Carbon Tax Wins: Cheap Politics Loses in B.C. Election

Tue, 2009-05-12 22:37Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Carbon Tax Wins: Cheap Politics Loses in B.C. Election

The only government in North America to implement a carbon tax to fight climate change has been re-elected handily in British Columbia.

Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell introduced a carbon tax in February 2008 and launched it officially in July, regardless that the introduction date coincided with the highest oil prices in history. The Premier, surprisingly, held his ground, The left-leaning (and traditionally environmentally conscious) New Democratic Party on the other hand opted to attack the tax, characterizing it as an unfair effort to pick the pockets of the poor. She campaigned on a promise to “axe the tax.”

On Tuesday, British Columbians said, loudly, that they couldn’t believe her. The carbon tax stands; Carole James falls.There were, of course, many other issues in the election, probably none larger than the economy. But the carbon tax was important on two counts. First, it affected voters who might traditionally have been expected to vote NDP. Environmental leaders like Dr. David Suzuki (of the influential David Suzuki Foundation) and PowerUp Canada founder Tzeporah Berman stood up for the Liberals’ tax (even if they didn’t quite stand up for the Liberals) and offered harsh criticism of the NDP for its political opportunism in opposing the policy.

And that focuses the second issue. The New Democrats’ choice, to play politics on this important issue, critically undermined public faith in the party’s credibility at a time when faith in politicians is already at an all-time low. The polls showed a fair amount of skepticism of the Liberals and Liberal leader Gordon Campbell has never been a particulary public favorite. But people looked at the alternative - they looked especially at the ease with which the New Democrats trashed a policy that they had previously supported, apparently because they thought there was political room to be gained - and they chose to stick with the devil they knew.

We can only hope now that the New Democrats will recognize their error and close the gap with their erstwhile environmental supporters. We hope they will change their policy and support the carbon tax - in fact, that they will demand the tax be increased quickly to a level at which it is truly effective.

We also hope that other political leaders in other jurisdictions will look at what has happened here in B.C. and start pursuing aggressive, promising climate change policies. A handsome cross section of international economists have said that a carbon tax can work. Now, a group of voters have said that a carbon tax can win political support. That’s a promising step toward a stable climate future.

In his acceptance speech Tuesday night, Premier Campbell mentioned the carbon tax and said that British Columbians had recognized that good climate policy and good economic policy can be mixed effectively. He said: “It can be done, it should be done and it must be done for the children of British Columbia.”

Well, there are children everywhere and it can be done, it should be done and it must be done for them as well. Hurry the day.

Previous Comments

Until someone ponies up evidence that a carbon tax actually works effectively anyone who blindly supports it is no better than a climate change denier.

This is not about the tax ,this is not about the election ..the all thing is about the climate which is going worst and worst.instead of tax we can do something  by our self .When we ll do something then we ll get the solution other wise there is no benefit .

Regards,

You want evidence that when something costs more people will buy less of it? That’s common sense/high school economics.

This election was not about the carbon tax.

Richard Littlemore said: “On Tuesday, British Columbians said, loudly, that they couldn’t believe her. The carbon tax stands; Carole James falls.”

Do you really believe that? Looking at the actual poll results, compared to 2005, one sees that the NDP was the only party to increase their portion of the popular vote. The Greens and Libs, who were supposed to be the beneficiaries of the anti-NDP campaign, both saw decreases in popular vote:

  • BC NDP - 42.06% (41.27% in 2005) = .79% increase
  • BC Liberals - 46.02% (46.03% in 2005) = .01% decrease
  • Greens - 8.01% (9.11% in 2005) = 1.01% decrease

And as far as the carbon tax goes, take a look at Gordon Campbell’s reply to Province columnist Michael Smyth on the carbon tax on May 8:

“When the Campbell government brought in the carbon tax last year, they committed to increasing it each year until 2012. Campbell told me that, if he’s re-elected, the controversial tax will be reviewed at that time and a decision made about its fate.

“There are choices,” he told me. “You could leave it as it is. It could go up.”

“We have to see how it’s being effective, how it’s being perceived, how it’s working,” he told me.
http://communities.canada.com/theprovince/blogs/victoriassecrets/default.aspx

So, who’s playing “cheap politics”, Richard? Mark Jaccard says it needs to go up to at least 24 cents to be effective. Gordon Campbell is musing about freezing it at 7.5 cents.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the carbon tax was devised as a “cheap” political tool by the Campbell Liberals to break up the environmental alliance that has always supported the NDP. Campbell’s hedging on the future of the tax, just 4 days before E-Day, suggests it is little more than a political tool to the Liberals.

