Scoring the politics of carbon taxes is complicated. Polling tells us the party’s climate policy was a hindrance with swing voters in the past election. Yet there’s also evidence that most Canadians who purport to care about climate change aren’t actually prepared to accept higher costs to address it.
But there’s more than just politics at play here. The Conservative party is still ostensibly committed to Canada’s 2030 emissions reduction targets and needs a credible plan to get there. No leadership candidate is saying anything otherwise.
And, so, what’s the right strategy? The next leader should call the Trudeau government’s bluff: he or she should insist that, if we’re going to have a carbon tax, the government must start to repeal the existing panoply of climate-related regulations, subsidies and other emissions-abatement policies.