Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Quit the FIT

Enough with the subsidization of energy projects and enough with taking decision-making powers away from local communities on which projects go forward, says Tim Hudak. In a decidedly non-talking point fashion, too.


  1. So... local communities should be respected when it comes to energy policies, but ignored when it comes to subways.


    That's why Hudak will never win.

    Just like he opposes the HST but won't do anything about it. There are a dozen more examples.

    What a schemer.

  2. Sorry, which *local communities* don't want subways, again?

    You have a point, though. If you haven't noticed, I have been pushing the party to stop waffling. http://clownatmidnight.blogspot.ca/2012/02/game-on.html

  3. Not a matter of wanting or not wanting subways. That's a ruse. Everybody wants subways, and fixed roads, and no traffic, and a pony for our daughters, and for the Leafs to win the cup, and for a star player on the Raptors.

    But it makes no sense to be penny-wise and dollar dumb. I'm with Mike Harris who said in 1995, back when conservatives were conservatives, that we can't afford new subways so we can't afford new subways.

    But the local communities comment is about elected representatives. Hudak says he wants to give local councils a say when it comes to energy policy, but he wants to override the express majority view on council when it comes to transportation policy.

    Like subways or not, democracy is supreme. The Fords and Harpers and Hudaks of the world have to learn that at some point.

  4. Uh huh. Well, we are not in 1995 and the choice is not between subways or nothing anymore. It is between subways and LRT. Hudak took a position, but you don't like that. When Hudak doesn't take a position, like being against the HST but not doing anything about that, you don't like that either. If you just don't like Hudak and won't vote for him no matter what he does, I can respect that, but then there's no need to debate about what Hudak should or shouldn't do.

    Tell me something: Why is it that you are so quick to notice that Hudak's position has changed between 1995 and now? Could you maybe point out a few examples of how McGuinty's position on a few issues have changed? How'd McGuinty manage to become Premier if he changed his mind so much?

  5. This is my big point: why is the choice between subways and LRTs? If neither one makes sense then we should not be pursuing either.

    I have no idea what Hudak's position was in 1995 and I don't really care. That was not my point. My point was that Harris was a conservative and so he decided to act like a conservative. The result? He won more seats and a bigger majority in the next election. He knew we were in a financial hole. There were lots of things we needed to do and wanted to do, but we were broke. So he didn't spend money that we did not have.

    The great economy of the late 1990s was not because of him, but Ontario enjoyed more than its fair share of the growth because he made tough decisions when they needed to be made. He wasn't chasing votes, he was making decisions based on clear and understood principles. That gets respect from voters. And that is not a right-left, conservative-liberal thing.

    Who has any idea what Hudak is going to say or position he will take next? There is no guiding principle to his decisions and even when he claims there to be one, he is flip flopping on that within months. Even the one clear position he took - to kill the FIT program - his organizers were running to all of us in the industry telling us not to worry because it would still be there in mostly the same form just called something else.

    As for McGuinty, the subject of your post was Hudak so I'm responding to that.

    But more precisely to the offensive proposition that democracy can simply be ignored if you don't like the result.

  6. You'll get no argument from me as far as Hudak needing to be more conservative. In the next election, we had better be a lot more conservative than we were. But right now people's problem with Hudak is not that he's not conservative enough. It's that he is a conservative, period. If just being a conservative were enough, Ford would be in the driver's seat on city's council, and as we saw today that is decidedly not the case. And in case you didn't notice, while I might respect Harris and while you might respect Harris, Mike Harris isn't all that beloved today. It isn't enough for people to respect us. They need to vote for us, too. People respect Ron Paul for being consistent. They ain't voting for him, though.

    I get that a lot of Liberals want Hudak to be more conservative so they can scare voters with memories of Harris, though. Who has any idea what the Liberals are going to say or what position they're going to take next on how conservative Hudak should be?

    Just clear up one thing for me, please: Ford's victory, on a pro-subway message, which had (and has) the support of the people, wasn't democracy? So why isn't city council respecting it? Because "they can't pay for it", or did they just remember that after Ford started looking weak?

  7. Every councillor was elected with their own mandate. There is no reason they should abandon that because Ford wants to spend billions of dollars on one subway for a few people in one part of the city.

