BC NDP Leader Accepts BC Carbon Tax (Bravo! Carole James)

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After election defeat, a conscientious shift

In a surprising and impressive political about-face, BC New Democratic Party leader Carole James withdrew her party’s opposition to the BC carbon tax today – committing to improving the tax, rather than trying to undermine it.

James lost a close provincial election only last month, at least in part because an influential group of environmentalists condemned her party’s position on the carbon tax and campaigned against her.

Given the bitterness that surrounded that debate, you might have expected James and the NDP to dig in even further on the issue, continuing to campaign against the tax. Instead, the leader appears to have accepted the public judgment AND the tax, telling the Vancouver Sun  that BC Liberal leader “Gordon Campbell’s tax is in place. We now need to make sure it’s fair and that it’s effective.” In announcing her new shadow cabinet, James also appointed the bright, likable and decidedly green Victoria-Hillside Member of the Legislative Assembly, Rob Fleming, as Environment Critic, a further signal that she is committed to reasserting the NDP’s environmental reputation.

Many of us on the DeSmogBlog – and many others, as well – criticized James harshly for the carbon tax position before and during the campaign. Believing as we do that a carbon tax is an essential , effective and inexpensive instrument in the fight against climate change, James’ opposition to the tax was, in political terms, a firing offense.

But however ill-advised her earlier position, she has redeemed herself in one, sure gesture. It would be inspiring, now, if Premier Gordon Campbell welcomed her change of heart with equal grace and set upon the path of assuring British Columbia’s position as the greenest jurisdiction in North America where climate change is concerned.

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