OxBlog

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

# Posted 4:10 PM by Taylor Owen  

CW- IGNATIEFF MAKES MY MORNING: This piece in the G&M this morning came about three months too late, but it still made my day. As Simpson notes, while Dion was largely seen as being the environmental candidate, Ignatieff actually had a far better policy platform. This is no coincidence though, and the underlying reason why his environmental platform was so strong sums up why I got involved in the campaign.

The strength of Ignatieff’s environmental platform was a direct result of the consultative policy development process used by the campaign. It was collaborative, non-partisan and didn’t require public endorsements. The question was not, "if you indorse me then you can write my policy," but rather, "I don't care what your politics are, what is the best possible policy?" This insured the participation of Canada’s best thinkers on the environment (there were similar processes for other topics). The resulting platform was seen as being progressive, realistic and had the wide endorsement of the environmental community. An accolade that is not easy to acquire.

I have no doubt Dion cares passionately about the environment, and very much hope that he develops a strong environmental platform. His electoral fate depends on it. I don’t believe that the one he ran on, however, was it. Instead, on the environment and elsewhere, he would be wise to model his platform development process off the one his ex-rival and now deputy leader developed.


PS: Haven’t written too much about the results of the Liberal convention. Needless to say, I was disappointed that Ignatieff lost, but, I like much about Dion, am glad I got into the fray, and in retrospect, it’s pretty impressive that within two years of returning to Canada and entering politics, he is now the deputy leader of the Liberal Party, dominated the national discourse for the better part of a year, and is probably in the top handful of most influential Canadian politicians. It's hard to think of anyone else who could have done this.
(2) opinions -- Add your opinion

Comments:
Hey Taylor,

Just so you don't think there are interested readers for the Canada Watch posts, I'll add a comment!

Can you elaborate on which groups or environmentalists gave Ignatieff's plan their consensus?

Also, I'm curious, especially, how Ignatieff or anyone else for that matter would tackle oil sands development without the "command and control" model Ignatieff critiques in the NDP?

I want to emphasize I'm not writing in a critical or political mode, but as genuinely worried about how to get around the rise in emissions and other pollutants, and irresponsible use of water and other finite resources, that seems an inevitable consequence of each additional barrel of tar turned into oil in Canada? Moreover, I don't want to reduce the discussion of environment to emissions, as seems to be happening in the political world.

Ignatieff's platform says the NDP are disconnected from business reality, but don't you think it's business that is out of touch with scientific reality? Also, given that the NDP platform on the environment has received near-perfect marks from Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, isn't Ignatieff distancing himself from best practices?

I also want to get Ignatieff's position clear. On Page 5 of his environmental platform document, he writes that the emissions cap program is: "To be applied to all non-energy producing industrial emitters, the oil and gas industry, and the electricity industry." The way it's written, he seems to be excluding the energy industry from his calculation. Am I misreading this?

Yesterday I saw reports from an energy meeting organized by Natural Resources Canada and the U.S. Department of Energy, which concluded that tar sands production must increase "five-fold", to "five million barrels a day" in the "short term".

How is Ignatieff, or the Liberal party generally, going to tackle emissions without a major confrontation, command and control style, with the oil industry and Alberta? That is a major constellation of power that stretches right to the white house whose interests are antithetical to capping, let alone drastically reducing, emissions.

Again, while my political interests are somewhere left of the NDP, I am trying to write pragmatically here given the enormous chasm between scientific consensus on climate change and real world power and political positioniing on the issue. Personally, I'd like to live in Fairfield some day (for readers not familiar with Canada, a neighbourhood in Victoria, a west coast city) and most of it will be underwater if consensus predictions by the scientific community come true.

Thanks, SebHey Taylor,

Just so you don't think there aren't interested readers for the Canada Watch posts, I'll add a comment!

Can you specify which groups or environmentalists gave Ignatieff's plan their support?

Also, I'm curious, especially, how Ignatieff or anyone else for that matter, would tackle oil sands development without the "command and control" model Ignatieff critiques in the NDP?

I want to emphasize I'm not writing in a critical or political mode, but as genuinely worried about how to get around the rise in emissions and other pollutants, and irresponsible use of water and other finite resources, that seems an inevitable consequence of each additional barrel of tar turned into oil in Canada?

Ignatieff's platform says the NDP are disconnected from business reality, but don't you think it's business that is out of touch with scientific reality? Also, given that the NDP platform on the environment has received near-perfect marks from Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, isn't Ignatieff distancing himself from best practices?

I also want to get Ignatieff's position clear. On Page 5 of his environmental platform document, he writes that the emissions cap program is: "To be applied to all non-energy producing industrial emitters, the oil and gas industry, and the electricity industry." The way it's written, he seems to be excluding the energy industry from his calculation. Am I misreading this?

Yesterday I saw reports from an energy meeting organized by Natural Resources Canada and the U.S. Department of Energy, which concluded that tar sands production must increase "five-fold", to "five million barrels a day" in the "short term".

How is Ignatieff, or the Liberal party generally, going to tackle emissions without a major confrontation, command and control style, with the oil industry and Alberta? That is a major constellation of power that stretches right to the white house whose interests are antithetical to capping, let alone drastically reducing, emissions.

Again, while my political positions is somewhere left of the NDP, I am trying to write pragmatically here given the enormous chasm between scientific consensus on climate change and real world power and political positioniing on the issue. Personally, I'd like to live in Fairfield some day (for readers not familiar with Canada, a neighbourhood in Victoria, a west coast city) and most of it will be underwater if consensus predictions by the scientific community come true.

Finally, Igantieff's plan is calling for major reductions by 2050 (admittedly, he mentions targets for each decade but doesn't make those specific). From what I understand as a concerned lay person, we need emission reductions yesterday, let alone by 2050. As you're probably familiar, Monbiot is saying the developed world needs to reduce its emissions by 90% by 2030 (working from memory, so sorry if that's slightly wrong) and keeps stressing the importance of immediate reductions. And, his comments are echoed by scientists of stature like James Hansen, etc...

Your comments would be enormously appreciated.

Thanks, Seb
 
If Canadians really want to have an effect on the environment or anything else, they could abandon the polite fiction of artifical nationhood and become states the way nature intended. That way Ontario would counterbalance Texas, the Maritimes would be part of greater New England, etc. and America would become a blue country the way you guys say want, and you wouldn't have to treat Quebec like a harp seal anymore.
 
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