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What’s on the immigrant voter’s mind


 

Stéphane Dion announced a comprehensive immigration policy today at the Shiang Garden restaurant in Richmond, B.C. It was a classic platform pitch, delivered in a classic campaign venue: a big room of round tables packed with Chinese Canadians, traditionally reliable Liberal voters, supplied with pots of tea and little paper Canadian flags.

But before Dion made his entry, I asked a few people at the back of the room what they were interested in hearing about. And from my tiny, unscientific sample… not a single mention of immigration policy.

There were plenty of questions, though, about the Green Shift. Would it mean double taxation when piled on top of the B.C. provincial government’s carbon tax? Would it mean higher prices when you fill up your car?

The local media seemed to know what’s on people’s minds. At Dion’s post-speech news conference, their questions focused on exactly these points. In answering them, Dion got a chance to repeat that he would not boost the current federal gasoline excise tax, and hoped to harmonize his tax shift with the B.C. carbon tax. (In fact, Dion argues the province’s policy and his plan don’t overlap as much as many assume, so that should not be a big problem.)

He blamed “the propaganda of the Conservatives” for confusion about his policy. I wonder, though. It seems obvious that most people didn’t pay any attention to the details when Dion unveiled the Green Shift last spring. It’s hardly surprising if now—as voters begin to ponder what is, after all, a plan to impose more tax on fossil fuels—many assume that would mean gas at the pumps, too. Getting past that predictable misunderstanding is a communications challenge, the importance of which the Liberals appear to have badly underestimated.


 

What’s on the immigrant voter’s mind

  1. I asked a few people at the back of the room what they were interested in hearing about. And from my tiny, unscientific sample… not a single mention of immigration policy.

    We’re they immigrants? I’m not sure I understand the distinction you’re making here between Canadians of Chinese heritage and immigrants.

  2. That’s because immigration policy isn’t on the minds of the Chinese, who have little trouble sponsoring their family here. What is interesting to them, is what interests all of us. How can Dion pawn his carbon expropriation off on a gullible nation?

    The fact is that Dion hasn’t had a communications challenge, he’s a communications failure [to borrow from Cool Hand Luke]. His carbon tax simply doesn’t fly, and with energy costs scaring the bejesus out of B.C. residents, and with two-tier electricity and a possible rise of 20% in premiums coming, it’s natural we’re all spooked about being “greened” right into the poor house.

  3. Gas prices are going through the roof today. Dion can’t talk about that because his plan is to make prices even higher. So, instead, he talks about immigration policy when no one else is.

    Meanwhile, Jack Layton is actually talking about gas prices, along with everyone else.

    Sometimes it’s hard to believe polls that have these two parties fighting for second place. Sometimes it’s not.

    Maybe the leadership numbers actually matter. Maybe they’re a leading indicator. Looks like Harper and Layton knew that going into this race. Looks like Dion didn’t.

  4. Dion can’t talk about that because his plan is to make prices even higher.

    Lie.

  5. Well, I’m wondering about what Elizabeth May is saying…..she says that Harper is “hiding” a report that indicates that carbon tax will not hurt the economy.

    Economists have approved the plan, as well as environmentalists.

    Why is Harper hiding a report – and how does May know about this?

  6. I think May got the report through the Freedom of Information Act. Harper buries a number of his own reports, but by law, we can access them if we go to the trouble and expense.

  7. Of course the Green Shift would *have* to make polluting activities like driving your car more expensive if it’s going to achieve even a fraction of Dion’s carbon-emission-reduction goals. You can’t say the tax is about changing behaviour on one hand, then claim it’s not going to raise the price of the things it’s supposed to encourage people to stop doing on the other!

    Personally, I think it would be a good thing to drive up the cost of gasoline and get people to use public transportation, live closer to work, etc. Thankfully I’m not running for Prime Minister on that platform :)

  8. Ti-Guy, instead of taking a cue from your glorious leader, how about you back up your claim that I’m a liar?

    Or are you too much of a partisan lightweight and coward?

  9. Ti-Guy, instead of taking a cue from your glorious leader, how about you back up your claim that I’m a liar

    You make a claim, you back it up. That’s the way it works. Otherwise, you run the risk of being called a liar.

    This is hardball politics, sonny. Ask Harper.

  10. Ti-Guy, how about explaining how the Green Shift will lower Co2 emissions through market mechanisms if it doesn’t drive up the cost of polluting activities?

    THAT’S THE WHOLE IDEA!!!!

  11. Ti-Guy, how about explaining how the Green Shift will lower Co2 emissions through market mechanisms if it doesn’t drive up the cost of polluting activities?

    Huh?

  12. You said it was a ‘lie’ that the Green Shift would raise prices, when that’s exactly what it’s meant to do!

  13. So, I’m supposed to know why you call me a liar? And why are we playing “hardball politics” on here again? I thought this was the Maclean’s blog.

  14. So, I’m supposed to know why you call me a liar?

    I didn’t call you a liar. And once again, if you make a claim, you are expected to back it up.

