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Carbon-tax policy helped us win election, B.C. Liberals say

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by Richard Gilbert

The B.C. Liberals maintained a consistent carbon tax position during the 2009 election campaign, which may have played an important role in their majority victory.

The B.C. Liberals maintained a consistent carbon tax position during the 2009 election campaign, which may have played an important role in their majority victory.

“I think the NDP misread the carbon tax,” said Michael Kennedy, managing senior principal with Stantec.

“Young people in Stantec around the province said they may not ordinarily vote for the Liberals, but they saw this as a real leadership issue.”

Premier Gordon Campbell said in his victory speech that election results show that he has a mandate to continue with the government’s climate-change policies and the carbon tax.

“The carbon tax was a big issue in the election, but it may have been bigger than it should have been,” said Jack Davidson, president of the BC Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association. “The carbon tax is an opportunity for everybody to do their share, not just big companies and guys with big trucks. I think it is effective in keeping carbon emissions at the top of everybody’s mind in B.C.”

NDP leader Carole James used polls, like the one undertaken by Robbins Research, to formulate a position that opposes the carbon tax.

The poll concluded that 37.5 per cent of the people surveyed supported the carbon tax, while 50.5 didn’t support it and 12.5 per cent were undecided.

“Only 35 per cent of Vancouver residents in this poll support the B.C. Liberal carbon tax,” said researcher Glen Robbins.

“On Vancouver Island, the support for the carbon tax (40.5 per cent) exceeds the total the B.C. Liberals obtained in the last general provincial election. The B.C. Liberal carbon tax policy is a disaster in the north, east, and Interior of the province with only (28 per cent) support.”

According to Robbins the opposition NDP should have had a winner with their rejection of the carbon tax, as a clear majority of British Columbians are against it.

However, that wasn’t the case.

The poll was based on a random sampling of 450 British Columbians throughout all regions and was conducted between April 25-29. The margin of error plus or minus was four per cent, 19 times out of 20.

The NDP position led traditional supporters and environmental advocates such as David Suzuki to publicly criticize the NDP position and endorse the Liberals.

The carbon tax, announced in the government’s budget last February, applies to all fossil fuels used for cars and boats and on heating fuels such as gas, coal and propane.

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