The ‘Green Shift’ bombed in 2008, but now it’s taking centre stage

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The debate over how to confront climate change will have a starring role in this fall’s election campaign. That’s a major change in the mindset of voters. A decade ago, green promises looked like a political dead end. Stéphane Dion, then Liberal Party leader, campaigned on his Green Shift plan in 2008, pairing carbon taxes with tax cuts. When the ballots were counted that October, and with the global economy in collapse, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives had won a minority and Mr. Dion’s Liberals had been reduced to only 26 per cent of the vote. Four years ago, as the 2015 campaign got under way, the question of climate change was not among Canadians’ top priorities. An Angus Reid poll at the time showed the economy was the dominant issue, followed by health care. Nevertheless, Justin Trudeau and the Liberals won the election while promising carbon pricing, to be delivered in co-operation with the provinces. Talk of carbon taxes didn’t sink him as it had Mr. Dion. As we head into the 2019 election, a new Angus Reid poll conducted in August has found that environment and climate change are together seen as the top issue facing the country. They […]

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