Liberals from Alberta jump shift

Yesterday, Stephane Dion abandoned the Green Shift as a central plank of his campaign while the Liberal war-room and other senior Liberal communication officials did their best to shift the story by denying the departure.

Today, as revealed by the Calgary Herald, we see that the Liberals in Alberta are splitting from the rest of the candidates by releasing their own platform called the “made-in-Alberta agenda”. This rogue platform which promises free tuition for first year undergrads and a national pharmacare strategy shows that the Liberal Party’s Alberta candidates aren’t waiting around for Stephane Dion to flip-flop on ideas that are important to them.

In an election, the candidates are the team and the leader is the captain. Now, the Alberta candidates are off playing their own game while captain Dion is madly erasing the team’s chalkboard and fails to come up with any new plays.

Can you imagine a Prime Minister Stephane Dion that can’t implement his own agenda because his Alberta caucus has gone rogue? What does this say about Dion’s leadership when his team is turning their backs on Dion’s plan for winning this election?

Click here to download the “Made-in-Alberta” agenda

Abandon Shift!

In Winnipeg today, Stephane Dion gave his stump speech but Bob Fife from CTV noticed that it was lacking something. Fife noticed that Dion only mentioned “Green Shift” once in his speech and did not mention the carbon tax once. The CTV reporter asked if the Green Shift was still central to the campaign. Dion responded, “You have said it was but never me”

Stephane Dion in the Kingston Whig-Standard July 26th 2008,

“The answer is yes. It [the Green Shift plan] is at the heart of our strategy but it’s not our whole strategy.”

When was the last time a party leader, running to become Prime Minister framed an issue as a referendum as an election period? That would have been Brian Mulroney with free trade. I cannot remember the last time an opposition leader has done so, and for Dion to abandon his central policy plank mid-campaign, Liberals and Canadians will lose confidence in the man during an election which is also defined by leadership.

From cold cuts to cold guts

Putin’s puppet in Moscow just handed Stephen Harper a gift which will allow him to change the channel from Ritz,

President Medvedev threatens Russian Arctic annexation

Russia triggered a fresh scramble for the oil wealth of the Arctic yesterday when President Medvedev called on his security chiefs to establish a formal border in the region.

Mr Medvedev laid claim to a vast tranche of the Arctic, telling his National Security Council that it had “strategic importance” for Russia. The US Geological Survey estimates that the region contains 90 billion barrels of oil, as well as gas reserves – all of it increasingly accessible as global warming shrinks the ice cap.

“We must wrap up all the formalities for drawing the external border in the continental shelf. This is our direct responsibility to future generations,” Mr Medvedev told the Kremlin meeting.

Since the last throne speech, Stephen Harper has been pushing arctic sovereignty as an issue and polling shows that the issue is important to Canadians. Over the past four decades, the Liberals have claimed many facets of Canadian nationalism, but the arctic and defense of our northern border has been a hallmark of Prime Minister Harper’s administration.

Flashback to the last election when Paul Martin was seen to have orchestrated a diplomatic incident with the United States over softwood lumber. In contrast, this would be an international event which Harper could react to rather than contrive. Leadership is a key theme for this election and Harper’s defense of Canada’s arctic sovereignty would underline this advantage that Harper has over the other leaders.

To paraphrase a famous person,

“It’s like a really bad Disney movie, you know. The professor, you know. ‘I’m just a professor of sociology from Montreal” and he’s the Prime Minister. And it’s like he’s facing down Vladamir Putin and using the quaint little Green Shift stuff he learned from Al Gore. It’s absurd. It’s totally absurd.”