  15. You wrote that what I wrote was a lie. Most decent people would characterize that as calling someone a liar. Why not stand by your accusation, instead of trying to weasel out of it?

    Yes, I made a claim, and you have yet to state why you think I’m a liar as a result.

    Does supporting the Liberal Party of Canada now involve cowardly attacks against anyone who dare make claims that its supporters don’t like reading?

    And here I thought we lived in Canada, not Cuba.

  16. Most decent people would characterize that as calling someone a liar.

    Most literate people wouldn’t.

  17. Dennis, it would appear from watching what Danny Williams is up to in NL that we are actually in Zimbabwe, not Cuba.

  18. If the purpose of the green shift is to change behaviour, how else will it work if it does not raise taxes?

    On a separate subject, my wife is one of thse first-generation Asian immigrants. She thinks the immigration reforms recently enacted by the Harper governemnt are exactly what the country needed. I think many other Asian immigrants share her views.

  19. Ti-Guy, I suggest you think twice about calling someone a liar simply because they made a statement about Dion’s Green Shift that you fear.

    Furthermore, I suggest you develop a backbone and stand by your pathetic attempts to defend Liberal Party policy.

  20. I won’t call you a liar, but you are ignorant.

    The Greenshift plan calls for no additional taxes on gasoline, with the reasoning being it’s already sufficiently taxed by the excise tax.

    Of course, had you actually looked into what you spout about, instead of simply believing the conservative spin machine, you’d know that.

    Here’s a thought. Don’t believe what one party tells you about the other party’s policies. Look them up yourself. This applies both ways.

  21. Ti-Guy, I suggest you think twice about calling someone a liar simply because they made a statement about Dion’s Green Shift that you fear.

    Furthermore, I suggest you develop a backbone and stand by your pathetic attempts to defend Liberal Party policy.

    Duly noted. Now time for bed, sweetie. You’re exhausted.

  22. I don’t think it is duly noted, since you obviously find it necessary to continue belittling people who dare post comments about Liberal party policy you don’t like.

  23. Duly noted.

  24. Just got back from a busy day,

    and I see ti guy is calling people “LIARS!!!” again.

    As to the substance of this debate, what Dion and his supporters don’t like to talk about are inputs.

    Inputs – what costs go into every product, including gasoline.

    Non gasoline ‘carbon’ – too many to name, including a variety of fuels, involve inputs that go into the production of every single product.

    Every One.

    Name a product that doesn’t involve, directly or indirectly, fuel/carbon,

    and I’ll buy ti guy a years subscription to “Lies, and the Lying Liars who tell them” (that title must bring warmth to ti guy’s bosom).

    Harper’s claim that its a tax on everything isn’t a metaphor or exaggeration.

    It’s just plain fact.

  25. T. Thwim, you can name-call all you want. I know that some Liberal supporters on here feel it necessary. But the carbon tax will raise prices on carbon burning industries. Oil and gas most certainly apply, even if the tax isn’t slapped directly on fuel at the pumps.

    You know, for people who howl and scream if Harper doesn’t comb his hair straight, some of you really like to ignore the glass houses you’re living in.

    Besides, I don’t understand why supporters of the carbon tax just don’t come out and say that high gas prices are a good thing. If you’re going to be consistent about your views on the environment, it’s what you’d be advocating for. Oil and gas are bad, Star Trek dilithium crystals are good.

  26. and I see ti guy is calling people “LIARS!!!” again.

    Dakody, you’re just tired and cranky; you missed your afternoon juice.

  27. Ti-Guy, are you ever going to stop insulting people who dare to challenge your Liberal party policies? Or is it an obsession now? Just wondering.

  28. Ti-Guy, are you ever going to stop insulting people who dare to challenge your Liberal party policies? Or is it an obsession now? Just wondering.

    Sweetie, go to bed. You’re tired and cranky.

  29. “Name a product that doesn’t involve, directly or indirectly, fuel/carbon,”

    Geopolitical stability; the type of refugee-catastrophe reports RAND/CIA put out that are routinely ignored by GWB. Rivers, especially glacial runoff like Bow/Oxbow. Aquifers. Functional ecosystems. Reliable rainfalls. Absence of extreme weather events like hurricanes and West Coast mudslides. Clean air. Stable ocean current cycles. A lack of invasive species. Frozen permafrost (admittedly thawing North opens up other resources) roads/foundations. Absence of Mountain Pine Beetle across Canada’s Boreal Forest. Absence of soil erosion and presence of marshes assuming no MPB. Absence of flooded coastal cities and agri-plains. Novel drugs and unknown genes our future bioeconomy would love to discover. Whatever value history and archaelogy has, we’re treating other species like we’re burning the Library of Alexandria.

    Business as usual leaves agriculture very iffy (early as late 2020’s) and most of our cities evacuated. Sounds like a risky programme I’d be worried about if I loved my children. But maybe I just pretend to love children.

  30. Phil,

    that’s quite the grab bag of environmental/species preservation/anti-development causes.

