Carbon Tax: (Unlikely) allies throw BC NDP a lifeline

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The BC NDP have been offered two elegant lines of retreat from a damaging and divisive election policy condemning BC’s continent-leading climate change carbon tax.

First, Metro Vancouver mayors have let it be known that they would like the revenue from the carbon tax to pay for regional transit. That’s a perfect solution for the NDP. Rather than maintaining their opposition to the tax – and continuing to sow outrage among erstwhile environmental supporters –NDP leader Carole James could acknowledge the merit of the mayors’ request and agree to leave the tax in place, redirecting its proceeds to transit options.

The second potential lifeline came in a column from Victoria Times-Colonist editorial page editor Dave Obee, who pointed out the elemental weakness of the NDP’s position and advised: “The best bet for the NDP would be to quietly drop the talk about the carbon tax and suggest other ways to curb emissions.”

Picking up on either one of these options would help restore James’ credibility among former environmental supporters and would show her as a reasonable, adaptable leader – and the mayors’ policy proposal, especially, seemed calculated to give James a way out of her current trouble.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, inset, is a former NDP Member of the Legislative Assembly. He voted against the tax while still in the Legislature, but he has incurred the wrath of his (ex?) party by speaking up in favour of it on at least one occasion since.  Rather than continuing to bash Robertson and others like him – rather than paint themselves deeper into a corner on an issue that likely won’t win right-wing votes, but will almost certainly lose votes on the environmental “left” –  James could just do the right thing and swing her support (however begrudgingly) behind the tax.Then everybody (with the potential exception of her Liberal opponent Gordon Campbell) would be happy.

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