The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Before you click away, we have something to ask you…

Do you value independent journalism that focuses on the issues that matter? Do you think Canada needs more in-depth, fact-based reporting? So do we. If you’d like to be part of the solution, we’d love it if you joined us in working on it.

The Tyee is an independent, paywall-free, reader-funded publication. While many other newsrooms are getting smaller or shutting down altogether, we’re bucking the trend and growing, while still keeping our articles free and open for everyone to read.

The reason why we’re able to grow and do more, and focus on quality reporting, is because our readers support us in doing that. Over 5,000 Tyee readers chip in to fund our newsroom on a monthly basis, and that supports our rockstar team of dedicated journalists.

Join a community of people who are helping to build a better journalism ecosystem. You pick the amount you’d like to contribute on a monthly basis, and you can cancel any time.

Help us make Canadian media better by joining Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.

Ignatieff's New Story

Try as he might to drop the green message, it's central to Canada's fate.

By Matt Price 29 Apr 2009 |

Matt Price is a program manager with Environmental Defence.

image atom
Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff in Calgary earlier this month.

A federal Liberal MP challenged me recently to describe what I thought the next "story" of his party could be. The point he was making to me as an environmentalist was that they just ran on the whole green thing, and had lost. So, is that chapter done and gone for the Grits in Ottawa?

Federal Liberals arrive in Vancouver for their convention this coming weekend in the midst of a B.C. election campaign that wasn't supposed to be about the environment, but is. Partly this is because parties are playing against type in the stories they are telling, with the BC NDP promising to axe the carbon tax the BC Liberals put in place, while the Greens run on the economy.

Michael Ignatieff has also garnered attention by playing against type in his early statements about the tar sands, downplaying the devastating environmental impacts in favour of saying the Liberals shouldn't run against Alberta. (Albertans, by the way, actually want the tar sands to be cleaned up, and the pro tar sands talk hasn't helped any in the polls there either).

But the overall story that Ignatieff wants to tell about the Liberals is still emerging. Early indications are that it is all about nation building, national unity and economic recovery. Even just the title of his recently released book -- True Patriot Love -- sums it up.

Nationalism smackdown

Interestingly, the story about nationalism and economic recovery is one that the Conservatives are trying to own as well, leaving little daylight with the Liberals on many fronts. The difference may come down to a matter of scale: incrementalism for the Conservatives and grander projects for the Liberals.

So, do environmental issues play a role any longer in what seem to be the emerging battle lines in Ottawa? As with the B.C. election, we can't predict a possible renewed interest sparked by a surprise shuffling of positions in Ottawa -- remember for example that Brian Mulroney was named Canada's "greenest" prime minister. But we can predict that pressures from outside Canada will force the environment back onto the agenda this year.

Climate negotiations loom

The next major round of international climate negotiations will conclude in Copenhagen this December, and with a change of government in the United States and with scientists increasingly anxious about the fate of our life support systems, the expectation is that a meaningful deal will get hammered out.

The U.S. has been indicating that trade sanctions are a possible part of its climate action to "level the playing field" for U.S. companies vis-à-vis their international competitors, so Canada will finally be forced to implement a cap and trade system for major polluters to match action in America.

And guess what? How Canada's cap-and-trade system is rolled out has a major impact on the story that both major parties want to tell about national unity and economic recovery.

On national unity, will Canada design a cap-and-trade system that gives special treatment to Alberta and Saskatchewan to allow them to keep raising emissions, as those provincial governments are asking for to accommodate more tar sands pollution? Or will Canada's system require that all provinces do their fair share to bring emissions down?

On economic recovery, will Canada design a system that complements a necessary major push towards a green economy, or will we let Obama position American companies to out-compete Canadian ones in leading the next wave of industrial development and creation of green jobs?

Green is the new green

At the very least, these are questions that political parties in Ottawa cannot avoid. At best, these are questions that should be embraced considering that Canadians' concern over environmental issues hasn't gone away, and considering that global warming will become an ever more pressing issue to deal with.

Ignatieff could continue to play against type with a story that embraces Canada's fastest growing source of global warming pollution in the tar sands, but at some point he and his party will recognize the contradictions of this story both for national unity and for long term prosperity in the low-carbon economy of the future. Voters will be listening with interest.

Related Tyee stories:


Read more: Politics

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free


The Barometer

Tyee Poll: Have You Relocated During the Pandemic?

Take this week's poll