    You would be well served distinguishing between the multitude of causes which you mentioned (several which I support),

    and AGW theory.

    AGW does not mean “environmentalism”, it does not mean “green”, it has precious little to do with saving species. It has everything to do with re allocating resources.

    I suggest you read up on the founder of GreenPeace and his thoughts on how AGW (and the politicization of environmentalism which Agw is the epicenter) has high jacked real Green movements.

    Here’s a start: “smog”, acid rain, deforestation (clear cutting – responsible cutting is actually beneficial to our planet), good ol fashioned pollution, sludge, waste and river depositing,

    has nothing,

    nothing,

    to do with AGW.

    It’s a great time to be a serious polluter (but with the right kind of carbon offset or carbon “footprint”.

  31. Uh…kody…

    The ruler is carbon dioxide (like “centimeter”). It is a convention used to normalize all contributions to GHGs and climate change, including NOx’s, SOx’s, etc…

    So AGW theory in fact addresses all of your “concerns”…you just are not willing to understand it.

    Austin

  32. Ignorant isn’t a name, it’s a condition, and it’s fixable. And yeah, there will be taxes on on other things that will raise the price of gas, but then again, with large and small corporate taxes coming down at the same time (don’t believe me, go look it up in the lan yourself) then we can assume some of that price burden will be taken up.

    As for me, I would be happier if it taxed Gasoline. Hell, personally I don’t think the Greenshift goes near far enough. I’d far prefer the complete elimination of income taxes — corporate and individual — even if that meant massive taxes on non-renewable resources. Pay for using energy, not for earning money. That way, if you can earn the same money by using less energy, it works out to more money for you, where as right now, it doesn’t matter.

    The fact is demand for non-renewable resources continues to increase while supply is unable to keep up. Fuel prices will continue to increase no matter what we do and when the market clues in to how little cheap gas is left, the prices will skyrocket. The key is that right now we still have a choice as to whether we get out in front of this and are already in the business of producing alternative energy solutions and energy saving devices. We stand to make huge profits if we start doing the investments now and get ahead of the curve, and we stand to take huge losses if we don’t and wind up having to buy the tech off of someone else. Unfortunately, the cost of fossil fuel is so ridiculously low that there’s virtually no incentive to do so. Why work on an energy solution that costs the equivalent of $600/barrel when oil is available at less than half of that?

    Yeah, when the price starts to jump, the work will start to happen, but the lag between development and usable production is long enough to cause serious pain in between.. with no income tax cut to help us out.

    We need something to curb energy use, and curb it massively, at the level of the individual consumer. I mean, it’ll happen sooner or later, but right now we can exert some control over it and make sure that the worst of the pain is alleviated.

  33. The CON-bots have failed to address the elephant in their closet — that Harper’s plan neither will achieve its goals nor halt the inflationary cost of fuels, short term or long term. He’s effectively hid it under a shell (no pun intended), while privately assuaded his Big Oil backers that their greedy profit margins will be kept intact.
    If Climate change is the problem that he’s even conceded it to be, then the long-term damage to our economy (never mind things like health) will be dire indeed. But what he and you CONners seem to think is that Canadians aren’t willing to make the sacrifice necessary, make the changes required, and pay and reap the benefits. Seems to me you’re forgeting how our country has leapt to the forefront in a couple of World Wars, in the frontlines of other international combat zones, and sucked it up and eliminated a tiger of a deficit. MOST of these occurred, coincidentally, under Liberal stewardship. A lot of self-serving enronian-like achievements were racked up during conservative reigns, which you can hang your hat on.

  34. that should be ‘assuring his big oil backers’, but you knew that.

  35. A note for Dennis (Second Thots):

    Definition of “lie” from Miriam Webster –

    1 : to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive

    2 : to create a false or misleading impression

    To imply a tax increase only, without acknowledging income tax cuts seems indeed to represent a “false or misleading impression” and is therefore a lie.

    Most CPoC advocates know how to use dictionaries… I thought.

  36. For Dennis (Second Thots) and Kody:

    Am I wrong to conclude that Stephen Harper favours a cap-and-trade regime? How will that not be a tax on everything?

    The cost of fuels will rise, tax OR cap-and-trade. Count on it. The issue for me is: will profits go to oil companies through increased margins from higher supplydemand disparity or will revenues from taxation be put to good use in reducing my dependence on scarce and hence unaffordable fuels.

    If you think ignoring peak oil is a good idea, you can be a customer in my Kool-aid shop any time.

  37. Phillip, right on. Pine Beetle wasn’t on Harper’s radar until it made it over the Rockies Flaherty thinks is the farthest west of Canada.

    Doesn’t Harper tout a $65 per tonne carbon tax? A cap and trade system beginning, oh sometime when Harper is retired and collecting his pensions somewhere warm and dry? Or was that just a nightmare?

  38. Dictionaries! Harper and his cultists don’t need no stinkin’ dictionaries!

    The good book is all they need. Go to Harper’s current comm director for your personal copy. Accept no substitutes!

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