Reading BCer in TO today gives you some idea of how-hard-done-by Liberals feel about columnist Chantal Hebert.
For their part, New Democrats have reason to be disappointed with her column today in which she scolds the party for giving a voice to people who care about the environment but want a better plan than Dion’s clumsy carbon tax.
With the greatest of respect, Hebert’s argument has fallen head-long into the Liberal talking points which, to paraphrase, say “if you don’t want what we want, you are spooning with Harper and more than likely hate puppies.”
Does it not matter that the carbon tax won’t work? Is it not legitimate discourse to say “our plan is better than yours” and provide evidence as to why?
Imagine for a moment that instead of a carbon tax, Dion’s answer to climate change was to build a time machine so that he could go back to 1993 and convince the Chretien cabinet to reduce carbon emissions like they had promised in that year’s election.
Sure it’s a plan, and sure it’s different from what Stephen Harper will do. But if a New Democrat stood up and said “It’s expensive, incredibly risky and likely won’t work to meet the tough targets laid out in C-377, Layton’s Climate Change Accountability Act” does it then follow that this person is against the environment and playing politics? Of course not. Get real.
It’s the exact same with the carbon tax. For years the debate in Canada has been about how much to reduce carbon emissions and when – does it not matter at all that the Liberal carbon tax has nothing to say on this whatsoever? Of course it does. It’s critical.
Only two years ago, Stephane Dion was the leading critic of carbon taxes. He said, quite rightly, that they couldn’t be proven to work given 90 cent a litre gas at the time and would be an irrelevant “nuisance” to big polluters who would keep polluting through boom times. His points are even more correct with 150 cent gas today. Yet who accused him of playing politics or helping Harper? No one.
Canadians who care about the environment but want a better plan than an imprecise carbon tax to “stick” Canadians into getting new light bulbs while the big polluters continue business as usual – people like like former Liberal leader Bill Graham and Liberal environmentalist Désirée McGraw - deserve to have the NDP advocating on their behalf.
The clearest distinctions are not between the main two parties, but between Layton and the others. The NDP leader is the only one of the three who actually has a long track record of implementing green solutions – wind power, deep water cooling of buildings, as well as having secured $900 million for transit from Paul Martin while Stephane Dion sat as environment minister.
As he is on so many other issues, Jack Layton is a recognized leader on the environment and real leadership is what we need right now.