'We had a good plan' - Macleans.ca

‘We had a good plan’


In a speech at Carleton, Stephane Dion reflects.

Dion understands that the fear people had of his carbon tax is what hurt him the most.

“We had a good plan, Canadians ended up being afraid of it. The conservatives came with attack adds against me … [Stephen Harper] invested a lot of money in this… People were convinced that [the carbon tax]… was a fiscal change, we did a poor job to explain that their income tax would be cut by 10 per cent,” he said. “Now people are stopping me in the street everywhere telling me that they thought it was a good plan.”

But Dion is still confident, comparing his situation to the first time women tried to get the right to vote. “It’s not because we have a ‘no’ the first time that we have to stop … I met the minister of the environment of Sweden and I asked her how come in your country whatever the government does, is much more than [what we do],  she told me it wasn’t the case at the beginning but it is the case now.”


‘We had a good plan’

  1. "“Michael Ignatieff has told me that ‘I will be as green as you were.' I said ‘Ok. '”

    So Iggy is not green at all than. Except he might change his cats names to Copen & Hagen and that will be enough for msm to big up Iggy's green credentials.

    "This vision that I had convinced myself that was to come in 2004 and 2005 with the greenest budgets since the confederation … to save the Kyoto protocol … this was the plan until we, the Liberals"

    So Dion is saying the Lib strategy was to continue kicking the can down the road and then blame an election for inability to do anything about environment even though they were in power for 13 years.

    Dion's assertion boils down to that the plan was good but us rubes were not clever enough to see it's genius. Sounds about right coming from a Lib.

    • Feel better?

      • No. I'll be better when I no longer have to hear this rubbish from Canada's own Chauncey Gardiner.

        • I'm fairly certain he said quite clearly that the liberals failed to explain the plan properly to Canadians, not that Canadians were dumb enough to see it's genius.

          We keep lamenting how politicians aren't bringing "big ideas" to the table. Well here was one and we didn't take the chance on it.

          • "We keep lamenting how politicians aren't bringing "big ideas" to the table. Well here was one and we didn't take the chance on it. "

            Should we take a chance on a big idea even if it's wrong? Unfair? Won't reach the results it's hoping to and that's plainly visible from the get go?

            I'm terrified of universal child care and the green shift. The gun registry and ehealth are examples of how the bureaucracy can spend tax payers money by the cargo plane full and have nothing to show for it at the end of the day.

          • How is this government different? Where is the money going? What about the $3 billion slush fund?

          • "Wrong" and "unfair" are pretty subjective. Won't reach the results is very arguable insofar as the concept is sound; you increase the tax on what you don't want (carbon), and offset that by reducing taxes on what you do want (income). It was supposed to 'revenue neutral' altjhough that a tough one to balance, but if last year's spike in oil prices taught us one thing, people do change their consumption habits if it hits them in the pocketbook.

          • not to mention that its proven to be quite effective in Scandinavian countries.

        • Which is exactly how I feel about your girl, Sarah Palin

        • But if he disappears, what other sources will you have for your Daily Mail reader-type snorting anger?

  2. Joylon I am sure believes that Harper's goal (quote from the G&M) of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 can be achieved, but only by limiting growth in Alberta and Saskatchewan is far better. However, Westerners don't seem to agree. Which doesn't matter because they'll vote for Harper anyway. Westerners are typical of conservatives worldwide : they would rather choose to have taxpayers foot the bill by taking on massive public debt rather than to tax consumers for their behaviour.

    • Actually we westerners want fiscal responsibility. If it were up to us, there would have been no bailouts, and no stimulus. We would have the government cut spending instead. It's "you easterners" who feel entitled to a government program for everything under the sun and expect somebody else (Westerners) to pay for it.

      • But you fellows vote for slush fund Harper and his pig trough politics. Great.

  3. “It's not because we have a ‘no' the first time that we have to stop …

    Sounds like the Quebec reverendum.

    • And another Green Shaft , should a Liberal government be elected.

      • Yes, those pesky Liberals might cost us $100-billion in debt in two years if elected.

        The Liberals are currently in power, right?

        • They must be. As you’ll recall, the only way we’d have a deficit or a recession is if Dion was elected. Ergo, Dion is prime minister. That’s how these things work, right?

          • I think so.

            Are we still expecting a modest $100-million surplus this year? I haven't been paying attention the last few months.

