How ugly will Canadas 2019 election get?

The Big Story
|

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

End. Up next so schedule Indians are going to make a larger rebate than on Tehran's. Are I get that it has to do with how fuel intensive the local economy is, but that's we real hard to explain to the people who are getting less of a rebate. There's a traitor in all of us direct invest with Scotia. I trade become a new client, and you could get up to fifteen hundred dollars cash or three hundred free trades when you open and fund a new account conditions apply. See Scotia trade dot com for details. The carbon tax is a really interesting issue to me because you would think it would split down the lines of well, we have to do something about climate change. But I'm more interested in if it splits down party lines like is this something that we're seeing conservatives lineup against because I know some conservatives have run on platforms for carbon taxes, we went through an interesting moment is a country where the conservative leader of the largest province Patrick Brown. When he was leading the on -tario conservatives was going to accept the arguments for carbon taxation was going to cooperate with federal efforts on the matter and then use the revenues to pay for the rest of his platform. And and and every conservative Ontario, said sure like fine. Whatever will, you know. It's a little weird. We're not used to being pro carbon-tax. But he he's leader at off we go. And then when he was elected from the party for very much, different reasons, he was replaced by a leadership campaign where every single candidate rejected his vision of the carbon plan and a lot of people who were. Willing to run. So, you know, rod Phillips, the the environment ministry around -tario is an old acquaintance of mine. He was perfectly happy to run as a candidate for Patrick Brown. He was essentially recruited by Patrick Brown is a candidate to run on a platform that included carbon taxes now, he's the environment minister of Ontario. He's taking the feds to court, and he is he canceling cap and trade carbon tax every effective measure to reduce emissions. How you and something like that? There's a lot in politics that resembles sports more than it resembles philosophy. And if you're if you're wearing the blue jersey, then you're going to do with the blue jersey says an an and if that changes than than I found people be remarkably agile, he's a conservative because this is this is what being a conservative means this year. Yeah. Does that cost you later on because that's something that's gonna come back. Come back on them so blatant. Yeah. I have to say that it. Sure, not guaranteed the cost you. I mean every federal liberal in the country was against free trade in. In nineteen eighty eight. And then all for it by nineteen Ninety-three, right? When an McClellan was the Justice minister of Canada, she stood up in the house of Commons and promised the Canadian people that extending same-sex benefits as part of the public sector employees working conditions would not lead to gay marriage in Canada. She said, look, we're not this. Nobody's talking about gay marriage. And then four years later they were talking about gay marriage. And and McClellan was fine with it. You know, politics often doesn't involve a sort of a stately and orderly evolution towards a higher level of of of Justice in awareness. It often just involves swallowing yourself whole and hoping that nobody notices that's a good way to put it as we get into the actual campaign, which starts in January. How important is it going to be for the liberal party to kind of articulate the message that that you said is working for them on the carbon tax, but you kind of have to explain it. And I wonder if as the campaign starts and kind of slogans get shorter and punchier. And simpler, if we have any idea if they're going to be able to do that I for one very curious to see how this works out. Look in some ways, the the liberal planets simplicity itself, if you burn fuel you will pay a tax that is assessed based on scientists best guess about about how much carbon you're putting into the air. And it's the same as a gasoline tax that we pay now it's the same as all sorts of consumption taxes taxes for smoking, and so on and then the the extra little bit of it is the revenues that are raised in a province from that tax ninety percent of them. Go back to people to individuals through the income tax system. And because that includes revenues that are raised from business, but don't go back to business the revenues that are raised from business. Also, go to individuals most people are going to get more in rebates than they paid out in carbon taxes up mostly at the at the at the gas pump and on their fuel bills. And I think that's a pretty basically easy thing for people to understand. But there's a there's a lot of weird kind of quirks to it. I if you live in one province your rebate is bigger than if you. Live in another. So Cisco Indians are going to make a larger rebate than on Tehran's. Are I get that? It has to do with how fuel intensive the local economy is, but that's we real hard