Thursday, November 13, 2008

Green, yes, but shift is now a profanity

I don't expect green issues to be a big part of this Liberal leadership race, for a variety of reasons.

First, in a time of economic crisis, people tend to care more about pocketbook issues than green issues. Now, you can argue that green issues are pocketbook issues, and this is true.

Second though, we kind of got our asses handed to us on the whole green shift thing last month (was it only last month? It feels like a lifetime ago). So I suspect no one will be very keen in this race to put green issues front and centre. There won’t be any green scarves in Vancouver this spring.

Now, that’s not to say the Liberal Party will be abandoning green issues. Far from it. The green focus wasn’t just some fad that Stephane Dion brought in all by his lonesome. Liberals of all stripes rallied to the green cause, and many people joined our party for the first time, because we recognized that reconciling the environment and the economy is the issue of the 21st Century. It’s a health issue, it’s a quality of life issue, it’s an economic issue. We must be at the forefront of the new green economy, to capture the green jobs of tomorrow.

Green issues, I’m sure, will be significant parts of the agenda of all the candidates. But in a way that is integrated and balanced with other issues that Canadians are concerned about, from the economy and health care to social issues and foreign policy.

As for those that are postulating a supposed abandonment of green issues by the Liberal Party will mean an opportunity for the NDP to pick-up environmental support…well, maybe, but I’m doubtful. The Greens, maybe. But those I talk to in the environmental community are very displeased (read: pissed) at the way the NDP put political expediency ahead of good environmental policy in its unfair slandering of the Green Shift in tandem with the Conservatives

The NDP has little credibility with serious environmentalists these days. If they're hoping to pick-up pro-environmental voters any time soon they're dreaming in technicolor.

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MrvnMouse said...

Green shift failed because no one successfully fought back against the Conservative claim that it would double taxes. Even though it wouldn't have done anything of the sort.

It is a dirty word because a good subsection of the Liberals themselves fell for the Conservative propaganda.

Until the Liberals learn to stop their petty squabbling they'll lie in the political wasteland of the opposition.

Jennifer Smith said...

mrvnmouse -

Agreed. Although I must say that when I was working the phone bank and even just talking to friends and acquaintances during the campaign, the Green Shift barely came up at all. The number one issue among wavering Liberals that I spoke to was the perception of Dion as a weak leader.

Dion was undermined from day one, from within and without the party, so anything he proposed was automatically tainted - especially the Green Shift. But whether that taint will outlive him remains to be seen.

MrvnMouse said...


Amazing how not doing anything for two years while your opposition runs a campaign against you can set the narrative.

The Liberals (or NDP, or whoever is willing to) need to set the narrative right away, take out some loans and fight the Cons if they Cons are going to run an election out of season.

As much as we would like to believe that elections are only 30 days long, Harper is making them a full parliamentary session affair.