06.30.2015 08:27 AM

Trudeau, Dion and the Green Shift

Liberals still wince, a little bit, when reminded of Stephane Dion’s Green Shift. Some of them even attempt to rewrite history, and suggest they never supported it when it was party policy in 2008.

But everyone did, including Justin Trudeau, who – like a good soldier – came out to Vancouver in October 2008 to stump for votes for Dion. News reports of their rally at Science World make no mention of Trudeau attempting to shift away from the Green Shift. None. Given how successfully the CPC demonized the Green Shift in 2008 – and how they have campaigned against carbon taxes, for years – that is significant.

And, perhaps, that’s why Trudeau’s environmental policy announcement yesterday – in Vancouver, again – was also significant. The Green Shift is referenced in the headline over Akin’s column, but I can’t fund any other reference to it in the coverage of yesterday. Did the media ask Trudeau about Dion’s plan? Did it come up at all? We don’t know. But the NDP and Tory responses to what he said, I thought, were desultory – they seemed to be phoning it in.

It’s still early, of course, and attack ads may be in the works as I write this. But perhaps things have changed, in the intervening years, and carbon taxes/green shifts aren’t as radioactive as they once were. We shall see. In the meantime, here’s an amazing (and revealing) photo of Trudeau and Dion on that day back in October 2008.

Stephane Dion Justin Trudeau

Caption contest!


  1. Jeff says:

    Rural Canada will similarly punish the Liberals as they did before for even thinking about a carbon tax if it goes that way.

  2. Kevin T. says:

    I would’ve liked to have seen Dion’s Canada, kinda like I would’ve liked to have seen Gore’s United States too.

  3. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Dion to Trudeau:

    Good office help is so hard to find these days…

  4. davie says:

    Perhaps some people are beginning to notice climate changes happening a little further south and east in Canada. Dry spells are one thing, but drought can be attention getting…and can increases in numbers and ferocity of wild fires and forests burning. Do air quality warnings have no impact on urban people? At all?

    Sometimes it is okay put the media aside and walk around outside. It ain’t all cottage and cabin country outside of metro areas.

    • Peter says:

      I think the problem is more that people actually do walk outside and can’t see much change after thirty years of almost non-stop scientific alarmism and activism. Climate change activists seem to have very short memories and to have forgotten all the doomsday scenarios and “last chance” panics of the nineties and oughts. They seem prone to argue as if the public just became dimly aware of the issue for the first time last year. The problem for isn’t a lack of awareness and education, it’s climate change fatigue.

  5. Matt says:


    Liberal.ca abandons Liberal red for carbon tax green.

  6. Adam says:

    Elite Liberals Insulate Themselves From Looming Green Shift Invasion of Taxpayers’ Pockets

  7. Domenico says:

    Lets face it a carbon tax is easily understandable. You would have to have studied at the University of Cranbrook to be in denial about global climate change. Or possibly just be old and grumpy.

    I am in agreement with Jeff Rubin that a national carbon tax should be offset by an equal reduction in income tax. To paraphrase Mr. Rubin, a national carbon tax should be offset income tax cuts so that tax base is moved from income, which is good for the economy, to carbon, which is bad for the economy.

    • Kelly says:

      That is exactly what the Grern Party I proposing. It’s more or less what they’re doing in BC. That province has one of the best economies in Canada right now. If you cut back on carbon consumption you will gain in tax savings. If someone wants to drive a Hummer and be a chump…that’s their friggin problem.

      • jeff316 says:

        Aside from funding social services from a pool of money that you’re actively seeking to eliminate, the other problem with the income for carbon tax trade is that the cut to income will likely prove permanent, regardless of how long a carbon tax lasts. A carbon tax could easily prove temporary.

    • Don Wilson says:

      Had to chuckle at your post, Domenico. If my intuitive powers are up to snuff, the Dean and Professor Emeritus of the Climate Sciences Faculty of the University of Outer Cranbrook is about to deliver an important media release to refute you and Jeff Rubin in 5…4…3…2….

      • cgh says:

        Please indicate Jeff Rubin’s expertise in atmospheric physics.
        It’s not entirely clear he has a clear grasp of economics.

