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February 25th, 2010:

So Bernier is a climate change denier? No big surprise there…

This article flew a little under the radar, but in it, ReformCon Minister Maxime Bernier states that the cautious approach to climate change has been exactly what Canadians have needed since:

the debate on the scientific basis of climate, stifled for years by political correctness, finally broke out openly in the media

and that:

De très sérieux scientifiques croient toutefois qu’on sous-estime l’influence du soleil et d’autres facteurs qui n’ont rien à voir avec le CO2 dans l’étude des changements climatiques.

which, translated, says – more or less that there are some very serious scientists who think that the influence of the sun and other factors that have nothing to do with CO2 are underestimated  in climate change studies.

Good thing they are serious scientists…

Over at bloggingtories.ca, M. Bernier is being hailed as a hero! As the second coming of Jim Prentice! As a brave soul who is breaking away from the Mamby-pambyness of the Harperites and saying it like it is!

Here are some of the reactions:

My Friend Maxime Bernier is a… – “The reaction from the chicken littles has been of course hysteria. Keep up the good work Maxime. One day you will be HM PM.”

Thank you Maxime Bernier for being the first politician to have the courage to publicly acknowledge what we all have been aware of for the last several months – that the so-called ’settled science’  is unraveling and the alarmists’ hysteria is a crock as Lorrie Goldstein points out today – Mad Max makes sense.

Yikes! They are all a-twitter! NeoCons are excited! Look out!!!! Madness will ensue!

But seriously, this is a problems for this guy:

Harper relies on strict and unwavering adherence to the message. And Max has broken this sacrament. He may have a real internal problem on his hands and the opposition parties will undoubtedly point to this in the coming months.

Of course, the distancing has begun:

Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice’s office was quick to distance itself from Bernier’s letter.

Prentice’s spokesman, Frédéric Baril, told CBC News that Bernier’s opinions are his own and are not at all in line with those of the environment ministers or the Conservative government

It will be amusing to see how this plays out… hee-hee…

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The power of the institutions of democracy

I thought I’d share few thoughts about the latest polling results released yesterday by Nanos Research – a firm that I consider to be second to none in Canadian political public opinion research.

Respondents were read a list of the “institutions of democracy” and asked to rate the degree of power that each of them had. The results were not all that surprising with the PMO being rated as the institution pointed to having too much power.

Not surprising because I am quite certain that respondents were hearing “PM” instead of the PMO as a whole.

But what I did find surprising were the choices that were read to the respondents:

The PMO, The House of Commons, The Federal Cabinet, The Senate, The Supreme Court, The Federal Civil Service

Institutions two through four are undoubtedly institutions of our Canadian democracy. Their existence is enshrined in the Constitution. Canadians know them and trust them to be the prime decision makers at the federal level.

But the PMO and the Public Service?I don’t really consider them to be “institutions of our democracy”. They are very important components of it – but not institutions in the Constitutional sense.

I wonder why Nanos included them? I can only suspect that the reason for doing so was to gauge the feeling about the relative power of the PMO and the PS to the HoC, Supreme Court, etc. It is true that there has been a lot of (justifiable) media attention about the amount of power that is wielded by the PMO. And in the past there have been questions about how much power should be granted to the PS.

In any case, the results are interesting and pretty much confirm what Canadians have thought about Harper and his autocratic rule – too much power for Harpy and not enough in the House. And Cauncks are pretty sure of themselves as only 8.7% of respondents indicated that they were unsure about the appropriateness of the degree of power used by the PMO – the lowest rate of “unsureness”  among all of the listed institutions.

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