OPEN LETTER: To the Conservative Party of Canada from CCL Wellington

OPEN LETTER: To the Conservative Party of Canada from CCL Wellington

–Posted May 8, 2017–

We are voting members of the Conservative Party of Canada.

In 2017, it is shocking that all but one of our Conservative leadership candidates do not consider climate change and the environment to be important issues for winning the next election – with the lone exception being Michael Chong. We can only conclude that the rest of the candidates either don’t believe in human-caused climate change despite the overwhelming scientific evidence, or don’t think that the issues of climate change and the environment matter to Canadians. Farmers and other rural voters are increasingly concerned with the volatility that comes from a changing climate, so it behoves the Conservative party to seriously address this issue. According to an October 2016 NANOS poll, three-quarters of Canadians are in favour of a national climate plan to ensure we achieve our international carbon emission reduction targets.[1]

All of our leadership candidates, except Mr. Chong, regularly dismiss or even belittle a tax on carbon (pollution!) Yet conservative think tanks such as the EcoFiscal Commission and Canadians for Clean Prosperity believe this is the most efficient way to wean Canada off fossil fuels. Mark Cameron of Clean Prosperity wrote a report entitled “The Conservative Case for a Carbon Tax” in July 2016, and in it he stated, “…most conservatives argue explicitly that any carbon pricing should be revenue neutral – any carbon revenues collected should be used to reduce other, less economically efficient taxes.”[2] A revenue-neutral carbon tax, returned to Canadians in the form of reduced income taxes and/or a rebate cheque, which Mr. Chong espouses, would seem to us to be an ideal conservative policy.

A recent letter from Smart Prosperity, endorsed by over 60 groups, including the Oil and Gas (Suncor, Shell, Syncrude), Mining, Cement, Forestry, Aluminum, Manufacturing, Banking and Insurance sectors, stated: “Putting a price on carbon, to reflect the real environmental costs, is the most cost-effective way to reduce emissions, stimulate innovation and drive energy efficiency. Co-ordinated Canada-wide carbon pricing, rising predictably over time, can do much of the heavy lifting towards meeting our climate targets.”[3]

There are now more jobs in the green energy sector in Canada than in the fossil fuel industry.[4] Our Party needs to foster clean energy, remove fossil fuel subsidies and support a predictably increasing revenue neutral carbon tax. China is planning to invest $360 billion over the next 3 years in renewable energy.[5]  India’s investment thrust will be towards renewables to power their economy.[6] Canada is missing the boat if we don’t do the same

Progressive values and policies are now required if the Party hopes to win the next election. Canadians want governments that are near the centre of the political spectrum, with fiscal responsibility. Our Party recently heard at the Manning Conference what millennials want – they are the very voters who abandoned the party in droves in 2015 – and that is implementing a carbon tax to address climate change, support for minority rights, secure jobs and a stable economy, among other things.[7]

In the USA, the House of Representatives Climate Solutions Caucus now has 24* members: 12 each from the Republican and Democratic Parties.[8] Also in the USA, the Climate Leadership Council, which includes Republicans Henry Paulson, George Shultz and James Baker, released a Carbon Dividends Plan, with all the revenue returned equally to households in quarterly dividends.[9]

Seventy-eight percent of registered voters in the US support taxing global warming pollution, regulating them or doing both, according to a Yale survey conducted after the last election.[10]

Our Party should take note! As Andrew Coyne recently argued in The National Post, “Carbon pricing is the biggest victory for markets in a generation, and conservatives are nowhere to be found.”[11] (except, as noted, Michael Chong!)

In Ontario, the Progressive Conservatives, under leader Patrick Brown, have expressed support for a revenue-neutral carbon tax in the province. Federal Conservatives should get on board – or be left behind.

Thank you for listening.

 

Sincerely,

Ron Moore,

Liz Armstrong,

Gord Cumming,

Sue Braiden,

Geraldine Walsh

 

*UPDATE: The House of Representatives Climate Solutions Caucus has 38 members as of writing this post.[12]

 

CCLwellingtonchong

CCL Wellington residents with the Honourable Michael Chong in November 2014

 

 

[1] http://cleanenergycanada.org/poll-canadians-want-federal-leadership-climate-change/

[2] http://www.cleanprosperity.ca/conservative_carbon_pricing

[3] http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/carbon-price-business-plan-1.3864928

[4] http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/clean-energy-provides-more-jobs-than-oilsands-report-says-1.2857520

[5] http://www.dw.com/en/china-to-invest-360-bln-in-renewable-power-in-2016-2020/a-37031957

[6] http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/interviews/indias-investment-thrust-will-be-towards-renewable-energy-piyush-goyal/articleshow/49532254.cms

[7] http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/millennials-manning-conference-1.3998207

[8] http://citizensclimatelobby.org/climate-solutions-caucus-expands-to-24/

[9] https://www.clcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/TheConservativeCaseforCarbonDividends.pdf

[10]http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/news-events/american-voters-support-action-climate-change/

[11]http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/andrew-coyne-theres-a-conservative-case-for-carbon-pricing-but-not-a-good-one-for-the-alternative

[12]http://citizensclimatelobby.org/climate-solutions-caucus/