        • Don Wilson says:

          Rubin’s grasp of economics was good enough for a major bank to employ him as their chief economist. I won’t speak for you, but that sure beats my banking career. Where his grasp is weak is in the prediction of oil prices. Smart people are worth listening, especially smart people with enough humility to admit their mistakes

        • Don Wilson says:

          Rubin’s grasp of economics was good enough for CIBC to employ him as their chief economist. I won’t speak for you, but that sure beats my banking career. Where his grasp is weak is in the prediction of oil prices. Smart people are always worth listening to, especially smart people with enough humility to admit their mistakes. Rubin could easily give a fine commencement address to the grads at Outer Cranbrook U.

  8. KenzoS says:

    Green Shift explanation meets a green shouldered shrug.

  9. Elisabeth Lindsay says:

    Will the Liberal National carbon tax be in addition to the carbon taxes that most of the Provinces pay now?

    • Matt says:

      They’ve only had TWO YEARS to develop policy. You’d have thought they’d be a little more prepared with the details.

      Seems their strategy is to throw everything at the wall and hope something sticks.

      Giving immigrants a year away from citizenship free entry into National Parks? Is that really a front of mind electoral issue for people????

  10. BrianK says:

    Dion: All the images on my cellphone camera are blurry, do you know how to work this thing?

  11. Priyesh says:

    Dion was the most principled leader the Liberals have had since Chretien, and someone who campaigned on a big idea.

    He won the leadership in an ugly brokerage contest, and campaigned against an electorate still angry at the party.

    But he would have made a great Prime Minister.

  12. Eric Weiss says:

    Looks like the LPC has written off electing any MPs in Alberta.

  13. patrick says:

    Smug prick thinks he’s better looking than me!

    Does he think he’s giving me a death stare? Really?

    I think I’ll kick him in the sac.

    I know death stares and this isn’t one.

    Probably fights like a girl.

    Don’t laugh. Don’t laugh. Don’t laugh.

    I should so kick him in the sac.

    Wow, I am so much better looking than he is.

    I’m depressed.

  14. Rainclouds says:

    Live in BC, The Gordon Campbell carbon tax is just a TAX, NOBODY STOPPED DRIVING.
    We are really pleased to be paying 1.37 a liter.
    Thankfully I can go to the local pot shop, load up, and forget how Im being screwed

    Love this blog…..

    Happy Canuck Day!

  15. Hawaii Five Oh says:

    scientific proof of Anthropogenic Global Warming and how a tax dollar amount is arrived at re CO2 levels would be good
    never mind China & Al Gore

  16. chuckercanuck says:

    Caption Contest Entry 1:

    “Don’t worry, people are too stupid to see the irony of discussing global warming on an airport tarmac.”

    Entry 2:

    “Justin, nothing helps fight global warming than a chartered jet.”

    Entry 3:

    “I wish I could quit you.”

  17. Joel Robinson says:

    In my mind the green shift comes down to this to the average Canadian: “are you willing to have $20 less in your paycheck to avoid 200g of Carbon going into the atmosphere?”

    They will pick the $20 every time. That’s all the Cons have to do to stop carbon taxes. It may make all the sense in the world, but if it costs anything, a lot of people will not vote for it.

    • Joe says:

      For the shallow thinkers a carbon tax sounds good. However fossil fuels are too much of a basic input to daily life to have a tax change their lifestyle. My Mother recalls how my Dad fretted about the price of gasoline. He said that if the price went to $0.25 per imperial gallon they would have to park the car. When he died 20 years later he had 2 cars and 3 trucks. Whats more he was driving when he died.

  18. P Brennan says:

    Hey Stephan..can I borrow your car…my roadster in the shop…

  19. Matt says:

    Dion – So the airline DIDN’T lose your luggage? That’s what you intended to wear?

    Trudeau – Shrugs sholders.

  20. e.a.f. says:

    Nice picture of the two of them and as long as Dion sits next to Trudeau in Parliament I don’t have much to worry about. when people complain about Trudeau as being too young, or this or that, I just tell them to look at who is sitting right behind him in Parliament. Dion, the brains of the Liberals. its an argument I’ve used with people who aren’t happy with the Cons and won’t vote NDP or Green. Me I’m still voting NDP. They may win this riding.

  21. Joe says:

    Dion. “Wow that really is the wind I hear whistling through your ears”.

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