Will you be tricked, National Post? - Macleans.ca

Will you be tricked, National Post?

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Apparently so:

Liberal MPs urge review of party’s carbon tax plan
Tories claim it shows split within Dion’s caucus
Three Liberal MPs have voted for a motion calling for a review of the effects of a carbon tax on agriculture and seeking protection for farmers, just days before the party plans to unveil a policy it hopes will be key to winning the next election.

As anyone who was up last night reading ITQ after midnight already knows, I’ve already devoted far too much time to unspooling the spin on this story – follow those links for background  – but here are a few quick notes on the Post’s version of events:

1) As far as I know, it was the Conservatives, not the Liberals, who – completely by accident, I’m sure – initially put out an inaccurate version of the amended motion that inadvertently inserted the word “negative” before “impacts”. (I’ve preserved the entire email chain here.)

It’s possible, I guess, that the Liberal communications team didn’t bother to double check the wording after the Conservatives backed off from their initial claim that the committee had condemned the carbon tax — which is what the original, unamended motion would have done. That would be pretty stupid, given Ryan Sparrow’s recent misadventures in media misinformation. Anyway, as far as I know, it wasn’t the Liberals who “changed their version of the wording mid-day,” as suggested by the Post.

2) To fully appreciate the strategic sneakiness – a term of admiration here at ITQ, I should note, provided you don’t get caught – of what the government was trying to do, you have to look at the context.

This was one of four anti-carbon tax motions that have been working their respective ways through various committees, and you can bet that there is a similarly gloatful press release on the successful passage of each and every one sitting in Ryan Sparrow’s outbox, just waiting for him to press send. Unfortunately for the Tories, two of those press releases will never see virtual daylight. The Finance committee voted the first motion down last Thursday, and Natural Resources will do the same just as soon as the Conservatives stop filibustering their own motion.

I’m still trying to track down the fourth – which is at Transport – but my guess is that what happened at Agriculture is as close as the Conservatives are going to get to pulling this plan off. That puts an entirely different spin on what the Conservatives claim – and the Post reports – is possible dissent within the Liberal caucus over the plan.

3) As for the “confusion” over the timing, as far as I know the only media outlet that claimed the plan would be released today was the National Post. I’m not sure if it’s entirely fair to use that as evidence of still more disarray and disorganization over the launch of the plan. Couldn’t John Ivison – or whoever told him it was going to go on Wednesday – simply have gotten it wrong?