Heckling, Burnaby style - Macleans.ca

Heckling, Burnaby style


Announcing incentives for energy-efficient home retrofits this morning in verdant Burnaby, B.C., Stéphane Dion was heckled. A bit.

Cheryl Cannell, a resident of the Pine Ridge Housing Cooperative, where Dion staged the event, appeared unimpressed by the details, even the special tax break he promised for low-income folks who want to upgrade their domiciles.

“What about the homeless!” she shouted from a grassy hill looking down on the spot where they’d set up Dion’s podium.

“We’ll have lots of policies for the homeless,” Dion answered mildly. “Today is about greening homes.”

A smiling Liberal official hustled over to chat with Cannell. At the end of Dion’s remarks, I glanced over and she was clapping politely along with everybody else. I asked her and she admitted Dion was a hard guy to really dislike.

Not your typical voice of dissent. Hard to imagine a heckler shouting at Harper, and then easing off so readily. But, then, Dion is not the sort of politician who inspires passions, negative or positive. It could be his great weakness: he has trouble inspiring. Or his main reason to hope for a campaign turnaround: folks remain willing to be persuaded that he’s OK.

Filed under:

Heckling, Burnaby style

  1. Hm. Be interesting to see what kind of response hecklers of the other parties give/get.

  2. No RCMP pressed into service to hustle her out of the way?

  3. Yeah let’s not discuss how Liberals ended building social housing across Canada in 1993. Not one single federal penny spent for it in all of Canada since then. Green that Mr. Dion.

  4. Lots of policies for the homeless! what like a (1) special exemption on carbon tax or (2) If they can get a mailing address right before the election they get to vote (3) Better yet the we understand your pain and want to stand up for you in Ottawa – can you donate any money or time to our party? (3) Best one 100% income tax deduction!

  5. whiskeyjack….in 1993 Canada was on the verge of bankruptcy…no money to go around, but hey, let’s not worry about real facts…just dig, attack and live in the past….yawn…..

  6. It’s good to hear a story about a Dion policy announcement. I was getting the Where’s Waldo? feeling about the Liberals campaign.

  7. Well, Sandi, it would be nice, now that, 15 years later, we’re no longer “on the verge of bankruptcy,” to restore funding to social housing. Coming from Mr. Dion, it might even take votes from the NDP. On attend.

  8. Wayne,

    Contrary to the suggestion of your point Number 2, homeless people actually are allowed to vote now. Even if they don’t have homes. No need for a new Liberal policy of “allowing” the homeless to vote. We don’t take away a citizen’s right to vote because he or she is poor.

    Not yet anyway.

  9. Are you sure Lord : as I always thought = if they don’t have ID with them they can just make an oath verifying their identity and provide an address before voting, says Marc Mayrand, Chief Electoral Officer with Elections Canada. If the do have ID = it needs an address re: MV License, Passport etc etc all official forms of ID need an address?

  10. I believe the address of the local homeless shelter or Y is satisfactory.

  11. Yes! Let’s get federal dollars back into homes for the homeless! It’s about time! Meantime, there are a bunch of potholes a block from my home, can the House of Commons strike a committee to look into that? Oh, oh, and my neighbour is building a deck so big they’ll be able to snoop into our back yard, when will my MP smack that guy down for me?

    People, it’s called division of powers. Governments are incompetent enough with their own files — can we please (I’m begging now) make sure that at least everybody sticks to their own knitting? Oh geez, now I’m a sexist…

  12. MYL, every municipality has potholes to fix, but not every municipality has a homelessness problem. So what’s wrong the the feds kicking in a bit of money to the municipalities (read: big cities) that need help?

  13. Jack, what’s wrong with it is what’s wrong with any level of government poking its nose where it doesn’t belong. Biggest funder of provincial medicare across Canada? The federal government. That’s nuts! The provinces can manage their bureacratic nightmares into bankruptcy, then whine and complain that the feds are either denying them the tax room (legitimate) or not paying the provinces enough to do the provinces’ job (not legit).

    So, you want more responsible management of a provincial program? Cut federal taxes and cut federal funding, let the province get credit for the service and take responsibility for the fundraising. A city wants a better subway, and is flying to Ottawa to extort $ from the feds? Crazy, stupid, pick your epithet. Whichever level of government feels the need to do something, it should find the tax room to pay for it. And if higher levels of government are overtaxing the population, the solution is for higher levels of government to get out of the bloody way by cutting taxes, not to get further in the way by playing sugar-daddy during election season.

    I don’t expect you to agree, but I hope that answers your Q.

  14. It was nice of Mr Dion to offer up solutions to the affordable housing program that his party abolished in 1996.

    It is no wonder we have a housing crisis. Imagine how much more affordable housing we would have today had the Liberals not cancelled that program.

    Yes I support a different political party but I also am a 25 year member of a housing co-op and Mr. Dion’s announcement today was nothing more than a photo op filled with empty promises that his party has already proven when given the chance that they will not fufill. I was at that press conference and I clapped when it was over too – perhaps others there did so for the same reason I did – it was over.

  15. @heather
    “No RCMP pressed into service to hustle her out of the way?”

    Too busy aggressively frogmarching CBC comedians out of Steve’s press con.

  16. Dion strikes me as an unusually honest and sincere politician. I think he will be very different than Harper and will do much more for the environment and for those with low-incomes. The retrofit program he announced is essential. Past retrofit programs have done some, but not enough, and Harper cancelled the retrofit program shortly after taking office.

    The Liberals and the Greens are the only parties than have environmental programs which can immediately be put into place to start curbing emissions and which use a significant amount of the funds to protect those with the lowest incomes through credits, and for those in low and middle brackets, with tax cuts. The Conservatives will do little with their weak caps and the NDP won’t start until 3 or 4 years later and then, because they don’t protect low income because they don’t want to acknowledge how much their cap and trade costs consumers.

  17. L Cameron, your mind was made up years ago as you are referring to events in 1996 to support how you will vote in 2008.

    I’m not tied to any political party and I look at the current leaders and current platforms and the experience of the current MPs. I am not going to vote the same way in this election as I did in the last election. If there are enough people like me, it is possible that Harper will not be the next Prime Minister and I will be very happy with that. With your concern about affordable housing, Harper isn’t going to help you.

  18. Dion is in every way a gentleman and a scholar, and I have a feeling he is conducting the campaign exactly the way he wants. Whatever happens, he can always know he stuck to his integrity and beliefs at this time.

    He’s just that earnest, and believes in his policies. If Canadians can’t buy the real deal, and instead think stephen harper in a sweater isn’t really the stephen harper we’ve watched in action the past couple of years, well then that’s what will happen.