Saturday, February 26, 2005

Flying Monkey Carbon Tax Hysteria

Flying Monkey award of the week.

Over at the Calgary Herald, their lead Business writer Charles Frank goes round and round in a big circle about how there is a secret clause in the latest Federal Budget to plunder the Alberta treasury with a Carbon Tax. It is so secret, in fact, that the author cannot reveal any facts.

The author starts out with a shocking revelation: Buried deep in the nether regions of this week's federal budget is an incendiary paragraph that could pave the way for a carbon tax.

The next nine paragraphs are boiler plate diatribes about Trudeau and the National Energy Program. The diatribe goes on a bit long and you have to flip to page E9 from the front page of the business section to get back to the original story line. Its like someone telling a really really long not so funny joke that you've heard before, but you feel you have to be be polite and listen to the end, and then fake a sincere laugh.

Finally, deep in the bowels of page E9 scrunched up next to unflattering pictures of Remax top sellers we finally get to the heart of the matter. The text in the budget that will ruin all of our lives and kill our puppies is this: For any environmental goal it is important that consideration be given to all of the available policy instruments and that solutions be identified that produce the best results for the environment.

So there you have it. You may now become hysterical and phone Charles Adler.

The general quality of writing throughout CanWest/Southam sure has gone down hill. Turgid prose which takes innuendo and active imagination and presents itself as fact is too dull to read, especially when our personal band-widths are getting more and more crowded. After the first paragraph it ceases to be Journalism under any traditional definition. The author uses enough weasel language to indicate that his heart really is not in the argument.

The general philosophical statement of seeking balance between economic and environmental policy has been in the liberal playbook forever, and does not indicate or foreshadow a specific policy. The problem is that the federal Liberals have really only talked about this kind of stuff and not actually done very much. Paul Martin is certainly less committed to Environmental policy than Chretien or Trudeau were.

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