25 June 2008

NDP Axe the Tax Campaign angers Environmentalists

The Times-Colonist reports a Nobel Prize-winning scientist and respected environmentalists of slamming NDP Leader Carole James for trying to mislead British Columbians with her Axe the Tax campaign.
University of Victoria climatologist Andrew Weaver ripped the NDP in an interview for releasing "inaccurate" information about the tax....

"I find the behaviour of the opposition in this reprehensible," said Weaver, one of the scientists on a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who shared a Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. vice-president Al Gore last year.

Weaver said experts worldwide agree that only way to fight climate change is to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions.

"A carbon tax is the most efficient way of doing it," he said. "The government in British Columbia recognized that, they showed leadership ... then the opposition realized that they don't want to be the opposition, so they try to score cheap political points. I say shame on them."

James launched her Axe the Gas Tax campaign last week, saying the levy unfairly targets ordinary British Columbians, and won't help in the battle against climate change.... The government has vowed that every dollar raised will be returned to taxpayers in the form of tax cuts.

The NDP claims the tax lets big polluters off the hook because some industrial emissions will not be covered.

But Weaver and the NDP's long-time allies in the environmental movement said yesterday that James is simply wrong on that and other key points.

"It's just a bit discouraging to see the misinformation, such as referring to it as a 'gas tax,' when in actual fact, it is a carbon tax," said Ian Bruce of the David Suzuki Foundation... "Secondly, because business and industry burn more fossil fuels in the province, they will be paying more of the carbon tax."

...Environmental groups also noted that government has committed to creating a cap and trade system that will put a price on emissions not covered by the carbon tax....

[James] argues that the government should have started with the cap and trade system [and that] the public is overwhelmingly supportive of the NDP's campaign...

Not in my neighbourhood, Ms. James! And no one else I've spoken with in BC sides with the NDP on this issue either.

To be fair, I did venture over to the NDP website and download their Framework for Real Climate Change literature. But it was quickly clear that the provincial and federal parties either share the same strategists or they all cut their teeth on the same sour lemons.

Typical of all NDP literature I've seen since 2004, including their election campaign platforms, it isn't until more than halfway through that one begins discovering what the NDP proposes instead of the Liberal plan - and the writing is heavy on rhetoric, sparse on specifics. The pages previous to that point are used to slam the Liberals and their plan, and to mislead the public about its details (and I say this as NO fan of Gordon Campbell).

It's not that the NDP's own plan is bad. It's that their opportunistic opposition is aimed at hurting a strategy which starts BC on the road to addressing climate change.

Is there room for improvement? Of course there is!

Which is why the NDP should be working with the Liberals on this crucial issue, not against them.

Recommend this post