Saturday, December 2, 2023

Powers: When it comes to climate policies, Conservative leadership contenders need to move beyond criticism

It was disappointing, but not surprising, that the leading candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party came out with the predictable language about tearing up “Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax.”

Both Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole were quick to make this point. Clearly, they are taking the view that in order to win the current leadership you must appeal to those members of the Conservative Party who love that posture. Over time, though, I imagine more evolved positions will emerge, but that won’t happen overnight.

Canadians and would-be potential Conservative voters want to see a change in how the party looks at climate policy. My firm’s research company, Abacus Data, in a recent poll found that 41 per cent of Canadians believe “a serious plan to combat climate change” is a “must-have” for the new Conservative leader. That figure drops to 18 per cent among Conservative voters, and 22 per cent among “likely” Conservative voters. The online poll of 2,137 Canadians was conducted Dec. 13 to 19, 2019.

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