Second Thots

Sometimes one has to step back, take pause, and have some "second thots"

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


A Tory-NDP deal on the environment

A common point made by skeptics of a Tory-NDP deal on the environment is that they just don't see how left and right can come together and work it out. This question was raised by Kady O'Malley of during a fascinating discussion of NDP fortunes on Steve Paikin's The Agenda last night. It's also something that Greg at Political Staples has been trying to get his mind around recently. Many people have.

As far as I know, I have talked about Jack and Steve getting together on this before anyone else has. Judging by what Layton was saying on Paikin last night, I am more convinced than I've ever been that a deal is in the works. Jack was already beaming about the prospect of a historic deal on global warming. He was already talking about "getting things done" in this current minority Parliament. He might as well have had Harper on the show with him last night and sign the final agreement right there and then.

So, how do the two sides come together?

Well, we're already seeing it happening. There were stories in the news yesterday about the Tories setting short-term targets on greenhouse gas emissions. This is one of the NDP's demands for a deal. Slowly but surely, the things Jack has wanted to see in a deal are being talked about by the Tories. Throw in some wording about Kyoto, and we're almost done.

I believe the Tories were always willing to beef up the Clean Air Act. The question turns to the NDP and the extent to which they were willing to back off on a strict adherence to Kyoto. Well, Jack's been talking that way for months now. He's talked about scientifically based targets. He's talked about short-term targets. While saying great things about Kyoto, Jack hasn't said much about letter-of-the-law compliance with Kyoto.

As long as a bill is produced that means meaningful action on global warming, I think NDP supporters and environmentalists will be relatively happy. There will be short-term targets. There will be wording about Kyoto.

Most importantly, both Harper and Layton will tell Canadians they're getting things done, while Liberal leader Dion was an integral part of a government that did nothing for 13 years. It's a campaign narrative too hard to resist for both the Tories and the NDP. Watch for it. Heck, Jack was already dancing with it for much of last night. Expect more of it soon.

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