Sunday 31 August 2008

Carbon Tax, Part 1

I had the idea to draw this cartoon about two months ago, shortly after Stephan Dion announced that he was hitching his wagon to the carbon tax, but I didn't get around to actually drawing it until now. The point at the time was to show that, while it is very admirable of Dion to commit to something that is very likely to be unpopular because he presumably believes it is the right thing to do, I thought it would sink his hopes of ever being PM. I saw it as being a hail Mary pass -- one last long bomb with the green football to see if he could pull out a miracle victory after letting the opponent run all over him for the first 59 minutes of the game.

That's not really how it's turning out. Dion and the Liberals are hanging right in there in the polls, and the "green shift" is not getting the negative reaction that I'm sure the Conservatives would love to see. Why? I think it's because Harper doesn't know how to fight it. Harper has ripped a page from the Hugh McFadyen campaign playbook by insulting the intelligence of the electorate with talking oil spots, and radio ads featuring a fake call-in show with bad actors. Harper is at his best when he approaches a subject in a cerebral and logical manner. Saying that the tax will "screw everybody across the country" falls far short of that. Unless he can find a way to explain the flaws of the carbon tax to average voters (without using the word "screwed"), or better yet - explain why his program is better, then this election battle will be a tough one for him.

I'll write a post a bit later (if I have time) about the carbon tax itself. À la prochaine ...

update: I may have spoken a little too quickly: Support for the Liberals' Green Shift dropping: poll


Christian Cassidy said...

I agree about Harper. Play to your strengths and his, which both serves him well and hampers him at times, is his persona as a researcher, policy wonk etc.

On the one hand, you have a new policy floated that people might consider but had one of the most horrible policy 'roll-outs' in modern Canadian politics and sat there like that second helping of Christmas dinner.

On the other hand, the rather emotionless, research minded wonk has turned to general brushoffs and cutesie ads to counter it.


Graham said...

Good's in Harper's best interest to explain WHY carbon tax "screws everybody."

I've always thought this conservative government both a) ignores environmental issues and b) underestimates how many people feel strongly enough about it not to dismiss Dion's comments out of hand.

Everytime Steve scoffs at any carbon tax kind of issue and, as you said, insults the intelligence of the opposition/electorate, he is assuming that Canadians on the whole agree with him and think the environmental movement is horse cookies.

He seems intent on running the country as if all environmental issues are nonexistant hogwash....I'm not sure if he realizes how much that may hurt his party come election day.

cherenkov said...

Ya, the Conservative response has been a little odd. Maybe they're out of practice because the Liberal party hasn't really stood it's ground on any issue of significance for so long. Or maybe Harper's team is putting the finishing touches on a compelling anti-carbon tax argument that will be released sometime during the campaign. It's hard to say, but he doesn't seem worried.

Graham, I agree that Harper seems to be a step behind on the environment, and when he does make a move it's a reluctant and modest step forward. More like a shove from behind, actually. With the inaction by the previous government, they had an opportunity to capture this issue like Mulroney did with acid rain, but did not take advantage because, as you say, they may be underestimating the importance with the electorate.

It's kind of funny actually -- who wins the election may depend on if we have a unusually warm fall or a cold fall. Warm: Dion wins. Cold: Harper wins.

Marginalized Action Dinosaur said...

I figured fighting it is easy.

Do you want to pay 4 bucks a litre? Vote Dion then he'll spend the money on sensitivity lessons about groups the left likes and ship whatever's left to China.

He has to fight it or he's doomed. If he doesn't were doomed.....

Anonymous said...

Anyone who believes in the need for a "Green Shift" (tm Pending), is also going to be the type who either already believes, or can be easily convinced, that our energy concerns and environmental concerns are related.

If we replaced 15% of cars on the road with hybrids tomorrow it would have a positive effect on both the environment and gas prices.

That would depend on what the Green Shift is all about though... so I'll be looking forward to your next post.

cherenkov said...

I look forward to having time to write my next post about the Green Shift (lawsuit pending) :-)

(I deleted your double post, arthur. )

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