    And if you asked Torontonians if they wanted to pay an additional $4000 each so that a few people in one corner of the city could ride a subway, or if you asked us if we wanted to pay higher taxes to pay for it, as some polls have done, you get a very different picture of "what Torontonians want".

    The biggest problem - or one of them - with Ford on this is somehow this promise for subways has become sacrosanct, but his promise to respect the taxpayer, not to raise taxes, not to cut services, not to cut employees, to build the subways with only private money, to cut all that waste ('I know where it is, and we don't need to cut services to stop the gravy train'), etc etc etc, well, those are all just things he said that, in the better light of day, didn't really matter and are impractical and it doesn't matter that the polls still say people don't want their services cut because we have to be responsible.

    Democracy is not an a la carte order service.

    As for Ford starting to look weak, I think it is the other way around. He is looking weak because he has taken a stupid stand and as more and more moderate and even conservative councillors look at the data, look at the finances, look at the details, they start coming over in droves to the non-subway side.

  8. You are right about Liberals: what are they going to do next is often impossible to figure out because they are a brokerage party and not an ideological party. It's why they tend to rely so much on their choice of leader to give definition and direction to the party.

    But the difference, the key difference, is that they are not trying to be an ideological party. Hudak is claiming he is and his party is ideologically conservative, but then he is acting like a populist (i.e. chase the vote regardless of ideology/principle). On a personal level, it is clear that he will say anything to anyone. He's Mitt Romney only without even that much charisma or leadership.

    For me, Harris being a conservative or not was very secondary. He said what he believed in, said what he was going to do with a clear plan, and then he went and did it. And no amount of union taking to the streets, politicians screaming or media challenging bumped him off his plan. And the voters - from all walks of life/demographics, from across the political spectrum even - rewarded him.

    So Hudak doesn't need to be more conservative exactly. He needs to be more conservative because he says he's a conservative. A kind of put your money where your mouth is. i.e. tell us what you believe in, give us a clear plan for what you want to do and then do it.

    Plus he has to show leadership.

    And this - to take it back to the original point - pandering to Ford and saying what councils want matters except when they don't, is exactly the kind of thing that highlights the worst parts of Hudak.

  9. Ford's plan, such as it was, was out for the public and for all the city councillors to look and and pick over since 2010. If it wasn't clear enough or if there were flaws or if people would need to pay $4000 apiece to pay for it, someone should have said something. (FWIW, I sure did.) If we're going to have respect for democracy, then we're going to have to expect people to think before they vote. Instead, Ford's victory turned into this foregone conclusion with everyone else playing catch-up.

    More on Hudak later today- lunch break is over.

  10. Back. Now then, as for Hudak: Have you ever sat down and wondered why conservatives do what Hudak did? We always talk about being real conservatives. Why doesn't it ever happen? Because people just flat out don't like conservatives, that's why. Because we *want* to get tough on the deficit, but nobody lets us do what we want to do because that would mean they would have to give up their entitlements.

    People want to vote Liberal because voting Liberal is easy. Nobody's going to look at you funny for voting Liberal. The Liberals used to be this activist party that transformed the country, and now they have become the utterly safe and toothless status quo. And people love them for it. All the Liberals have to do to win elections is to come up with excuses for people not to vote conservative. Voting Liberal is a fashion statement, based on what's hot this summer, and nobody knows this better than the Liberals.

    Ask your pal the War Room Boss, who specializes in coming up with good excuses for people not to vote conservative. John Tory and the faith based schools issue comes to mind. There was a chance, the slightest of chances, that John Tory would have gotten tough on the deficit and made some cuts, and then along came this faith based schools issue and people let out a big sigh of relief and voted Liberal. The notion that John Tory was this secret socon was ridiculous, but the voters bought it anyway. Phew! We won't have to give up our womb-to-tomb government services after all. That was close!

    No politician would have to pander if the public didn't basically demand it. Voters don't look at the data. They don't inform themselves or become engaged in the system, they want the system to work for them without them having to do anything. People in this province can't tell the difference between MP's and MPP's, and you wonder why politicians behave the way they do. The question remains why you single out Hudak for doing this. Answer: Because he's a conservative. Or because he doesn't pander *as well* as McGuinty.

