Monday, October 31, 2005

Increased immigration and Canada's nuclear future

The federal Green Plan calls for Canada to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6% from 1990 levels by the 2008-2012 period, or more than 35% from the business-as-usual levels expected by that time. The reductions that the Canadian government agreed to are absolute, not on a per capita basis.

And yet, the Liberal government has just announced plans to raise immigration targets and open the door for 700,000 prospective immigrants.

Now we can debate the merits of either policy, but together they simply do not add up. Something has to give.

The credibility of Canada’s Kyoto commitments is already questionable. Adding another 300,000 immigrants per year by 2010 will lead to increased energy consumption, much of it derived from carbon-based fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas. Does this mean we are going to fire up the nuclear reactors to keep our word?

Spinning Gomery

The Liberal spin machine is out in full force in anticipation of the release of the first Gomery report this Tuesday. The conventional wisdom is that the report will be very damaging to the Liberal Party. Whatever Gomery may conclude about Paul Martin’s involvement in the AdScam scandal, Liberal operatives have been clearly implicated in a systematic kickback scheme for the benefit of the Liberal Party, as well as perhaps for themselves.

But let’s not let facts get in the way. Former Liberal strategist John Parisella seems to think that it is federalists in Quebec that will be hurt by Gomery’s conclusions (look for link here), as if Canadian federalism were the exclusive domain of the Liberal Party.

Granted, given the political dynamic in Quebec, the Liberal Party has been the federalist standard bearer in the province for the last dozen years. For most federalist-leaning Quebecers, there seemed little point in splitting the vote with other federalist parties if it meant they would otherwise be represented by the separatist Bloc Québécois.

However, that does not mean there are not other federalist options, only that, it was the Liberals who looked like they had the best shot at taking seats from the separatists ever since Kim Campbell led the post-Mulroney Conservatives to oblivion in 1993. The conclusions of Gomery report will undoubtedly lead to second thoughts among many Quebecers about ever voting Liberal again.

With the Bloc Québécois at 61% support, well ahead of support for sovereignty at just over half, a significant chunk of the federalist protest vote is without a home. Quebecers have not necessarily given up on federalism. But they have given up on the Liberal Party. Consequently, there is a tremendous opportunity for the CPC to tap into this discontent. Nonetheless, without a strong, grass roots organization, it will not be easy.  However, getting the tide to turn in Quebec will be the key to attaining a CPC majority in the future.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Distracted by corruption reprise

Life has been keeping me busy with other things than blogging the last few months. But while my life has been progressing – I now live in a new city and have a new job – other things have, unfortunately, not changed.

The Conservatives are still screwing up.

They are so preoccupied with Liberal corruption that they are falling into behaviour similar to that which they condemn. Last time it was Grewal. This time it is Brian Pallister.

To help me ease back into this, I am going to reprint an earlier post from my Random Notes blog in early June, which the provider so thoughtfully decided to erase. The central point still holds: Canadians know the Liberals are corrupt, but if they are ever going to vote for the CPC, they want to know how the party will govern.

Distracted by corruption

Enough already. If Canadians have not figured out that the current Liberal government is corrupt, they don’t want to figure it out. There is more than enough evidence for any rational person to make up their mind about it. It is time to move on to other things.

The last thing the Conservatives need is to be making stuff up. All the credibility they have earned on the corruption issue is down the drain if the Grewal tapes have been doctored. All those tasty tidbits implicating Tim Murphy and Ujjal Dosanjh will be forgotten if it is true.

Once again the ball was in the Conservatives court and they hit it straight into the net. The Harper team is proving to be a bunch of amateurs. You cannot score points like that.

In my view, the Conservatives’ preoccupation with corruption is a big distraction. Sure, Canadians are concerned about Liberal corruption. But they also want good government.

Not being Liberal is not enough to get elected. Canadians want to know what you will do if you are elected – what you will do for Canadian families, what you will do to restore democracy and stop corruption, what you will do to deliver value for our tax dollars.

Given that more than half the electorate somehow considers the Conservatives to be “scary,” it is all the more imperative that you communicate your vision for the country. So what if the Liberals steal a few of your policies. If they adopt your policies, they can hardly accuse you of being scary.

It is going to take time for Canadians to become comfortable with the Conservatives. However, there will not be enough time if you wait for an election before telling Canadians what you are about. You have established that the Liberals are corrupt. Now is the time to talk about how you would govern.