to explain to the people who are getting less of a rebate. It's not even obvious to someone who lives in gap. No on the, you know, ten miles from parliament hill on the Quebec side why they're not getting any rebate at all. But somebody lives on the interior side is and you can say, well, it's kind of obvious it's because Quebec is cooperating with the carbon tax Ontario's fighting against it. So that the feds have to set up their own, gene. But look already I'm I'm a couple blocks down the road. So that was gonna stop complex explanations of complexity that are not easy to use as a rebuttal to simple things. Like, why are they taxing every time? We get in our car. You know? Yeah. Why does Joe get a better rebate than Jane? This is not going to be an easy argument to win. It seems to me. I would we talk to you back in in August or early September about Hamish Marshall, you told us kind of the thought carbon tax was going to be. V hill that this election would be fought on you still think that. Yeah. Certainly one of the big ones both sides can imagine a situation where it's not in their interest to talk about this all the time. I'm struck by how few public comments, Catherine McKenna. The environment minister has made Ian detailed defense of this plan and of the philosophy behind it. She tweets a lot of feel good stuff on Twitter, but she's not easy to get an interview with and often in the interview, she doesn't say a lot. So the the liberals plainly think that they win they're likely to win on this. If they don't tire people out by always talking ear off about it. And similarly, I can imagine the conservative saying, you know, we can get these guys on general taxes taxation on general cost of living on affordability on not getting along. With our American cousins, there's a million issues that they can go after the the the the liberals on that may be cleaner lines of attack. But I just think it's in these people the the liberals believe themselves to be the party of climate virtue. And the conservatives be. Believe themselves to be the only people who understand the real nature of Canada as a resource producing center. And I don't think they'll be able to. I don't think I don't think MIR tactics will be enough to keep them from resisting going at each other hammer and Tong on this. I just think they can't resist a fight on this issue. I've heard that the election campaign itself is going to be nasty, but honestly going at each other hammering tongs over the merits of a carbon tax seems like a pretty civil disagreement. Do you have a sense as we head into twenty nineteen? How nasty the campaign will be. I think they're always pretty nasty. I mean, I it's interesting, George W George H W Bush, the elder of the two Bush presidents just passed away. And I read all of the eulogies that said he was such a gentleman in such a fine fellow right? I remember the the nineteen eighty eight presidential election, the one that he ended up winning when he succeeded from Ronald Reagan, and he ran against Michael Dukakis who was an academic who is a very ineffective fellow. And that campaign got so nasty about prison. Furloughs for convicted, rapists. And and and now long forgotten issues since then that Newsweek magazine had a cover illustration drawn by Garry Trudeau who was the the guy who did Doonesbury showing Bush Dukakis, mud fighting mud wrestling, you know, and with Bush's cartoon hands curled around dukakis's throat campaigns are always way nastier than we think failed. The it's it's become a bit of a cliche on parliament hill before every campaign. Everyone says well, this one's going to be very orderly. And you know, we can predict how this is going to happen. And then somebody in power starts to lose or somebody. Who's got a shot at power starts to see it slip away from them. And this is their entire career. The stakes are so high that look I've never seen a boring campaign because I don't think I don't think the people in it can afford to have the boring, and they're so convinced that the other side is wrong for the country that the that each side feels permitted to say just anything about the other side. And so there's no self restraint. And I'm not sure this next campaign is going to be worse than any of those. But you know, we always kid ourselves that they're going to be really straightforward and. They always turn out to be just the damnedest thing you ever. So that's one reason why I stay in this game. Thanks, paul. You. Welcome. Paul senior writer for Maclean's based on parliament hill. That was the big story brought to you by Scotia. I trade you can visit Scotia I trade dot com to start direct investing today, and you can visit the big story podcast dot CA. If you want more big stories, you can also contact us. They are suggest a story idea or just tell us what we're doing wrong. He can also do that on social media, but not in public, please. The at big story podcast on Twitter on Facebook on Instagram. And we are everywhere you get your podcasts, apple Google, Stitcher. Spotify wherever please rate, please review. Hello friend. I'm jordan. He throwing thanks for listening. We'll talk tomorrow.

Coming up next