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Yes, please!

My guess is cap-and-trade, but I can hope.

I just hope it isn't carbon capture and storage.

I would venture a guess that Iggy speaks French with a Parisian accent.

When I was in undergrad, Harper had just won leadership of the Canadian Alliance and gave a talk at my school. This was on the East coast, where the Alliance largely irrelevant so there was few audience members and no media. Man was he lucky, some of the things he said would certainly come back to haunt him if they were on the public record - nothing extremist, but to say he has abandoned his principles in the last couple of years would be the understatment of the century.

I think Stephen's first question is the best. Ignatieff irks me because he never comes out with concrete policy and just disses the Conservatives.

It doesn't bother me over-much. I have no doubt whatsoever that Iggy is quite capable of generating ideas. For political reasons, he's deciding to sit on those ideas. After what happened to the LPC in the most recent election, this is perhaps wise. They released their platform in early 2008, and the CPC spent the next six months waging a multi-million dollar pre-writ election campaign against the Liberals. They are now trying another approach: keep their cards close to their chest so that the CPC do not have a chance to outmaneuvre them. After all, the government itself has no climate change strategy, so why are people giving the opposition grief for not releasing theirs?

Climate change policy is not going to win an election. As Dion discovered, to his undoing, ideas don't matter in politics in Canada. Dion presented Canadians with some really worthy policy ideas like Pigouvian taxes, which are supported by such liberal radicals as Greg Mankiw. Fat lot of good it did. All we got was "HA! HA! Look at the nerdy French guy!". I was ashamed of my fellow citizens. I also despair of humanity doing anything to avoid a climate catastrophe (which I suspect is already baked-in).

Anyway, Iggy is irrelevant. Cheryl Gallant et. al. in front of reporters is the Liberals best hope. The NDP could play a useful part in getting them riled-up by proposing something like a "Women's Reproductive Bill of Rights". That ought to get the CPC back bench 'going rogue'.

I can understand being hesitant about making a public stand on climate change, but the last time they were in power, the Liberal policy was to scold people who objected to signing the Kyoto treaty, while doing nothing to actually meet its terms. If - after making a step in the right direction with the carbon tax idea - the Liberals go back to scolding without offering an effective policy proposal, I'm going to be displeased.

Andrew has a good point that it might be strategically smart for Iggy not to commit to any policies until an election. I'm sure Iggy is indeed capable of generating ideas, but I'd like to see what those ideas are, and whether he actually puts forward his own ideas or takes a page from Paul Martin's book and panders to the left-wing of the party when he gets into power.

I guess I'll just have to be patient.

I suspect you're likely to be displeased. Some constituencies may reward politicians for saying the right things about climate change, but I doubt anyone is going to reward a party of Gov't for making them pay for carbon - even if there is a reshuffling of the taxation deck chairs (e.g. offsetting carbon taxes with cuts to income taxes). I think it's going to be like the GST; people will hate it and punish politicians regardless of the soundness of the policy.

The risk of doing nothing is that some unknown future generation of southern Canadians (as opposed to the natives and Inuit who are already hosed) suffer unknown consequences from climate change. The risk of doing the right thing, and putting a high enough price on carbon to actually reduce emissions substantially is that it really does blow-up the economy without it being clear to the masses that climate change really is a catastrophe.

Maybe it's the Copenhagen train wreck that's making me pessimistic, but I really don't think anything substantial is going to be done on climate change in Canada or much of the rest of the world until it's far too late to stop the nightmare scenario. At this point the only thing I can see shifting people is a sudden rise in sea levels. There is geological evidence of huge rises in sea levels on the order of a human lifetime. Seeing Florida disappear beneath the waves might cure our apathy. Maybe.

Let's see: the Liberals need a policy on climate change. Why don't they propose shifting the tax burden from employment to pollution taxes? They should work out in wonkish detail how it will work. Then three things will happen:
1- The Green Party will endorse it.
2- Conservative intellectuals will point out that people like Greg Mankiw support such a plan.
3- The news media will point out that the liberal leader as some big ideas to substantially change how the Canadian economy operates.

That'll happen, right? Oh yeah...

I will be similarly displeased, Stephen. I was frankly shocked that we got a platform like the Green Shift presented to the public. I was over the moon. It was not perfect, but better than I dared hope for.

It seems odd that he's announcing the LPC climate policy, given that they have not yet had their 'Thinkers Conference', which is to occur early next year. This leads me to believe he will spend much of his time harping on Harper and spouting vague platitudes about increasing energy efficiency.

I say Ignatieff goes for a walk in the snow and decides he doesn't want to be leader of her majesty's loyal opposition anymore.

That's another thing: I think people are being too hard on Iggy. Harper got off to a much rockier start.

Andrew F:

Yes people are too hard on Iggy, as they were far too hard on Dion (who I think was the better man). Opposition leaders almost always get off to a rocky start. The thing about the Liberals is that they see themselves as Canada's natural governing party and truly think there is something very wrong if they are not in power, so they get impatient and eviscerate their leader if he hasn't led them to power after a year. The Conservatives used to do the same thing (political scientists called it "the tory syndrome") but the Liberals have taken it to a whole other level.

Stephen, any Q & A? I am planning to attend too...

Add one to your list. Last January he told a Montreal audience to put up and shut up about the tar sands. I wonder if he will do it again, three days after Quebec announced a -20 % below 1990 GHG target.

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