All three candidates for the leadership of Ontario's Progressive Conservative Party have declared their opposition to a carbon tax. Andrew Coyne writes:
When the Great Platform Revolt began, I had thought that their position would be just to default to the status quo, i.e. cap and trade, since a) this would not require them to do anything, b) the feds have said they would accept this in lieu of an explicit carbon tax, and c) the revenues the province collects from cap and trade, unlike a carbon tax, are invisible to the consumer. They could then claim to have averted the dread prospect of a carbon tax, while continuing to impose one via cap and trade.
But that's not what they're promising:
No, all pledge to repeal cap-and-trade, thereby guaranteeing the imposition of a federal carbon tax in its place: one that, as the platform boasts, would reduce the province’s carbon dioxide emissions by 10 megatonnes more over four years than what cap and trade would achieve. The sum effect of the candidates’ position, then, is to ensure precisely the thing to which they claim to be opposed.
The candidates know the base of their party. And, these days, it appears that the base of all conservative parties is petrified of the future. Rather than look forward, they prefer to look backward. The end result is that they always develop stupid policy:
As ever, the failure to embrace carbon pricing remains a missed opportunity for Conservatives: not only to prove their bona fides on the environment, but to replace all those existing schemes — and to make deep cuts in taxes in the bargain: to use carbon pricing, not just as a shield, but as a sword.
John Stuart Mill wrote: "Not all conservatives are stupid. But most stupid people are conservative." Nothing has changed since Mill reached that conclusion over one hundred years ago.