Look, I get it. Andrew Wilkinson’s BC Liberals are the opposition and they’ve got a job to do in trying to throw in enough shade towards the government so that they can portray themselves as the champion of the little guy and the NDP is the aloof elitists governing from their ivory tower; disconnected from reality.
To do that however, the BC Liberals will have to campaign against themselves and against their own policies.
To that end, I draw your attention to the attempt to swoon Andrew Weaver’s Green Party into a BC Liberal led coalition with promises made in their 2017 Speech from the Throne that pledged (among other things), a $50/tonne carbon tax (just as the NDP had promised).
Next up would be the false attribution of *all* fuel taxes to the NDP. This is false and the BC Liberals know it. There are taxes on fuel, and on average, they’re higher than other regions in Canada; but we’re not the only place that has taxes on fuel. But to listen to the BC Liberals, its 100% the NDP’s fault and they’re supposed to arbitrarily lower these taxes, regardless of what funding impacts this makes to various local governments and transit authorities.
We lost five of seven refineries in BC over the decades. The BC Liberals would blame the NDP for this; despite this trend taking place over a generation (or two). It didn’t happen overnight, and the reasons inconveniently undercut a BC Liberal narrative.
Consider what car you drove 30 years ago. Imagine its fuel economy then, now imagine paying the fuel costs in today’s market. Aren’t you glad this shift to higher efficiency cars and trucks has taken place? I know I am. And for the first time in my life, I am considering an electric or hybrid vehicle to make my transport dollar go even further.
A generation ago, in our 1980’s fuel crisis, powerful thinkers in all parties saw the vulnerability we had in gas guzzling vehicles. So they went down a path of regulating higher efficiency cars, smaller engine blocks and pollution controls. It all helped. Industry responded by building cars and trucks to meet the standards, but it had an interesting side effect. It caused us to buy less fuel, drive further on what we had, plan better, and change our way of thinking.
We’re in another energy crisis of sorts, and to listen to some grotesquely opportunistic politicians, there is someone to blame here (the folks in power of course). But the last energy crisis forced innovation and change and there’s no reason to think that it can’t happen again.
The price of gas isn’t at record levels because of a penny increase to the carbon tax, its because there’s a serious supply issue on the west coast and the free market is doing exactly what it does. Andrew Wilkinson and his merry band of negative nellies would have the NDP cut taxes that had zero to do with the rapidly increasing gas price, but would profoundly impact the province’s ability to deliver on transportation needs. But that doesn’t matter when your a crass opportunist.
What matters is that Andrew Wilkinson and his BC Liberals are now standing in opposition to the philosophy they had when they first introduced the carbon tax (the first in North America I might add); where attaching a price to carbon was supposed to change behavior/habits. As a partisan myself, even I give credit where its due, the carbon tax has worked. While the spike in gas prices isn’t necessarily related to taxes but it may as well be, and now is as good a time as any to rethink how we drive and how often. It may not cut the price of fuel, but maybe it will lower our demand a bit.
So, here we are. BC Liberals attacking a policy they once championed. They may think this is good politics (and in the short term it is), but there’s more than a few of us ready to staple this one to their foreheads in the coming weeks and months ahead; and most certainly in the next campaign.