Day of action a success?

What have we learned today?

  • We’ve learned that 10 people and a school bus can disrupt rail traffic between Toronto and Montreal and between Kingston and Ottawa.
  • We’ve learned that the mere threat of blocking the 401 can get police to shut down sections of that route.
  • We’ve learned that $100 million worth of commerce travels the 401 daily.
  • We’ve learned that if there is a warrant out for your arrest, if you camp out at a quarry you are immune from arrest even if plan to shut down the most trafficked rail line in the country.
  • We’ve learned that both Oka and Ipperwash have spooked the provincial government and police force to such an extent that ongoing illegal actions are negotiated by authorities from a powerless position.
  • We’ve learned that if you have an issue and the government doesn’t listen, blockading the 401 and Toronto-Montreal rail line will allow you to receive wall-to-wall coverage in the media and the only consequence is being arrested for “mischief”. We’ve also learned that you can declare that you will continue to “push this button” any time that you need to get your point across.

If this behaviour by this handful of troublemakers is met with positive re-enforcement by the government via policy concessions and laughable charges, we will see more of this more often as we’ve learned that such behaviour has been effectively validated and condoned by provincial authorities. Unfortunately, the actions of this handful of protesters may taint the ‘Day of Action’ for natives in the rest of the country who wished to educate rather than disrupt. We may instead see the government dig in its heels to prevent the appearance of rewarding unruly behaviour. This is certainly not the objective of peaceful and non-disruptive activists.

If $100 million worth of commerce was disrupted, shouldn’t these protesters be liable for this amount? In other jurisdictions, the disruption of interstate commerce is a felony. Should we be considering real consequences instead of rewards for these sorts of disruptions?

Cabinet shuffle

UPDATE: I have heard that Prentice is already meeting with significant stakeholders (innovative green technology firms) behind the scenes and that the Conservatives may already be developing a new green strategy (the “Green Phoenix” perhaps?). Regardless, I should mention that the following is still speculative rumour. The proceeding information is based on a few fairly good sources.

Jim Prentice moves into Environment.

Ambrose shifted to Intergovernmental Affairs replacing Van Loan.

Van Loan goes to Indian Affairs.

Prentice is considered by most insiders in official Ottawa to be the Prime Minister’s de facto deputy (even though he is not officially named as such).

Does this indicate that the Conservatives are putting increased focus on buffering themselves on the environmental file should it become a campaign issue?

Even though Dion’s record on greenhouses gases is virtually all hot air, I wonder if the polls are telling the long term strategic planners in the PMO that such a pragmatic cabinet shift is worth the nod of recognition that the Clean Air Act was widely reviewed as a lemon.

This move may have been planned to show movement on the file which may yet become a sleeper issue during the next campaign. I’m still skeptical of the notion that a significant number of voters will make green issues the deciding factors on their ballot, but internal polls may be showing an increasing trend.

Back on January 25th, I predicted that the PM-elect would name Ambrose to Intergovernmental Affairs. Prior to her election to federal office, Ambrose was the Senior Intergovernmental Officer with the International and Intergovernmental Relations department of the Government of Alberta.