Everyone's a winner! Politics on TV, Nov. 27 edition

Wherein everyone claims by-election victory, plus discussion on the environment and Rob Ford

Message of the day

“The Green Party came out ahead in the by-elections.”

Hot Topics

  1. The by-election results
  2. Environmental concerns
  3. The Rob Ford fallout

Questions not answered

  • What lessons are the parties taking away from the by-election results?

The by-elections results:

Power & Politics hosted an MP panel of Michelle Rempel, Libby Davies, Ralph Goodale and Elizabeth May to discuss which party has momentum following the by-election last night – even though everyone was going to declare victory. May said that the Green surge was a surprise for many people, and that the momentum that got her elected will continue. Rempel said that they are proud of the two seats they picked up, and that their policies continue to reflect what Canadians feel about the economy and the environment. Davies said that local issues played a role in Victoria, and that Conservative voters voted Green because of it. Goodale said the party’s primary task is the leadership process rather than worry about merging with the Greens, and that they were pleased that they doubled their vote in Calgary – but they weren’t happy with the result. (And yes, everyone did declare victory).

Power Play spoke with new MPs Joan Crockatt in Calgary, and Murray Rankin in Victoria. Crockatt said that she was nervous through the whole campaign, but it was more of a nervous excitement. She felt that the Liberal comments did play into the campaign, but that Albertans know that the Liberal Party has a history of hostility toward them. Rankin said that he was surprised by the Green surge, but was more surprised by the collapse of Conservatives in the area. He said that May’s constituency being next door helped the Greens, but the by-election dynamic is one where people feel a bit more flexible.

Crockatt was also on Power & Politics, where she added that was prepared for a loss, and that because by-elections are a different animal than general elections, people have more options because they know they can’t change the government. She said that Trudeau’s Calgary appearances amount to a “masquerade” for his feelings about the province, but noted that the other parties better appealed to the Gen Y demographic. Crockatt also denied that she was aligned with the Wildrose party, and called it an “opposition narrative,” despite the fact that it was spoken by a number of Conservatives.

Don Martin also spoke with May, along with Alice Funke of Pundit’s Guide. May said that the sense of excitement and momentum played out, that there were two great candidates in the ridings, and that they attracted people who otherwise wouldn’t have voted. Funke said that the advance polls put the NDP over in Victoria, and that in Calgary, the NDP were slow out of the gate in a nomination, and that wealthier ridings are harder for them to find traction. Funke also noted that the Greens tend to pull votes from old Progressive Conservatives.

On P&P’s Power Panel, Alise Mills said that the Greens came out ahead in the by-elections, that they should be take those lessons to move forwards, and that the results in Calgary showed the NDP were the biggest losers. Ian Capstick said that the NDP Victoria candidate wasn’t as popular as Denise Savoie was, and that the Greens are able to concentrate their efforts in by-elections. Rob Silver said that the big winner was the status quo, but that he can’t really draw any master conclusions. Martin Patriquin noted that Crockatt was still able to win the “progressive” riding despite her right-wing credentials.

On Power Play’s journalists panel, Stephanie Levitz said the Wildrose party won the riding for the Conservatives and that it was more of a reflection of provincial political dynamics than the Liberal comments. Joel-Denis Bellavance said that Harvey Locke admitted that McGuinty’s comments hurt the campaign, and that the Conservatives will have to think about their chances in the riding in the next election.

The environment:

Power Play heard from musician Sarah Harmer, who was on the Hill to denounce the changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act. Harmer said that the Act has long been a trigger for environmental assessments, and there won’t be the same monitoring now that 99 per cent of the waterways are no longer protected. Harmer said that the “red tape” that the government hopes to eliminate is actually citizen engagement, and that projects are often improved by that process.

Don Martin then interviewed environment minister Peter Kent, who spoke about the new vehicle emissions regulations, which will affect model years 2017 to 2025, and are to hoped reduce emissions by 50 per cent from 2008 model years, as well as fuel consumption by 50 per cent. Kent said that contrary to NDP assertions, Canada took the lead in the first round of regulations, and the US followed. Kent also noted that one can’t directly connect any single severe weather instance with climate change, but the overall trend does point to a real phenomenon, and that the government is taking it seriously.

Kent was also on Power & Politics, where he added that the new regulations are the equivalent of taking eight million cars off the road, and drivers will save an estimated $900 per year per car with the efficiency regulations. Kent added that auto manufacturers believe they will be able to meet the standards, despite it being difficult to implement, and that while it may mean higher car prices, the benefits outweigh those costs over three years. Kent said he is deeply engaged with oil and gas sector, and to expect draft regulations in the New Year.

Rob Ford:

Power & Politics spoke with Paul Magder, the citizen whose complaint sparked the court case that ousted Ford, who said that he accepts Ford’s public apology, and said that while he didn’t know what to expect, he was pleased all of Clayton Ruby’s arguments were reflected in the judgement. Magder said he launched the complaint after reading about the problematic vote in the papers, and was upset about it. Magder said it’s great if needy kids gained from the charity, but Ford made a mistake, and the law is what it is.

When P&P’s Power Panel weighed in, Rob Silver said the bigger picture in the Ford decision was that it was a reflection of how mandatory minimum sentences can have these kinds of results. Capstick said that Ford handled himself wrong at pretty much every turn. Mills said that as a law-and-order conservative, she feels the punishment was appropriate, and that while it was refreshing to see Ford looking contrite, his problem is that any good he does is overshadowed by the way he delivers the news. Patriquin noted that after having sat through the Charbonneau commission, he’s seen what happens when rules aren’t followed.

Worth Noting:

  • Former Bank of England policy maker David Blanchflower said that the Bank of England needed an outsider, and that Mark Carney can expect a huge challenge because he has to restore growth, and use his best management skills to determine the structure of new regulations coming to the Bank.
  • Joel-Denis Bellavance said that the Board of Internal Economy’s investigation into Gilles Duceppe found that he was using parliamentary resources to fund party staff, and that because the rules assign no penalty, the French press is saying that he’s been cleared.
  • University of Boston economist Laurence Kotlicoff says that the US doesn’t face a fiscal cliff – it faces a fiscal abyss.
  • Senator Patrick Brazeau wrote a song for missing and murdered Aboriginal women, which he played for Don Martin. Brazeau wants a national inquiry on the issue – something the Conservative government has resisted.

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