    Democracy should be a two way street and it isn't. We get the government we deserve.

  11. I hear a lot of excuses. None of which bear resemblance to reality.

    Harris campaigned on cutting the deficit, won, cut the deficit and was elected with a bigger majority. Ford campaigned on fiscal prudence and won. His popularity has tanked because he turned out to not be fiscally prudent. And he proved to be an idiot. Chretien won majorities because of he slated the deficit. Martin had a "juggernaut" because he was fiscally prudent (and turned out to be an idiot). Harper won a majority on his promise to, finally, be fiscally prudent. We'll see. He has yet to meet a campaign promise he likes to keep.

    The point is: Canadians are fiscally cautious and prudent. Promising to be so hard nothing to do with why Tory or Hudak are failures.

    Canadians also like strong and decisive leaders and the ordinary guy leader. It's why Chretien and Harris and McGinty keep on winning and guys like Tory and Martin and Hudak and Ignatieff and Dion don't.

  12. Kind of hard to make the case that McGuinty is the sort of guy who does what he says he's going to do, and kind of hard to square "strong and decisive leaders" with "respect for democracy." But yeah, I and the rest of the PC party rank and file want a stronger, less timid Tim Hudak. I hope I get that.

  13. Just to be clear, I'm not trying to make any case for McGuinty.

    As for Hudak, it's not less timid, you need. It's more authentic and genuine and consistent. McGuinty's inconsistencies and flip flops were not in the selling and campaigning, it was after getting elected. Like Harper, McGuinty has been more or less consistent in his selling of himself, but then dropping whatever promise he thought inconvenient. They both enjoyed the benefits of being the incumbent, i.e. the media has tended to give Harper and McGuinty an easy ride for their many broken promises.

    The problem for anyone trying to topple an incumbent is there is more scrutiny and tracking of pre-government flip flops. Ignatieff was torched for the minorest of inconsistencies (which there always was because he talked at such length). Hudak has had direct huge flip flops on centrepiece platform/campaign planks.

    Voters will punish a challenger more for inconsistencies than an incumbent. It's like we're saying all politicians break promises and flip flop (and Haprer is a record breaker in that department), but if you show us inconsistencies and flip flops before you are even in government, then we get worried about just how bad they will be if they get to be in government.

    Hudak is a career politician who has a reputation for saying whatever he thinks it takes to get elected. For him to win, he needs to simplify his message to a few key points (eg. Harper's "5 Priorities", Ford's "Stop the Gravy Train"), stick to them, don't let the many many idiots and radicals in his party speak or allow him to get distracted. Oh and not calling Canadian citizens "foreign workers" or promising to give tax dollars to religious education is probably a good thing to consider too.

  14. The timidity is directly related to the flip flops though. One of many examples: Hudak says he's going to defund HRC's -> Liberals start salivating -> PC's get scared -> Flip flop. You'll find many pieces in my archives where I've said this needs to stop happening.

  15. Good example of both our points.

    Definitely timidity. And there was so much of it that I think that lead him/forced him to be overly "strong" or to try to show strength on issues where he doesn't necessarily feel strong or where a strong position on a non-primary issue is not necessarily a good thing. Iggy had the very same issue. He waffled on so many issues that eventually, to show he wasn't a waffler, he takes a bizzarely over-strong position on the next issue that comes up.

    But also shows a willingness to chase the vote instead of driving the vote to him by focusing on a few core issues. For example, if you are going to promise people you will defund abortion, that's fine, but obviously that is a hot button issue, so either mean what you say and say what you mean, or don't. But don't promise it behind closed doors and then run from it when it comes out from behind closed doors while also saying it isn't important or relevant. For many people on both sides of the issue it is very important and relevant and it was insulting for him to try to say it wasn't.

    But why take such a controversial decision if you are going to abandon it at first public awareness? It stinks of snakey oilsalesman, promising everything to whomever is in front of him at the time.

    At root, Iggy was not the right person and there was no amount of reshaping and reimaging him that could fix that. I think at root Hudak is in the same boat, except a bit worse in a way because he has only been a career politician with high political ambitions, whereas (on paper at least) you can see the appeal of an Ignatieff because of his many successes outside of politics.