new and throw out the old wastefully… They are intended to encourage people, when they are renovating, to spend the extra money upfornt for better products that will be less wasteful.

    From a government standpoint they can cough up a bit of money now in the interest of saving money in the long run on water/electricity which are going to be very expensive in the long term. Its better for the economy to conserve finite resources, than to expand their consumption in the long run.

  10. Wow I failed miserably there… this was intended for the post under this one. Luckily there seems to be no way to delete it.

  11. You miss the point…

    'Green' products are typically have a more expensive sticker tag than their less energy/resource conservative counterparts, despite their long term savings. These subsidies are not intended, nor will they have to the effect of having people run out to buy new and throw out the old wastefully… They are intended to encourage people, when they are renovating, to spend the extra money upfornt for better products that will be less wasteful.

    From a government standpoint they can cough up a bit of money now in the interest of saving money in the long run on water/electricity which are going to be very expensive in the long term. Its better for the economy to conserve finite resources, than to expand their consumption in the long run.

  12. So if it's such a brilliant idea, and so able to pay-for-itself in energy savings, why must we bribe people (with the wealth of people who have no say in the matter) to do it?

  13. Hmmm…if you didn't knee jerk about it, perhaps you would realize that sometimes people can't actually afford the initial capital cost despite the long term net savings.

  14. So, naturally, someone else should cough up for it?

  15. Because people dont think long term, or are unable to. They are making short term financial decisions based upon the funds they have available to them. The government in this case is doing the same, recognizing that short term expense is actually preferable to the long term expense.

    The other benefit is that it creates an infrastructure and demand early, lowering costs and shifting the market faster than would naturally occur. Normally I would agree with you that subsidies are largely stupid, but in this case it actually has a direct benefit. Resources are increasingly scarce, and our infrastructure is coming under increasing burden. The cost will be directly on the consumer either way, and those costs will be much less if we can lower the strain on our infrastructure rather than expand it – or pay the cost for increasingly expensive natural resources.

  16. Michael Ignatieff went for a stroll down the adhesives aisle

    Tacky.

  17. Michael Ignatieff went for a stroll down the adhesives aisle

    Tacky.

    • Not really. How else could he stick it to Harper? Don't get unglued, Dot.

      • That Michael Ignatieff thinks he's the caulk of the walk

        • If I ever saw Iggy strolling down the adhesive aisle, I'd paste him.

          • I am saddened to hear that you would not adhere to the law against assault. I suppose Mr. Ignatieff should apply for a peace bond, fast.

          • tape is sticky ;)

          • I wouldn't get close, in reality. Iggy and his security are attached at the hip. His hangers-on are more than a little clingy, if you ask me.

          • Harper the doughboy is already pasty. His handlers need a crowbar to flatten his stuck-on smile.

  18. The government in this case is pandering, recognizing that the short-term bribe for votes is worth the long-term expense of paying for the short term bribe. Today's ten-year-olds will not be voting for Ignatieff's eco-renovation brilliance in 2021, but they may well be paying for it.

    Harper was just as bad with the home reno tax credit garbage, and the infusion of massive amounts of our future wealth into unworthy and failed businesses of all sorts of descriptions. But that doesn't make this plan any less dishonourable.

  19. Not really. How else could he stick it to Harper? Don't get unglued, Dot.

  20. Here is the thing: If you don't pay the fairly minimal expense for making up the difference between a resource conserving product and a normal product now you will pay the direct cost later in the increased rates for utilities. Not only the cost in using more of those utilities, but also the cost of expanding the infrastructure for those utilities.

    I agree with sentiment you are expressing, and I would typically agree with you when the government has no place interfering with markets or servicing the needs of a few special interest cases at the expense of the general populace… but this is a case where we all see benefit, and where government involvement is appropriate.

  21. Someone else?

    So we shouldn't all chip in together for a national benefit?

  22. Or, they'll be enjoying the benefits of it.

  23. Better that the next generation reaps the rewards of soaring energy and utility costs? Conservation is all about the next generation… its doing more with less. Are you really suggesting that using limited resources as inefficiently as possible to avoid slightly higher initial costs is responsible for future of our country?

    My water bill is going to increase by 20% over the next few years, what do you think my kids will have to be paying out? If people in this area could get a bit of help to affordably use 20% less water it would be a very big benefit to future generations.

  24. I would typically agree with you when the government has no place interfering with markets or servicing the needs of a few special interest cases at the expense of the general populace… but this is a case where we all see benefit, and where government involvement is appropriate.