  4. Sweden is a socialist country where the citizens look to the Government for leadership, asssistance and assurance.
    Canada (at least Westerners) are independent, self assured and self reliant individuals that look upon the Government as a "necessary evil".
    The trust factor just isn't in the soul of the Canadaian people.
    Perhaps it is in the genes as all the people left the security of home and immigrated from somewhere else.

    • You're watching too much FoxNews and think you're living in Montana.

      • And you Liberals are so disconnected to people who don't live in downtown Toronto,
        you sit at historic lows of 25% and have just hired your NINETH chief of staff in 3 years.

        Keep listen to your own voices on Liberal blogs like this, and 25% is going to be the good old days.

      • You're watching too much Disney and think you're living in munchkin land.

        • No, I'm living in the land where no one is "independent, self assured and self reliant" and pretty and smart and in no way arrogant and conceited to a near Master Race degree.

          • so, pretty much what I just said then…..is your land also in teco-color?

          • What's teco-color?

      • It's refered to as North Montana.

    • Can individual blowhards please stop telling us what "Canadians" think !

      • if they did, they wouldn't be blowhards…er…I mean "independent, self assured and self reliant" Western Canadians (ie. Albertans).

  5. *yawn*

  6. I honestly hope Dion continues to make public appearances and reminds Canadians of how truly lucky we are that he and the Liberals failed in their attempted coalition. The last thing we need is for an eco-fascist to be elected as the PM.

    • Are you wearing a tinfoil hat to stop the radio waves from taking over your brain?

  7. We had a good plan! – famous last words. Let me see the Captain of the Titanic – but sir we had a good plan WHHAAAMMM! The pilot of the Hinderburgh – but sir we had a good plan PPPPSSSSST! Nixon's new Chief of Staff – but sir we had a good plan BBBZZZZZZ – please push record again. Clinton's new lawyer – but sir we had a good plan THWACK (sound of knees hitting the floor) and I DID NOT HAVE SEX with that woman. – and last but not the least recently : Ian Davey watching TV discovering he has just been fired according to the pundits on prime time = BUT SIR WE HAD A GOOD PLAN!

  8. much better – thank you for your concern!

    • wayne, your doctor needs a new plan. WHHAAAAAAAAAAM!

      Harper should implement a carbon tax, to fight the deficit and the climate change, a twofer. He could consult Dion, in the spirit of bi-partisanship. We have seen him turn on a dime before.

      And since Conservative partisans are so fascinated with polls these days…

      "By a two-to-one margin (62-27), respondents said they believed Canada and the United States have a responsibility "to set higher and harder targets" for greenhouse-gas reductions than "fast-growing" countries such as China and India."

      "Pollster Doug Anderson suggested Friday the Conservative climate-change argument has been heard by Canadians, and rejected."

      • Do you want to know something really hilarious! – Harper is the only politician with the skills and ability to actually push a carbon tax through = ROFL think about it and if that don't give you the Blues nothing will – PS: you might have a point as if Obama really wants to ram a carbon tax through then my boy Stevie would indeed have to get one through as well – oh dear the sheer deliciousness of the irony hahahahahaha and then a majority to boot – I can see frustrated left wing nuts heads exploding as I type this!

  9. Sorry Mr Dion, It wasn't a good plan because part of a 'Good Plan' is the ability to communicate all aspects of 'the plan' clearly in language that Joe Six-pack can understand. Communicating such a plan to the public would have lead to understanding the positive possibilities of where the plan would take Canada. This is the main failure of the 'Good Plan'. It was a communications disaster.

    I looked at the Liberal Greenshift website and IMO more beta testing was required to put it politely as possible. Lots of positives about tax relief via income tax reduction but zero, zilch, nada calculation on the cost of living increases brought about by the carbon tax. It made the website and greenshift policy look suspect, even if one was sympathetic to the idea. The Liberals need to show the costs of a carbon tax on the average family and then show the income tax relief offset so Joe Sixpack could get the true picture of what would happen. This was not done. It was the main failure of 'the Good Plan'

    • "It wasn't a good plan because part of a 'Good Plan' is the ability to communicate all aspects of 'the plan' clearly in language that Joe Six-pack can understand."

      Why do Conservatives insist that regular people are stupid?

      • They're projecting.

    • "It wasn't a good plan because part of a 'Good Plan' is the ability to communicate all aspects of 'the plan' clearly in language that Joe Six-pack can understand."

      When the plan was first launched, a few Liberal "Joe Six Packs" (and a Mary Winebox) I know thought that the basic idea was reasonable: Tax things we don't want to pay for things we do want. Seems straightforward and easy to understand.

