Monday, December 22, 2014

Real Journalism: Holding Harper To Account

Unlike the kind of faux journalism that the CBC's most reverent chief correspondent, Peter Mansbridge, has perfected, real journalism requires critical thinking and hard-hitting questions. In that, The Toronto Star holds to consistently high standards.

To appreciate this fact, consider first the following exchange during the year-end interview the Prime Minister granted his media acolyte:

Mansbridge: So why don’t we propose something then?

Harper: We have proposed something.

What have we proposed?
Well the Province of Alberta, excuse me, the Province of Alberta itself already has a, it’s one of the few GHD regulatory environments in the country. It has one. I think it’s a model on which you could, on which you could go broader.

This is the carbon levy?

This is the tech fund price carbon levy and the, the, it’s not a levy, it’s a price and there’s a tech fund in which, in which the private sector makes investments. So look, that’s what Alberta has done, that’s a model that’s available but you know as I say, we’re very open to see progress on this on a continental basis. I’ve said that repeatedly to our partners in North America and we look forward to working on that.
There is no follow-up by the good Mr. Mansbridge on this alleged carbon tax. That became the task of The Star, in today's editorial, which pointedly lambastes the Alberta model:
...the relaxed Alberta model that Harper promotes imposes a levy of just $15, and only on large emitters that fail to improve their energy efficiency (rather than reduce output). The firms can pay the money into a clean-energy research fund or purchase carbon credits. The result? Alberta emissions continue to soar, albeit at a slower rate, undercutting efforts in Ontario and British Columbia.
Far better, says The Star, would be to adopt the B.C, model,
which has a straight-up carbon tax, an approach the Star has long favoured. The $30-per-metric-tonne levy currently pushes up the cost of gasoline and natural gas by 6.67 cents a litre and 5.7 cents a cubic metre. But it is revenue-neutral. Residents reap the benefit in lower income taxes. It has led to a sharp drop in per capita fuel consumption.
British Columbia’s tax has been a “phenomenal success,” Charles Komanoff told the Star’s editorial board on Friday. He’s a co-founder of the New York-based Carbon Tax Center, dedicated to curbing global warming. The centre favours an aggressive carbon tax starting at $10 per metric tonne and rising to $100 over a decade.
The Star speculates that any talk of a carbon tax, even the weak one used in Alberta, is simply subterfuge on the part of Mr. Harper who, going into an election year, is trying to don the guise of a green warrior.

It is to be hoped that Canadians will not be so easily fooled this time around by such shameless posturing.

The editorial offers a solid suggestion that, if pursued, will reveal not only the truth behind Harper's rhetoric, but also the integrity and commitment of the other party leaders:
When Parliament resumes after the holiday break the opposition should make it a priority to pin him down on just what he’s prepared to propose to our major trading partners, by way of a credible scheme to price carbon and curb climate change. Voters should know before they cast their ballots on Oct. 19, or sooner.
I look forward to the House's resumption on January 26.



  1. I laugh at the idea the Toronto Star has a high qaulity standard of journalism, this is the paper that lied about and slandered Andrea Horwath, made her out to be Margot Thatcher, and Wynn to be the more progressive leader another lie that has been proven to be one with the P3 8 billion dollar per year boondogle, the backroom LCBO beer store deal that she contrinues to mantain, the privatization she's preparing to engage in, and more to come.

    The star doesn't have a bone of intergity within it.

    1. Of course, we all see things through our own political lens, Gyor; Horwath disappointed many with her campaign, including many NDP stalwarts who felt she was abandoning principles in her pursuit of power. Whether Wynne will prove the better choice still, in my view, remains to be seen. For example, it looks like she will move to change that unholy alliance between the LCBO and the Beer Store engineered by Mike Harris.

      As I'm sure you are well aware of, Gyor, choice in politics often involves the least bad choice, a sad but true reality today.

  2. Careful, Lorne. Gyor is such a New Dem zealot that he's looped the tape of Jack Layton giving Harper the lap tango. There was a day not that long ago that Dippers like Gyor were everywhere. I suspect most of them have realized what Layton/Mulcair have done to "Blairify" the NDP. Gyor can't celebrate the NDP's abandonment of the Left so he has to content himself with tire-biting. Sad, really.

  3. But on the subject of this post - revenue neutral, carbon taxes - the regime we have here in B.C., Gyor also overlooks the utterly sleazy manner in which Layton piled on with Harper to attack Dion for proposing essentially the same thing, the Green Shift initiative.

    1. I think we have been around long enough to know that political ideals have been supplanted by a cynical expediency on so many levels of politics, Mound. The best we can hope to do is call them on their hypocrisies and failures and hope that true leadership eventually emerges again. I also find it very interesting that the media offer very little coverage of the success that B.C. has had with its carbon tax regime; most seem happy to simply echo the myth that carbon taxes are job killers.

  4. The lack of awareness of BC's carbon tax initiative is possibly a reflection of corporate domination of Canada's mass media. They're blatant bitumen-boosters and talk of effective carbon taxes doesn't suit their narrative. By the way, I'll leave it to you to guess what position the BC NDP took on the province's carbon tax. Be as cynical as you like, you won't go wrong.

    1. This is news I suspect Gyor will not want to hear, Mound.