UPDATED: Tory tricksters nearly pull off cunning plan … but not quite. (Sorry, Ryan.)



The eagle-eyed KNB gets full credit for noticing that there were actually four committees dealing with anti-carbon tax motions today: Agriculture, Natural Resources, Transport and Finance. So far, the results have been — somewhat mixed, shall we say.

As noted previously, the motion at Agriculture did eventually pass, but only after it was amended into a neutral-sounding call for a study into the possible impact of a carbon tax on farmers, rather than the categorical condemnation originally proposed by the Conservatives. (See original post for important update.)

At roughly the same time that the Agriculture committee was performing radical surgery on the above motion, Bradley Trost brought an even more transparent proposal forward at Natural Resources, which – uh, yeah, even the most distracted or easily confused Liberal probably wasn’t going to fall for this one, guys:

That the Committee report the following to the House at the earliest opportunity:
A carbon tax is a trick; it will raise the price of everything, including food, electricity, home heating and gas at the pumps; it will devastate young families, seniors and people on a fixed income; destroy jobs in this time of global economic uncertainty, have a negative impact on Canada’s traditional industries like forestry and will eliminate jobs; the Committee recommends, therefore, that the federal government reject any plans for new carbon taxes.

According to post-meeting gossip, the Conservatives wound up filibustering the motion after it became obvious that it wasn’t going to pass without amendment.

UPDATE: ITQ has been told (with no small amount of malicious glee) that Trost, realizing too late that the motion was so over the top as to resemble a parody of itself, attempted to amend his own motion to make it slightly less ridiculous, but was gently advised by the chair that, uh, you can’t do that.

The NDP’s Catherine Bell then moved an amendment that would have basically turned the original motion upside down and inside out – and into something the opposition parties, at least, might be able to support, but sadly, it was ruled out of order since it would have altered the very legislative DNA of the Trost motion. Rather than see his proposal defeated, Trost and his Conservative colleagues then ran down the clock.

The full text of the Bell amendment:

That this committee recognizes that we are living in a world where carbon must be constrained and priced, and further recognizes that the rising price of gas and energy impacts middle and lower income Canadians and makes life less affordable, therefore the committee recommends that the government put a price on carbon based on the polluter pay principle and invest in programs and develops innovative technologies to help Canadians reduce their carbon footprint and their energy bills.

Meanwhile, the anti-carbon tax motion tabled at the Finance committee turned up in the minutes from last Thursday’s meeting. Not surprisingly, it was resoundingly defeated, with all opposition parties voting against it:

Dean Del Mastro moved, — That the Committee adopt the following report and that the Chair be instructed to present it to the House at the earliest opportunity:

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has noted that discussions of carbon taxes cause great nervousness among entrepreneurs, particularly at a time where firms are struggling to adapt to the pressure of rising energy and other input costs.

The Committee therefore recommends that the government reject any plans for additional fuel or carbon taxes.” .

The question was put on the motion and it was negatived on the following recorded division:YEAS: Dean Del Mastro, Rick Dykstra, Ted Menzies, Mike Wallace — 4; NAYS: Paul Crête, Martha Hall Findlay, John McKay, Massimo Pacetti, Louis Plamondon, Garth Turner — 6.

As for Finance and Transport, I haven’t been able to track down the results yet, but I’ll update this post as soon as I find out what went down.

UPDATE: Still no sign of the Transport motion, but the minutes for the last two meetings aren’t up yet. I’ll keep checking until we’ve got the full set of doomed gambits.

Oh, and Conservatives? Ten out of ten for style; minus several million for lack of contingency plan. Really, you can’t just assume that Plan A will go off without a hitch. In fact, at this point, I’m wondering what you could possibly be thinking to assume that even plans B through D would be sufficient, what with the way things keep going pear-shaped.