“Byers Bomb” Part 2: Lorne Mayencourt Strikes Back

September 29, 2008

Sept. 28, 2008

As a follow-up to the previous posts on Michael Byers, I went to another all-candidates debate at UBC’s Robson square campus on Sunday night. The theme was “Taxes and Sustainability,” but of course, debates will be debates…

In the question and answer period, Michael Byers attempted to turn his previous comments to his advantage. Byers “bomb” was front page news in Friday’s Vancouver Sun, in addition to coverage on the National.  Stephane Dion called Byers comments a “foolish declaration.”

So when a question was asked about which party will end subsidies to the oil sands, Mr. Byers turned it into an attack on the Liberals. What ensued was a pretty heated exchange between Hedy Fry and Lorne Mayencourt, who interestingly enough, defended Michael Byers. Mayencourt called Fry’s response “just a lie.”

Below is the bulk of Byers’s statement, followed by Fry’s response and Mayencourt’s response to Fry:

Michael Byers (excerpt):
Stephane Dion was criticizing a report where I said that we needed to move towards closing down the tar sands over time, which is my party’s policy if you look at our details, which are:

First of all, to impose a moratorium on any expansion of the tar sands; Secondly, to remove those tax cuts, those subsidies for the large producers in the tar sands; To put firm caps on the large polluters and drive those emission levels down, and to put that money into the development of alternative energy sources, to make them more competitive; and introduce an environment action bonds program that will help make alternative energy technologies much more competitive, so that we can reach that 80% reduction by 2050, that all of the opposition parties agreed to.
And if you do the math, that means that we’re going to move away from the tar sands.

And Mr. Dion again supported those subsidies and criticized me for suggesting we do away with those subsidies just a couple of days ago.

Hedy Fry:
… Michael did not say he was going to decrease the subsidies and slowly close down the tar sands, he said he was going to shut ‘em down. Immediately all of the 145,000 jobs was going to go. Immediately. I think that was irresponsible and that was what Mr. Dion said….

Lorne Mayencourt:
I just want to be clear I was in that debate as well, and actually, that’s not what Michael Byers said. I didn’t quite agree with his answer, but that is not what he said and he’s being portrayed very….

Hedy Fry: “It’s taped.”
Lorne Mayencourt: Well, that was disingenuous Hedy, it wasn’t….
Hedy Fry: “It was taped Lorne, it’s on tape.”
Lorne Mayencourt: It’s actually not the truth, Hedy. It’s a lie.
Audience Question: “Excuse me…”
Lorne Mayencourt: I actually was sitting there and heard what he said. He did not say he was shutting down the tar sands immediately.
Hedy Fry: “Lorne, it was on tape, so answer your question and stop arguing.”
Audience Questioner: “My question is…”
Lorne Mayencourt: I just don’t want the guy to get slandered. Okay? The reality of it is, is that there’s… the tarsands stuff is very… Okay, we’ve got a big problem over there, and we’ve got to deal with it, and we’re dealing with it, okay? I’m very sorry if you want more of a specific answer, I can’t do that for you ma’am, but what I can tell is that what you is what you just heard from Hedy was just a lie.

Reprint of Vancouver Sun article: http://oilsandstruth.org/quotshut-down-oilsandsquot-ndp-candidate-urges

Liberal Party Press Release: http://www.liberal.ca/story_14953_e.aspx

Story on Byers’s comment and the NDP reaction featured: http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/Federal-Politics/2008/09/26/NDPJuggle/



  1. Talk about scoring cheap political points! It’s hard to believe that Lorne Maynecourt was ever elected as an MLA!

    I’ve heard what Michael Byers said, to Hedy Fry’s defense it was that. Byers needs to learn that being glib isn’t exactly the answer and cheap political points are a fools errand because we’re smarter than that.

  2. There’s always a bit of grandstanding in politics…

    Michael Byers made his “we need to shut the tar sands down” comment last week at the very end of a statement. It was dramatic and wide open for interpretation.

    At the very least, it sounded pretty far off the party line. It also raised the possibility that he meant it in the strongest of terms (ASAP, against what the NDP has said). He later re-framed the statement in a softer light, claiming that he meant it only eventually, after a transition period for the workers, if subsidies to big oil were stopped. He also claimed that it was a logical implication of Jack Layton’s “Climate Change Accountability Act” signed by the NDP, Liberals, and Bloc Quebecois last June.

    Hedy Fry was not alone in saying that Byers was backtracking (at both events). But what Fry said on Sunday, that Byers was going to “immediately” shut ’em down, isn’t the most “generous” interpretation (although Byers had already been pretty generous with himself). It’s a possible interpretation of a bald assertion, but it’s certainly not the only possibility. And it wasn’t exactly hurting Dr. Fry to be interpreting it in that way. That’s what I think Lorne Mayencourt was objecting to. Of course, Mayencourt might have wanted to escape the heat too, so why not spar with Hedy Fry?

    It’s a very interesting race, to say the least, and like I said, there’s always a bit of grandstanding.

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