Canadian Election 2008…shifting sides

As promised, here goes my views on the Environmental policy for Conservatives vs. Liberals.

Aside from my belief that the Conservatives are dumb for calling this election, as someone that cares a lot about business and the environment, they’re doing a pretty weak (and internationally embarrassing) job at keeping Canada on the sustainability track.

They’ve dropped Kyoto from the radar (along with serious discussions about climate change) and they’ve essentially made Canadians look like the “bad guys” on the international environmental scene (Our Env. Minister going missing at the UN Climate Change conference in Indonesia is a case in point). The party’s strive for “realistic and achievable” goals is laughable when Canada is ranked 28th our of the 29 OECD countries (thanks to the USA for not being dead last…)

Canada's ranking vs the OECD countries

Canada

Okay, poor quality – sorry, but take a look at those numbers and read the full report if you want (it’s a humbling experience…) We like to think that Canadians are pretty good towards the environment but we’re most definitely not.

Granted, this is not solely due to the Conservatives. Of course the Liberals (and every politician and even citizen) is to blame for our current state. But, my point is – we’re falling behind the world and Harper (our current PM) is not a leader in this regard, period.

Judging by their website, which btw, shows me what they have done (excluding points of course of what they haven’t done), but not what they will do… In any event, I don’t see them taking on any huge challenge in their policy- it’s more about keeping the status quo, which is just not good enough.

So, yes, I helped them get their first minority government (we needed a change), and I’m most definitely not giving them my support this time round.

I used to hate the Liberals. (Getting a better of idea of the political pessimist side of me yet? hehe) But, I think that they’re on to something…  Waiting for the comment bashing – your thoughts are welcome:)

Why? The Green Shift. Call it what you may, but Dion’s plan is a PLAN – one that entails a huge change in the way that we think and act – and one that is 100% needed.

It’s not just a “green-wash”, “tax-everything” grab. The plan is, fundamentally, about economics. If you learned anything from Freakonomics – economics is all about how people respond to incentives. And, although Harper thinks it’s crazy, it’s quite simple.

BAD HABITS (pollution, waste etc.) =  TAXES

GOOD HABITS (conservation, savings) = REWARDS

Dion is not coming out of left field here. This is exactly what business and environment leaders (researchers as well as successful practitioners) have been calling us to do for a long time. I remember reading a CSR book written by the major CEOs (i.e. Shell & Dupont) and the subject of eco-taxes was a recurrent theme.

Eco-taxes are nothing new either. If you want to know who is on the top of those lists pointed above, they’re the countries who have these taxes in place! (Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland…) THESE TAXES CAN WORK.

Now, of course, turning our fiscal system on its head won’t be easy and it’ll have its ups and downs. But it is needed and frankly, about time that someone with a real idea stepped up. Is it flawed? Of course! What plan isn’t? So, although the Conservatives bash the plan, they’re one to talk since they have no real plan behind them!

Realistically, it won’t be implemented anyways as the Liberals will never get the Majority to put this into place. But, they may just get my vote for keeping the idea on the table, working out the kinks and implementing (hopefully) later.

To get your head around the Liberal “Green Shift” plan, take a look at some of the videos on it and read up on it to judge for yourself.

So will I vote Liberal? I don’t know yet.  I’m leaving out two very important parties. NDP & the Green Party. My view on their environment issues in another post.

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5 thoughts on “Canadian Election 2008…shifting sides

  1. katia says:

    Moikka Jane! good post and gives me thoughtstimulating insights as I tended to think about Canada as a “green” country. Especially I like the idea of individual voting behavior (like consumer behavior in business) and wish people truly take into account environmental policies parties suggest while making political decision. While politologists debate on the issue of correct voting (the extend to which people vote in accordance with their voting) as well as distinguish between national and European level elections, environmental issues do matter (Achterberg has found that importance of environmental issues increased significantly except Canada and U.S.!!!!) and hopefully other aspects won’t overweight while voting in Canada and U.S. (oh, cannot believe Aliaska land will be exploited!).

    btw, Canada is listed 12 in EPI developed by Yale-Columbia team (Newsweek’s special report on green issues is good indeed:))

  2. Good breakdown. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on how a party as specifically focused on the environment as the Green Party is, would deal with non-environmental issues.

  3. janeporter says:

    Thanks for the comments. Yep, Canada isn’t as “green” as we like to think, sadly.

    In terms of taking the environment into consideration – it’s all up to what the voter deems most important – which is , like you say, an individual choice. The environment is something i care deeply about, so i’ll scrutinize each party’s environmental platform in detail..

    but, as Jonathan pointed out… it’ll be interesting to see what i come up with in terms of the other party’s non-env (i.e. my knowing little about) issues;)

    time’s a ticking though and i’m getting busier and busier to write…

  4. Jay Godse says:

    I think that Dion’s ideas have merit, but they won’t sell in Canada.

    Overall, his green tax shift will grab money from rural people, the oil industry, small town folks, and well-to-do suburbanites and transfer the money into the hearts of Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Edmonton, and a few other metropolitan centres.
    Doesn’t stand a chance.

  5. […] other countries – I think it’s important to benchmark and see where other nations are – i.e. previous post on how we’re practically last on the list when it comes to the […]

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