Australian rules


Is this Stéphane Dion?

Some senior Canadian Liberals say the comparison is not too far-fetched.

Now, obviously this business of taking strategic lessons from a country on the other side of the planet can easily go too far. Differences between the two countries’ politics will always outnumber similarities. But it’s interesting, and frankly surprising, to read that the Dionistas are even thinking strategically at all.

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Australian rules

  1. The major difference between Canada and Australia is that Australia had a conservative gov’t (under Howard’s Liberal party) from 1996-2007. During those 11 years, Canada’s gov’t was Liberal for about 9 of them.

    Rudd has little baggage. Dion’s Liberals have plenty. Rudd says things like he’ll implement Kyoto right away. Dion’s Libs can’t mention Kyoto without evoking Ignatieff’s “we didn’t get it done” in voters’ minds.

    Rudd says “we’ll implement real ghg targets” and we can give him the benefit of the doubt. Not so with Dion.

    Then again, the carbon shift doesn’t mention hard targets at all… what’s up with that? And why doesn’t the media pick up on that?

  2. “Then again, the carbon shift doesn’t mention hard targets at all… what’s up with that? And why doesn’t the media pick up on that?”

    Probably because it isn’t the smoking gun you think it is. The Liberals released their Carbon Budget last year which proposed to establish an absolute emmissions cap, which the Liberals claimed would lead to actual emmissions reduction. From what I gather the Liberals will complement the Carbon Tax with a Cap and Trade system. Will it work? I don’t know… it all sounds pretty magical to me. As does the NDP and Conservative plans. Hopefully somebody will do something, sometime, soon. So good on Dion for bringing the environment back into the national debate, the Conservatives did a pretty good job in silencing it.

  3. Quite so. If nothing else, I’m glad to see the subject being discussed. Now, if the Conservatives would only engage the issue on a serious level instead of shrieking hysterically about what doom a carbon tax will wreak on the economy and running childish ads with “Oily” the spokesblob representing their position on the matter, we might be making some progress.

  4. “Hopefully somebody will do something, sometime, soon.”

    I agree. I also believe the environment is important and we must reduce ghg emissions asap.

    However, we should also maintain an honest debate. A recent Globe and Mail article states Canada’s emissions have steadily declined since 2003. The enviro crowd seems to ignore this point.


    (I broke the link in 2 lines, to fit better on screen)

    As the Globe article states, even the Liberals are ignoring this. The carbon shift platform states we should begin reducing our emissions. Begin is the wrong word – they should say continue.

    But politically it would hurt the Liberals to say emissions have declined since 2003, so I expect them to completely ignore this fact. Better off to portray the Tories as the big bad anti-enviro party than mention reductions that took place during Harper’s (and Martin’s) gov’t.

    Politics as usual, I guess.

  5. Seems in Canada we just have Oily the spokesspot with his rhetoric, while in Australia, they are burning the midnight oil on this issue.

  6. Get a grip, people. There has been no warming since 1998. There is no crisis; there never was.

    Dion’s Green Shaft and whatever the new Aussie PM is planning are totally unnecessary. We would be better off dealing with real environmental problems instead of fighting the phantom menace of global warming.

  7. Keeping in mind that Dion is a Liberal and that Kevin Rudd is a social democrat… but.

    Dion’s plan doesn’t seem to have much to do with the environment, it’s a taxation policy that he _hopes_ will result in GHG reductions.

    Carbon taxes are something that belong to a time when fuel prices were inordinately low, and as such didn’t curtail use.

    Given that we are now locked into what seems like a never ending cycle of fuel scarcity, carbon taxes hardly make sense. What we need now is investments in public transportation, railways and alternative energy. That can all be funded by cap and trade.

    I remember that in the lead up to the last Federal election there was a lot of talk about dealing with Large Final Emitters (LFMs) who is talking about that now?

  8. It’s widely accepted by most economists that in order to start making serious reductions in CO2 output it’s first necessary to put a price on carbon. So, the plan certainly isn’t an end in itself in terms of achieving GHG reductions, but it is a necessary first step.

  9. Text of ad, in Strain:

    “Right now, our country is going through a terrible drought, and leading scientists confirm the drought is more severe because of global warming. For our long-term future, there is no more important difference between Mr. Howard and myself than on climate change. If elected, I’ll ratify Kyoto without delay. We’ll implement real greenhouse gas targets, and increase renewable energy like solar. Your vote, at this election, is crucial. In a very real sense, you’re voting for the future.”

    Text of ad, in Dion:

    “Presently, this country is proceeding in a – lack of water – a terrible lack, and the scientists they have confirmed it is more severe, because of the global warming. Four our future of the long term, no more important difference exists, as between Mr. Howard and me, than at the climate. If I am elected, I am going immediately to ratify the Kyoto. We are going to implement real targets for the greenhouse gas and we are going to increase the energy which is renewable, like the solar energy. Your vote, for this election, is most important. In a sense most real, you are going to vote for future.”

  10. Here is a good primer on how tax shifting and carbon taxes work:

    Again, it is just a primer and is purely theoretical, but it does provide a basic economics explanation of how tax shifting leads to lower carbon emissions.

    Regarding Kevin Rudd being a social democrat. 1.The Liberal Party in Canada has far greater connections to the New Zealand Labour Party than the N.D.P ever has.

    2.The Australian Labor Party is actually quite divided. The party is a coalition of several factions some on the left and some on the right. They all have official standing in the Australian Labor Party. I believe Kevin Rudd came from the more right leaning (read liberal) faction.

  11. I don’t suppose it really matters, but for what it’s worth, Kevin Rudd didn’t get his arse (or anything else) handed to him. The Australian electoral district in question, in a conservative rural area, has been held by the one right-wing party for 86 years straight; there was absolutely no suggestion it was going to change hands this time around, and so it proved.

  12. I love feuds about Australian politics! They’re like feuds about Canadian politics, except upside down!

  13. Then Rudd’s “I get the message” message seems to be a bit of an overreaction. Wierd.

  14. “Weird.” Sorry.

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