In past two days, two conservative leaders have done things that will anger base but not appease critics so below is my thoughts on both of those. I have mixed feelings on O’Toole’s climate plan while support Ontario’s lockdown but believe it should have been done much sooner.
O’Toole has at least developed a real climate plan so takes away criticism from Liberals, party is one of climate change deniers, although base largely still is as per vote at convention. I support limiting carbon tax to $50/ton not $170/ton which is way too high and will make life too expensive for many. However I think climate credits is excessively bureaucratic and if anything is big government type of stuff I thought Tories opposed. I think better solution is to do one of two things:
- Keep Liberal carbon tax, but promise to stop at $50/ton and argue Tories have a balanced approach that deals with climate change, but also doesn’t go to extreme it wrecks economy while Liberals’ is too one sided
- Implement a $50/ton national one and use all the revenue to balance budget in 5 instead of 10 years and then after that, use revenue to raise basic minimum for taxes to poverty line so no one living below poverty has to pay federal income taxes, while whatever is left over will be used to drop all the other brackets thus lowering taxes for all but helping those at bottom the most. For provinces that have own carbon taxes, allow people to deduct an appropriate amount from their federal taxes based on average cost.
Both of these I believe would achieve what O’Toole is trying to without all the bureaucracy. As for impacts; I think party was trapped in that had to do something to move beyond appealing to just base. Problem is base feels so passionate on this there is a real risk of a split. So O’Toole had to take a gamble in that stick with status quo and stay at 30% or make changes and possible to do better, but also risk another split on right. Liberals have been amazingly lucky as they have Tories boxed in where its either anger base or anger swing voters thus ensuring they lose whichever path they take.
In Ontario, Ford has implemented a really strict lockdown. I believe the measures are entirely justifiable and my only caveat is why haven’t all non-essential workplaces been closed and also why not implement sick leave for at least duration of pandemic. Also had these measures been done last November, we could probably be back to where province was last Summer thus re-open with under 100 cases a day and with aggressive contract tracing easy to control outbreaks. Many on right complaining this is a loss of freedom, but reality is virus doesn’t care about freedom. Freedom is the worse enemy here and we have to accept that if we are going to defeat virus, it means we are going to have to accept less freedom for a short term. Thing is if this had been handled properly, we could be largely back to normal now. I am no fan of less freedom, but I hate death even more and when its a choice between saving lives and freedom, I will always chose former. Thankfully rarely do the two come into conflict, but when they do I believe saving lives is most important. Loss of freedom is short term, loss of life is permanent.