By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 0 Comments
The NDP leader’s tie was a combination of black, grey and orange stripes. This was possibly coincidental, but the placard propped up on an easel behind him followed the same colour pattern: “Leaders Summit 2013″ emblazoned beneath three maple leaves, one black, one grey and one orange.
Placards and colour coordination are the hallmarks of professionalism in modern politics. Rarely does the Prime Minister appear anywhere without a blue sign hanging in front of him on which is written the two or three words that we are supposed to commit to our subconscious that day. (In Mr. Harper’s ideal world the first words that would come to mind upon seeing his face or hearing his voice would be “jobs,” growth” and “long-term prosperity.”) The New Democrats have picked up on this trick and now have their own placards. Today’s was more of a sign, as if to demonstrate that here was an important thing happening—please note that what is going on beyond this sign and behind those doors is of such a serious nature that a sign is required to indicate as much.
The gathering in this case—the nation’s provincial and federal NDP leaders meeting on Parliament Hill to ruminate and be seen to be ruminating —was some combination of a first ministers’ conference and a corporate retreat.
“The NDP is very proud of its track record of prudent public administration in the five provinces and the territory where it has been in power. And that’s what we’re going to be doing today. Sharing best practices. Looking at the best way forward. Sharing ideas for the future of Canada based on better cooperation between the provinces and the federal government.”
Prudent public administration and sharing best practices: Mr. Mulcair seems to like to talk like this. It is possibly helpful for the purposes of not sounding like a hippy socialist who will spend the entirety of the defence budget on fair trade espresso beans for his friends in the union. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 17, 2012 at 3:09 PM - 0 Comments
Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec already have some form of carbon pricing. Quebec is set to move forward with a cap-and-trade system and Ontario is still, at least on paper, committed to doing likewise (though it obviously remains to be seen who will be in charge of that province this time next year).
As for the other provinces, I’ve asked a few of them: what is the government’s position on carbon pricing, either through a carbon tax or cap-and-trade?
A spokeswoman for Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter responds as follows.
Premier Dexter has not supported a carbon tax approach because energy is often an essential expenditure for Canadian households. Nova Scotia has spent several years looking at cap and trade models, but in 2009 decided to reduce emissions through regulation rather than wait indefinitely for a cap and trade model that was solid enough to merit consideration of Nova Scotia joining. Companies in Nova Scotia that tried to use cap and trade systems found it was not very worthwhile.
When I asked about the possibility of a national cap-and-trade system, I was told, essentially, that the Premier would have to think about it before offering an opinion. (“The Premier would give a considered answer, which would take some time, since that has not been a focus of his environmental or energy policies as NDP leader and then as premier also. There’s not much more we would be prepared to say on that right now.”)
A spokesman for the Manitoba government, meanwhile, offers the following.
Manitoba has taken a number of steps to reduce GHG emissions within Manitoba and abroad. We remain a full partner and continue to observe the progress being made within the Western Climate Initiative (WCI). Last year we publicly consulted on a cap and trade system. The reaction we received was mixed. There are concerns about the potential impacts that a cap and trade system, as proposed under the current WCI framework, would have on Manitoba’s economy.
In January of this year our government introduced a $10 per tonne emission tax on coal and committed to use the revenue generated by the tax to help coal users transition to renewable biomass energy. Already we have seen a significant transition from coal to biomass in rural Manitoba.
In our Speech from the Throne last month, our government committed to bringing in a new mandatory emissions reporting regulation for large emitters. This new standard will bring the threshold for reporting below the current federal standard and will provide Manitoba with important information on the sources and magnitude of emissions in the province.
Manitoba generally supports carbon pricing as an effective means of reducing GHG emissions and transitioning toward a lower carbon economy. Given the relative size of Manitoba’s economy and our lack of point-source emitters, it is difficult for our province to move forward with carbon pricing policies on our own, but we continue to monitor and evaluate actions taken in other jurisdictions.
Manitoba’s preference, in the absence of federal leadership, is to move forward with an approach to carbon pricing that is consistent with jurisdictions across Canada. In our role as Co-Chair of the Council of the Federation’s Canadian Energy Strategy Working Group, Manitoba looks forward to leading a discussion on potential carbon pricing models.
Both the Manitoba and Nova Scotia governments are NDP governments. The New Democrats in Manitoba have a majority and conceivably won’t face another election until 2015. The New Democrats in Nova Scotia have a majority, but will likely face a difficult election in the new year.
The Liberal government in British Columbia, which instituted that province’s carbon tax, could be defeated next year by the NDP, but the province’s NDP leader seems interested in keeping the tax.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, May 25, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Elizabeth May recalls her own experience.
Ms. May said that from 1975 to 1980, she received what was then called unemployment insurance during the off-season while working as a waitress and cook at her family’s restaurant and gift shop business in Cape Breton, she says. Labelling regular users of EI, such as herself, as lazy or abusing the system is unfair, she said.
“I paid into employment insurance. When I needed it, I used it. When I didn’t, I didn’t. I raise my personal experience because I don’t think anyone should be ashamed that seasonal businesses in this country that are big, or small, have benefitted from a legal system of insurance that pays for itself.”
