British Columbia Premier Says NDP Plan to 'Axe the Tax' is Playing Politics June 17, 2008 By Charles Komanoff British Columbia Premier Says NDP Plan to ‘Axe the Tax’ is Playing Politics (CBCNews.ca)
David Lewis says
Canadian politics is generally somewhat to the "left" of U.S. politics. The two main political parties in B.C. can be likened to a Republican Lite party that is the government called the Liberals, paradoxically enough, and a somewhat to the left of the Democratic Party opposition called the NDP, or New Democratic Party. So we have the Canadian equivalent of George Bush, or maybe it is more appropriate to say Canada’s Ah-nold, enacting a carbon tax finding himself opposed by Barack Obama with his party united behind him. I find this personally dismaying. However, the Canadian system concentrates almost all power into the hands of the leader of the government as long as he or she has a majority of votes in the only body that counts i.e. the Legislative Assembly. This government has a majority and hence the NDP opposition will not sink the tax. It will take effect soon. This I see as an astonishing development, i.e. NDP opposition to a carbon tax, and it is something for US analysts to think about, as most seem to believe that the rhetoric emanating from Obama and the Democratic Party indicates that something serious WILL be done starting as soon as Bush can be thrown out of office. The rhetoric was in some cases very similar here. Oh the NDP was ready to go to WORK taking this issue on, they were very suspicious as the Liberals announced last year THEY were actually going to do something, why this was the biggest issue of our time, taking it on would change everything, it would take all sides in politics working together to make working policy etc. et, say whatever and do nothing when the time comes, cetera. If anyone in the U.S. reading this has any clout at all with anyone in the NDP either in BC or in Canada let them know what you think of this provincial NDP opposition to any action at all on global warming. The NDP is saying they support just about any action at all, as long as it isn’t the particular action being taken now, because the action being taken now is not action at all. The Liberal policy is useless because it doesn’t go far enough, and it has to be opposed because it goes way too far. That’s the actual line. They talk like clowns who haven’t bothered to get up to speed on what the rest of the world is debating. They have no idea how serious global warming is or they could care less, and they remain unshaken in their belief that THEY are the "progressives", and that the people who make up this government are Neanderthals who must be opposed and defeated at all costs, no matter what those costs are, say their last shreds of integrity, whatever future might still be salvaged for their immediate descendants, their prospects for ever forming a government again if the electoral system changes, whatever. I’m saying in B.C. that given Hansen’s recent statements where he says he expects to be testifying at the trials of the CEOs of major fossil fuel processing and marketing corporations on crimes against humanity charges because of the conscious disinformation campaign they have conducted over the last twenty years, the NDP risks being seen to be associated with and serving the interests of people Hansen says history will judge as criminals as they sow confusion around this issue. One senior former Cabinet Minister of the NDP just said "it doesn’t feel like a carbon tax to me" to explain his opposition, yet the tax is just about exactly what Hansen is calling for himself. The NDP is looking at the groundswell of voters especially in northern rural areas who are opposed to any further gas price increases other than market driven ones as gas here is already topping $5.50 per U.S gallon equivalent. It even took them some time to come up with the "axe the tax" line. They are just riding the wave. This NDP opposition on a crucial environmental policy comes even as the province is poised to maybe adopt a proportional representation electoral system that given the vote patterns displayed in the last two elections will allow the Green Party to elect its first members to a provincial Legislature ever in Canada, and these members will wield the balance of power because neither the Liberals or the NDP can get a majority of the vote. It shows you how much risk a party out of power that senses there are some votes to be had on an issue will take. Maybe everyone will forget that the NDP were the last political force in BC to urge everyone to keep their heads in the sand on this one. Politics is so weird here though that a referendum to implement this new system that would seem to benefit the Greens the most was defeated by a tiny margin by the Green Party leader herself who campaigned against the system because she couldn’t understand what it was. It wasn’t that she influenced so many votes, but the tiny percentage she did influence decided the issue. The vote was so close (58.5% or so in favour, 60% required for a change) that the Liberal government is allowing it to happen again. This time though the Greens have changed leaders, they’ve thought it over and they are now supporting a leader who is campaigning FOR the change. Can the NDP believe they’ll be able to make a deal with the Greens when the time comes if they keep up this line on global warming? Proportional Representation might have reached its best before date here though. The NDP must certainly believe so. Memories of inequities the current system has produced in the past are fading, the economy is chugging along and the Liberals are having a big party, the Winter Olympics, that is boosting Vancouver’s economy. House prices are not in decline, the Canadian stock market is UP, the Canadian dollar is UP, and Western Canada seems set to continue on the biggest resource driven boom we’ve ever seen, what with the province next door ramping up oil production on a deposit of tar sand that has enough oil that it ranks in global significance as equal to Saudi Arabia that can be produced for $25 a barrel. So this B.C. thing, the carbon tax, is good, but its not much. Canada has repudiated the Kyoto agreement. As I understand it, this BC carbon tax in some ways leads in North America, and it is tragic to think that. We have very far to go, and maybe no time left. What’s the latest? CO2 is increasing three times as fast because some fundamental planetary absorption process has diminished in addition to a vast increase in emissions as India and China develop faster than any modeller thought possible? The North Pole will be ice free in summer in five years? Some people think what a plus, we can drill in more areas for more oil. That fact alone ought to convince anyone how hopeless this all is. Hansen says we’ve got one or two years to be on a completely different path, headed toward zero emissions wherever we can because there is already too much GHG in the atmosphere as of now? Well, he’s always been a bit outspoken. Maybe he’s wrong. Maybe there’s three years left.