      However, that got lost quickly in a loud, shrill attack campaign involving a talking oil stain. Aided and abetted by the media of course…like the Toronto Sun, which used half of its front page to reprint the the spokestain graphic. And the rest of the media followed along, talking about the attack campaign to the exclusion of everything else.

      • The very fi]rtst commenter on this post was downright insulted at a perceived implication that the issue was too complex to be understood by the 'rubes.'
        The issue is very complex, and made it easy pickings for the populists to pan it and confuse the population into not liking it.
        My communications plan would have been different: "A tax on what you want less of (carbon), offset by huge income tax deductions, (with credits and deductions for the rural crowd who dominate political decision making in this contry)"
        The carbon tax was WAAY to progressive for these conservatives, evidently.

  10. “Now people are stopping me in the street everywhere telling me that they thought it was a good plan.”

    Perhaps his hearing impairment is acting up again.

    • Perhaps your bile gland needs to be emptied. See your vet.

    • Your comment contributes nothing but show the mean-spiritness of conservzatives picking on Dion. We'l chalk it up to your brain impairment.

      • SH is a sand-kicker and some people feel it's an admirable leadership trait

  11. You presuppose that there's one to be taken over.

  12. Partisan posters are so depressing. Do any of you actually beleive the taunts you have memorized, or is it just such second nature now you don't question yourself or your party anymore?

    • QP redux

  13. When asked about the green credibility of his successor, Michael Ignatieff, Dion was tactful: “Michael Ignatieff has told me that ‘I will be as green as you were.' I said ‘Ok. '

    Ironically, Michael "the rookie" Ignatieff has proven to be just as green as Dion – just in a slightly different sense of the word "green".

  14. Would this be a bad time to remind everyone about Coyne's article during the election where independent analysis showed that Dion's plan would, at worst, cost just as much as the Conservative plan (which, as a free market, could inflate significantly more than Dion's), while simultaneously delivering substantially greater results?

    Yeah, thought so. Carry on.

  15. "It's not because we have a ‘no' the first time that we have to stop"

    Wasn't that Roman Polanski's argument?

    • yikes, the similarities between Dion's green shaft and anally raping a 13 year old are frightening, eh Joan? Glad someone said it, not me.

      in the key of a flat minor, 3/4 timing, a waltz… little monkeys climbing through the keyhole, little monkeys out on patrol…

    • Having a flashback to early adolescence, Joan?

  16. "We had a good plan."

    I do think it was a good plan overall, but it will mainly be remembered as an object lesson in how not to sell a good plan. First and foremost: if it's supposed to be revenue-neutral, DON'T advertise all the good things you'll do with the revenue, DO repeat the words "revenue-neutral" ad nauseam . . . something you can't really do if you ignore the "DON'T." Major policy shifts have to be stark choices, nothing fuzzy.

    • I couldn't agree more. I remember being so frustrated that the income tax cuts were hardly mentioned – it was all about the tax on carbon; no mention of the offsets.
      I thought it was a no-brainer (but then again, I don't drive…..).

      • "t was all about the tax on carbon"

        Communicated to us by our impartial news media, no doubt.

        I spent a lot of time watching that drama unfold from start to finish and the only thing the Green Shift lacked was a slick multi-million dollar ad campaign. Serves the Liberals right. If they don't want bad press, they'd better pay the corporate media more.

        • The media were running around hoping someone would get a pie in the face so that they'd have some thing to report on the tee-vee. .
          Analyzing policy is NOT what they wanted to do.

    • I completely agree that major policy shifts have to be stark choices. Dion's own economic projections contradicted the "revenue neutral" claim. The projections showed an increase in government revenue thanks to the Green Shift, which would be spent on all sorts of goodies. This allowed the Conservatives to brand it a "tax increase".

      Dion argued that the increased revenues would be offset by an income tax cut, but this argument wasn't terribly persuasive because he was simultaneously promoting a slew of new programs (many unrelated to the environment) that would be funded thanks to Green Shift revenues.

  17. Dion is and always will be a man with great integrity. There is no doubt there were some flaws in the green shift but it is a framework that could have and should have been supported by Canadians but they chose a path of the status quo.

    I suspect Mr. Harper will get his majority and will gut our social safety net programs in the name of fiscal conservatism and revel in eliminating any regulations to do with the environment.

    Mr. Harper does not believe in climate change nor does he believe in Canada's future.

    • If he can get his anger issues sorted out we might be okay. Although his handlers have had him suppress his rage so long now that he may explode soon.