By Emma Teitel - Friday, March 2, 2012 at 8:40 AM - 0 Comments
The premier’s brother has been an employee of Halifax Metro Transit for over two decades
Haligonians are desperate to see their buses back on the road amid a current Metro Transit strike, but negotiations between government officials and union heads don’t look promising. The ever-unpopular Nova Scotia premier, Darrell Dexter, has so far taken a complete hands-off approach to the strike (which is on the verge of its one month anniversary) and Halifax residents now think they have a pretty good idea why: It turns out that the premier’s brother, Rick Dexter, has been an employee of Halifax Metro Transit for over two decades. And not only is the premier’s brother a bus driver, he is also—as of about a week ago—a scab.
According to a number of Halifax sources, Rick Dexter got behind the wheel of an Access-A-Bus at a city bus depot on February 20th, and tried to drive back to work amid angry jeers from fellow employees, who chanted “scab” as he pulled out of the lot. To complicate matters even further, Rick Dexter ran for vice-president of his union in 2009, urging union members to also vote for his now-premier brother in the upcoming election.
Halifax Councilor Gloria McCluskey, of Dartmouth Centre, has said she’s received numerous phone calls from both transit users and bus drivers suffering from the strike and believes that Rick Dexter’s job is a possible explanation for premier Dexter’s reticence on the issue. The premier’s office, however, was quick to release a statement following the “scab” incident, ensuring Haligonians that his brother’s transit connection has nothing to do with his decision not to interfere with the strike. “The premier is concerned about the impact the strike is having on people, including drivers and their families,” Dexter’s spokesperson said. “Our office is not going to comment on [back-to-work]legislation as it would interfere with the collective bargaining process.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 1:59 PM - 13 Comments
In response to Stephen Harper’s proposed Senate reforms, the Quebec government says it will see the Prime Minister in court. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty suggests it would be best to simply abolish the Senate. Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter says reform has to involve the provinces, but equally wonders about the Senate’s reason for being.
“My position on the Senate in the past has been that I think the House of Commons is elected for the purpose of representing the people of the country,” he said. “The upper house is not necessary.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 11:10 AM - 6 Comments
Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter counsels Jack Layton.
“When we were the third party with three seats, we had to yell and scream and kick to get a single line in the newspaper,” Mr. Dexter said in an interview. “When that world changed in 1998, when we became the Official Opposition, we didn’t immediately recognize that. We thought we still had to talk with that loud voice in order to be heard,” he said.
“All of the sudden you had to realize that you had to be able to reel it back in; you were now being listened to, so you didn’t have to yell. You were being listened to; they were examining, measuring, weighing everything you said.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 2:07 PM - 11 Comments
“I think it takes away momentum for change at the provincial level and it will probably increase calls that we hear from time to time just saying, ‘Do we really need this institution?’” Wall told reporters at the provincial legislature Wednesday.
Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter is also unimpressed.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 6:35 PM - 59 Comments
While the premiers of Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia are unimpressed with the head of CSIS, the Liberals want the national security committee recalled to investigate Richard Fadden’s claims and the NDP’s Olivia Chow is demanding answers. For good measure, sources now tell the CBC that the Prime Minister’s Office was aware of Mr. Fadden’s general concerns and the Prime Minister is himself concerned.
Sources tell the CBC the PCO was well aware of those concerns, even if it hadn’t been told the details of who was involved … A source suggested the prime minister was personally aware of the issue of foreign agents trying to win influence over politicans and bureaucrats — even if he didn’t know the details. ”The prime minister is strongly of a view that this is a problem,” a source said.
The source said Harper has an appetite for intelligence beyond that of his predecessors. Intelligence briefers now routinely provide the prime minister with detailed written reports, in addition to their regular verbal briefings.
The CBC’s Brian Stewart also attempts to clear up several misconceptions about the network’s reporting here.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 12:23 PM - 25 Comments
As a general rule, I limit the amount of polling discussed here—and avoid horse-race polls entirely. The horse race is almost always the least interesting thing going on in Ottawa.
And the following is almost definitely of questionable significance. But, for whatever it is worth, here are Canada’s most prominent political figures ranked by their most recent approval ratings (as determined by Angus Reid here, here and here). Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, August 14, 2009 at 11:45 AM - 2 Comments
Here is a piece from this week’s print edition on the state of the NDP. Several dozen sentences ensue, just one of those having anything to do with the fact the party may or may not change something about its name.
Even by the normally quixotic standards of the NDP, it has been a strange year. For a fleeting moment in December, it appeared Jack Layton was going to be a cabinet minister in a coalition government. By the end of June, Michael Ignatieff had a deal instead with Stephen Harper, and the Prime Minister was addressing the party in Parliament’s far corner as the “Bloc Anglais.”
The leader of the NDP, now six years into his tenure, remains relentlessly enthusiastic. “It was a fascinating eight months,” Layton says, explaining himself next with duelling metaphors. “I always say to folks: get ready, I’m a long-time sailor; I don’t go tacking back and forth to try to catch the lightest little gust of wind. When I ran for leader, I laid out a plan and I said it’s like a construction project. You’ve got to start with the foundation and you build, brick-by-brick, block-by-block.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 10:56 AM - 18 Comments
Jack Layton lets slip the NDP’s secret plan to win the next election.
Premier Dexter’s victory is an inspiration to New Democrats from Halifax Harbour to Vancouver Bay. But the road to victory in Nova Scotia – just like Premier Doer’s in Manitoba – was long.
They built slowly with good candidates, sound new policies, and focused discipline. Critics often said they had no chance of winning. They say the same thing about federal New Democrats.
But we know that victory will not happen overnight. We are pursuing a similar strategy of incremental growth.