From socialist conspiracy to economic apocalypse

The framing of the Kyoto Accord by the Harper government, that is. I suppose this is progress for Harper, who had essentially dismissed climate change a year ago, but as the polls moved he has had to follow.

I’m not as pessimistic about the economic fall-out if we are creative in developing just transition strategies for affected workers and are aggressive in using public policy to shift behaviour. We do need a transition period, and Kyoto’s 2012 target is a mere five years away. But we can do a lot in five years, and we should press to meet the target – even if we miss by a bit we will be on the right track. We should think of this as a war we need to win, and that means some shared sacrifices, lots of creative solutions, and government-led direction through fiscal measures and regulatory approaches that lead us forward – that type of effort would be good for the economy.

This latest salvo from the Canada’s New Harperment seems like pure electioneering: the Tories framing themselves as a sensible and responsible alternative who will save the planet without destroying the economy. Probably smart politics, too, if they can convince voters that they are sincere about climate change and that the plan being worked up by other parties is going to be the Big Hurt. It reminds me of another big debate we had back in in the late 1980s, but back then it was the Tories and big business who were pushing for a major structural change to the Canadian economy, and the Liberals and the NDP who were pressing the doom-and-gloom button. The issue: Canada-US free trade.

Kyoto would ‘manufacture a recession’: Baird

Globe and Mail Update and Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Environment Minister John Baird has delivered a drastic vision of economic breakdown if Canada were forced to comply with the Kyoto Protocol.

… He had earlier said that 275,000 Canadians would lose their jobs, gasoline prices would jump 60 per cent and natural-gas prices would double if the government adopted Bill C-288.


  • Nice post Marc. Here’s my scary scenario. The Conservatives bill themselves as the “reasonable” environmental option vs. the (divided, warring) “irresponsible job-killing” opposition parties. We get an election framed as environmental extremism vs. jobs – perhaps precipitated as early as nest week or the week after when the Liberal/NDP/Bloc/ (Green) Kyoto Bill returns from the Senate. With one party (ostensibly) standing for the “reasonable” approach (objectively better than the Liberal record, but still grssoly inadequate) and three parties warring for the serious, green approach, who comes out on top? And what do we we on the sensibly green left do about it? (That’s a genuine question – I don’t have the answer – but I think its really important that we undermine this bogus but potentially very powerful economic argument.)

  • I ain’t an economist egghead like maybe you fellers but I reckon Canajuns is savers. From what I heartell, we got more savings an’ investments an’ less debt than Merkans. What that tells me is that Canajuns understand investin’. We know we might have to give up that trip to Rio so’s we can save fer the grandkids’ tuition fund.

    When the ConMen try to make the “environmental extremism vs. jobs” argument, the opposition needs to be ready with facts an’ figgers that show how smart we’d be by addressin’ the long term. The troublem with polyticians is they’re all lookin’ at the short term. They can’t see past the next election cycle an’ their biggest concern ain’t what’s best fer Canada an’ ol’ Mother Earth. Their main concern is gettin’ elected.

    Canajuns understand longterm. We’re willin’ to listen to sensible longterm strategies. We need polyticians who are able to understand what we do an’ quit with the short term, band-aid, vote-buyin’ stuff that they think they need to do to get elected.

    Canajuns is ready fer carbon taxes, cap & trade an’ gummint investment in green collar job creation.


  • Great points.

    Remember that Stevie is a very good strategist and has been dying to find an “us versus them” issue cuz he figures that there are more of “them” than “us”. Polarization is the name of the game.

    They tried war but Afghanistan didn’t cut it since the majority of Canadians remain pragmatic pacifists – in spite of the Conservative Reformers’ best efforts to convert us into an America Lite.
    But this is ideal for them – the environment versus the economy.

    Bring it on!

    And check out my latest diatribe – if you like.

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