Friday, June 20, 2008

The Green Shift

It appears that the beige is turning a little bit greener. The Liberals released quite possibly the most significant, wide-ranging political policy piece in years yesterday when they released their Green Shift plan yesterday.

As a long-time supporter of carbon taxes and ecological fiscal reform, I look at this and say... it's not perfect. But it's good. And as I was told often last year as I entered the policy world, perfection is the enemy of good. I see some room for improvement here, but not much. Congratulations to the Liberals. I support this plan.

I had recently moved towards the NDP and voted for them for the first time in the last provincial election, but I am dismayed at the NDP for disagreeing with this (though I understand why). I think that the Liberals plan does as well as can be expected to mitigate the impacts of a carbon tax on the poor, and on Northern communities that have fewer options and colder weather.

It should be noted that there is NO increase in gasoline taxes through this plan. I disagree with that, because taxation is a good way to minimize gasoline consumption and drive other energy efficiency policies. But raising gasoline taxes is a losing proposition for a political party, so I understand their choice.

Taxation is also fairly low cost for the government to administer; cap-and-trade has significant administrative costs.

I have made personal choices to prepare myself for a carbon tax. I believe that I should not be able to use the atmosphere as a free dumping ground. I believe that our taxation system should be designed to promote good things (the three I's mentioned by Stéphane Dion: income, investment and innovation), and should discourage things that cause harm (sin taxes on pollution and wasteful overconsumption). Unless the other parties get this, I will be (holding my nose for other reasons but will be) voting Liberal next election.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Good bye...

...Wade, and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

It would've been nice to, you know, 'get something' for him, but he refused to waive his no trade clause twice, once last off-season, once at the trading deadline last season.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Roy "Fritz" Koerner

At times, it's easy to underestimate the impact that some of the people who walk the same halls as you do have had.

On May 26, Fritz Koerner passed away. I had the pleasure of seeing Fritz give a presentation back in October. He was engaging, friendly, lighthearted and illuminating. Few people could make glaciology as interesting as Fritz did. I didn't realize that he came up with ice core sampling, a crucial measurement strategy in determining previous climates.

RIP, Fritz.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Obama and Clinton

This has nothing to do with Ottawa, but...

Does anyone else think that there's some strategy to the Democrats continuing on with a 'race', even when it's pretty evident that it's over? Sure, there's infighting, but everyone's talking about the Democrats, and having their names out there a lot more than McCain is likely going to be to their benefit. The Republicans, who've proved much more capable recently at the mud-flinging that accompanies a campaign (until this year - I think the Clintons are giving them a run for their money), still have to hedge their bets and dig up dirt on both candidates - that's twice the effort, and twice the cost (granted, it's a small cost overall in a race). Maybe there's a bit of logic to them dragging this out, perhaps until August, even if most of us know that the race is over. Of course, this means doubled efforts on the Democrats side to take on the Republicans.

Anyhow, recent developments in the campaign have made it easy for me to decide who I'd prefer to see win. Obama's policy stands on energy and the environment have been far ahead of McCain's, and ahead of Clinton's. His stand against a gas tax holiday was a courageous move, in comparison with the populist pandering that McCain and Clinton showed.

This is my voting issue - whichever party comes up with the best environment/energy platform in the next Canadian election will get my vote. Even if, as it appears right now (sigh), it is the Liberal Party...

June 4 Update: Oops, guess I was wrong on this one...