Liberals' green ideas will lose Alberta votes: analyst
Published Saturday, April 16, 2011 5:39PM MDT
With two weeks to go until Canadians head to the polls, a local political analyst argues Michael Ignatieff has little chance of gaining traction in oil country. The reason: his proposed cap-and-trade policy.
According to the Liberals' official website, part of the party's environmental platform would seek to establish "a mechanism that sets a ceiling on the total amount of permissible greenhouse gas emissions by large industrial facilities, and then auctions off emission permits to companies who can trade them amongst themselves to remain compliant under the law."
The party says it's a system that already operates in Europe, and claims B.C., Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are taking the helm of negotiations with American States to implement a similar framework by 2015.
Chaldeans Mensah, a political analyst at Grant MacEwan, predicts the policy will translate into lost votes when Albertans head to the polls.
"Ignatieff's Cap and Trade proposal isn't playing well here in Alberta. People are skeptical about how the Liberals view the oilsands," he said.
"I really don't give them a chance of winning any of these seats. People are really onboard the Harper express, wanting to get a majority," said Grant MacEwan's Chaldeans Mensah.
Conservative Laurie Hawn, the incumbent for Edmonton-Centre, is pressing for more information on the specifics of Ignatieff's Cap and Trade plan. He argues the policy would be catastrophic for Alberta's economy.
"To suggest that if we just tax the emitters and that cost won't be passed to consumers, that's just simply unrealistic," said Hawn.
"The Liberals are either hiding the true intent of their cap and trade policy or haven't thought it through. Albertans have a right to know the details of this policy since enacting it could have seriously detrimental consequences for our economy."
On their website, the Liberals suggest their party is looking to pick up the slack left by the Conservatives.
"The Harper government has embarrassed Canada on the international stage by obstructing progress on climate change," it reads in part. "Meanwhile, emissions in Canada are increasing, there is still no plan in place, and Canada's international reputation is in tatters."
Another green idea floated by the Liberals entails putting an immediate end to tax breaks offered to the oilsands industry, with that money redirected toward companies investing in green technology, as well as monitoring and research efforts.
The Grits would also like to implement a new $400 million Green Renovation program, allowing families to apply for up to $13,500 in tax credits when they make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes.
For a better look at the Liberals' environmental platform, click here.
With Files from Sean Amato