The reason the NDP lost the election had more to do with the fact that, despite being warned of an orchestrated backlash from some corporate environmental groups, the campaign poo-bahs had absolutely no strategy to deal with the issue, and the campaign floundered for the first week. If the NDP had an actual strategy around the carbon tax, the outcome of the election could well have been much different.

The environment was the biggest loser last night. The NDP and Liberals both had huge environmental shortcomings, and yet people voted for them in about the same numbers as last election. The Greens lost votes for the 2nd straight election, and BC-STV (the only real chance of seeing a Green MP and more choice for environmentall-minded voters) suffered an embarassing defeat.

I’m upset. We can now look forward to 4 more years of highway expansion and green window dressing from our government.

Don’t just sit there, MAKE A DIFFERENCE! This government has squeaked though on a barely acceptable environmental platform.  Make the step up to the plate.  MAKE them improve and increase the commitment (so-called) that they have made. 

As an observer in Ontario, I see a province that has been the first to implement an admittably milk-toast approach to a carbon tax.  The electorate has not thrown them out, which means that the tax is not a political poison pill.   Grow that.  Pressure them.  Get in there and make them live up to their promises. 

Fern Mackenzie

It’s a sad day for British Columbians when half the electorate chooses not to vote. They dishonour the millions of Canadians who fought and died in so many wars so we could have democracy.

It’s shameful that 23% of voters get to control this province, spending the hard-earned money of other taxpayers like drunken sailors.

Do  the math, folks. $2.5 Billion dollars for Port Mann is absurd.  That would buy a brand new Smart Car  to replace every single automobile that crosses every day, and enough  left over to renovate Port Mann and bring it to Lions Gate specifications, which has been strengthened to 475-year earthquake standards.

Would a sane government spend $1Billion dollars on a Convention Centre when the  convention business had starrted a downturn 8 years ago? They built it to compete for a larger share of a much smaller pie, some 60% of their projections.  

When you walk inside that place, please remember that  if it is near capacity, every one of the 4500 persons there could have owned a brand new $200,000.00 condo clear title for all the money spent on BC’s monument to the Olympics.  Mountain goats would love to graze on the roof. (I hope while you’re reading this I’m reminding you wf the Coombs General Store.)

Now, the Liberals are on a spending spree akin to what  the  NDP did in the 1970’s,  Back then it was thought the Liberals skewed the  vote.  

So what’s next? NDP and Liberals falling into ignonimy? A GREEN legislature?

I love this province.  There’s never a dull moment.

Democracy does not mean voting. It never has meant that. Voting is only part of it. Reducing the concept of democracy to a single mechanical ritual every four years is the real travesty. The people who fought and died did so to defend allied countries who were being threatened or attacked by hostile nations. Democracy was the furthest thing from their minds, trust me. During WW II Native people and Japanese could not vote, so this idea that people fought wars for the right to vote is absurd. I really get tired of these sanctimonious cannards every election when the hand-wringing starts over voter turn-out. Low turn-out does not mean apathy, it is a positive sign that people just might be becoming intelligent enough in seeing through the bullshit of government and authority.

I do, however, agree with all the rest of your post. I appreciate your contribution. And you made me homesick for Coombs on Vancouver Island with your General Store reference.

Don’t you love this one? British MP, Elliot Morley, the Brit. Government’s “Climate Change Envoy” (whatever that means) has been sacked from his position after claiming money from the Tax-payer for a home loan he had already paid off!

Dishonest politician = dishonest “science”

If you don’t believe me, here is the link http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8049096.stm

Carbon taxes do not cost anything if they are revenue neutra.  See this website for a look at a revenue-neutral system:

Cap-and-Trade Alternative Solutions and Carbon Emission Management

Of course, the system does have to provide for those that may not see their other taxes lowered in compensation.  But that is easy to do.  The strategy also provides for that.


[x]
TransCanada

TransCanada has bought some unlikely support for the company’s public relations astroturf offensive aimed at winning support for the Energy East pipeline.

As first reported by Ricochet, Erin Jacobson, the recent director of communications for the NDP, Canada’s official opposition party, will be helping advise...

read more