Going green is going too far.
The Liberal government in Canada’s province of Ontario has been in power for a long time, and is due for an election this June. The government is deeply unpopular outside of the big cities primarily because a) the Premier is a gay woman and b) green energy policies. I wrote about the last Premier stepping down:
It is the coal that killed him; In the last election he lost a huge number of seats in rural ridings divided by wind turbines on land and offshore. To save an important seat in Oakville, Ontario, he cancelled a natural gas peaker plant that was already ordered; This is growing in to a half a billion dollar scandal. Dalton was done in by his green energy policies and the NIMBY reaction to them. It is a cautionary tale.
The opposition Conservative party should have won the last two elections after all these scandals, but they kept choosing seriously right-wing leaders who scared urban and suburban voters (the majority in the Province now) away.
Enter Patrick Brown, who became party leader in May, 2015. He tacked hard to the left as what used to be known as a “Red Tory”- unlike the USA, in Canada red means liberal and left, blue means conservative and right. His “People’s Guarantee” probably would be too left wing for American Democrats. It also had a carbon tax that seemed quite sensible; according to Tony Keller in the conservative Globe and Mail,
A revenue-neutral carbon tax is also beloved by economists, since it involves raising taxes on something our society wants less of – pollution – and using the money to lower taxes on the productive economic activities we want more of, such as paid work.
Then Patrick Brown got caught up in a #metoo scandal and was dumped as leader about three hours later, and there is now a last-minute leadership campaign to replace him. And the biggest question right now is who can run furthest and fastest from the carbon tax.
The candidate to come out against it was Doug Ford, yes, the late Rob Ford’s brother. He is picking up the hard right wing torch and will burn the province down, like he almost did to the city. He is quoted in the Star:
I am the only candidate who has been unequivocal in opposition to the carbon tax and … have been clear since day one. I will axe the carbon tax. Just watch me.
Christine Elliot is the experienced hand in the race, and is listening to the Vox populi:
I personally oppose a carbon tax, and I know many of you feel the same way. This leadership race is a way for you to have your say.
Not to be left out of the party, Caroline Mulroney, daughter of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney who was a really red Tory, even signing a free trade deal with Ronald Reagan, has flipped over.
As the leader of our party I will not support a carbon tax. I’m a conservative and I’m not in favour of a new tax, especially Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax,” she said, adding she has “now had the opportunity to speak with hundreds of members of our party” and “consulted with members of our caucus and our nominated candidates.”
Patrick Brown told one interviewer that “we have to take climate change seriously. We can’t avoid conversations on the environment.” But apparently it is back to business as usual; if you are a Progressive Conservative, you can.