British Columbia Election: Green Issues Challenge the Left vs Right Traditions


NDP Leader Carole James

It's election time in British Columbia. Traditionally the NDP has been the party with the strongest environmental platform, although across the country they have been losing the environmentalist vote in droves. In Ontario we recently declared a Liberal leader the best regional politician in North America, and now in British Columbia, the usually right-wing Liberals have introduced gas taxes and carbon taxes, which the NDP are fighting. It is an election worth watching: Jim Hoggan at Desmogblog says

The outcome could have important implications all over North America and, ultimately, around the world.

Liberal Leader and Premier Gordon Campbell

Jim at Desmogblog continues:

There are, of course, other issues in this election, but for the DeSmogBlog there is only one: the carbon tax. Premier Gordon Campbell took a significant political risk in implementing this, the most progressive climate change legislation in any jurisdiction in North America. And he stuck to his guns, even when the politically expedient thing would have been to organize a timely retreat.

A lot of people are watching. The Federal Liberals lost the last election after proposing strong environmental policies, and what if the BC Liberals lose? Does that show that people won't support carbon taxes anywhere?

There is another issue that Jim raises, that I feel personally, having voted NDP my entire life until the last election.

For the record, this puts us in an interesting and unfamiliar position. As long-time and trenchant critics of the climate change (non-)policies of the Bush Republicans in the U.S. and the Harper Conservatives in Canada, we at the DeSmogBlog frequently have been castigated as somehow "left-wing" — as if caring about the environment we leave to our children is the stuff of communist conspiracy. Since the start of the election, however, the NDP's defenders have started calling us "right-wing" — in one reference, someone even called us "neo-cons."

The old left-right, red-blue splits are re-aligning over green.

More in Desmogblog: Standing on Principle: Explaining the DeSmogBlog's Position on the BC Election
Keith Baldrey: NDP sells environmental soulKeith Baldrey: NDP sells environmental soul

More on Canadian Politics and the Green Effect:
Jack Layton Keeps Driving Voters to the Greens and Liberals
Be Careful What You Wish For in Canada: A Greener Coalition Government May Happen
In Canada, All Politics is Local