    Sadly, that sentiment can be (and has been!) applied in any number of scenarios where somebody can dream up a "greater good." We're all better off when we grow up in better shape — BAM! Tax credit for the kid's soccer team registration and swimming lessons. We're all better off when some talented young adult wows us with her musical skills — BAM! Tax credit for the kid's piano lessons. We're all better off when Canadians generally have a better understanding of the wide world out there — BAM! Tax dollars subsidizing young adult Canadians to study and work abroad. We're all better off when there's less traffic gridlock at rush hour — BAM! Federal income tax credit for the monthly bus pass.

    I would invite people to dream up any number of other "greater good" notions, but I fear some idiot politician will suck them up and blow them out onto Line 2865 of Schedule 437 of the 2014 T1 General Income Tax form.

  25. Because people dont think long term, or are unable to.

    Which is why this idea sounds so nice. "Oh look! Free money to help install new windows! I'll vote for that!"

    I guess you like the subsidies for purchases of Prii and Volts and Leafs, too? Just how much of our environment-draining generation of wealth must we devote to these schemes, anyway, until someone who can count speaks up?

  26. Can anyone remember urea formaldehyde? What a great government conservation program that was, eh?

    What I am suggesting is that betting that the government even has the beginnings of a clue about how best to nudge us inconvenient citizens towards best behaviours is a dangerous conceit that should be discouraged as often as possible.

  27. I agree with you here, but there's no daylight between the conservatives and liberals on this subsidy issue.

  28. That Michael Ignatieff thinks he's the caulk of the walk

  29. Well then, why would Harper have me subsidizing other people's kid fitness programs? Pandering too, no?

  30. Well and good. I am not sure I said there was any daylight between them, however.

  31. Well played. I missed that.

  32. If I ever saw Iggy strolling down the adhesive aisle, I'd paste him.

  33. I am saddened to hear that you would not adhere to the law against assault. I suppose Mr. Ignatieff should apply for a peace bond, fast.

  34. tape is sticky ;)

  35. I cannot help but think that you have scripted a great political ad.

    Think MI walking down main street in anywhere Canada. It's a sunny day and the birds a chirping. Everyone is just thrilled to be alive. Then, the musical score kicks in:

    MI (please remember, this is a musical): I am here for your family; please tell meeeeeee, what you neeeeeeeddd.

    Couple in matching jogging suit: We want to work out so that we can be healthyyyyyyyy

    MI: BAM!!! Tax credit for yoooouuuuuuu!

    Anybody family of four (the children singing): We want to learn to play classical musssiiiiiiccccc

    MI: BAM!!!! Tax credit for yooooouuuuuu!

    College kids playing frisbee: We want to go to Africa Michaellllllllllll

    MI: BAM!!!! Tax credit for yoooooouuuuuu!

    ————————–

    Perhaps the BAM is to violent? And I imagine there could be some nice graphics a la Adam West Batman.

  36. What is especially sad is that most of these pathetic panders were brought to us courtesy of the (allegedly) conservative party…

  37. I cough up taxes while the Harper government subsidizes oil production — and take public transit in a place where riders pay more than 80% of costs — unlike places like, say, Alberta. So AFAIC I think you're breathing out of your posterior.

  38. I wouldn't get close, in reality. Iggy and his security are attached at the hip. His hangers-on are more than a little clingy, if you ask me.

  39. Harper the doughboy is already pasty. His handlers need a crowbar to flatten his stuck-on smile.

  40. lol Well put, and fair point. I actually agree with you on all of those points believe it or not.

    However, there is a distinction between the two examples – to my mind at least. All of the examples you used a fair bit more abstract than the one in question. Paying for a kids fitness may make him healthier long term, but no one can say wether that kid wouldnt have just gone out and kicked a ball around regardless… is it going to the right people? And who says those kids dont break bones or have strokes while staying fit on the public purse? For that matter, how can it really be shown that the cost is justified but the savings?

    With subsidies of this nature each dollar is actually going into direct savings. Not only does it cut down on the individuals expenses, but everyones through reduced service charges.. Efficiency is something the government needs to invest in, we can't simply rely on an ability to continually increase consumption.

    The choice is between investing that money rebuilding/repairing overextended infrastructure to allow for increased demand, or to invest in directly reducing the strain while still meeting demand. Either way this money is going to be paid by the public.

  41. That's the way it works presently.
    You get your cheap crap, and someone else gets polluted water, polluted air, climate change, depleted oceans, cancer, etc.

  42. Of course it can. But if you don't look at the world in pure black and white terms, you then gain the capacity to apply judgment to which ones have benefits that are worth the costs.

  43. Why are you getting thumbs down? Even if a person disagrees with you, this was well thought out and funny.

  44. How can they stop something that hasn't existed yet?

  45. :) )

  46. By preventing from happening in the first place.

  47. ADHERE TO THE RULES!

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