Who were the big winners in BC in yesterday’s election? The Conservatives. The big losers? The Liberals. Though they downplayed their hallmark Green Shift during their British Columbia campaign swings in the post–financial meltdown phase of the election, the Liberals still ended up taking it on the chin for Gordon Campbell’s carbon tax. The Greens, though they increased their percentage of the vote, didn’t win a single seat. Combine their vote with the Liberals’, and you don’t equal those who voted for even the NDP, let alone the Conservatives.
This isn’t a defeat for the environment. It’s a defeat for the mainstream environmental movement. The two are not the same. Greens managed to convince the leader of a major national political party to adopt their prescription for saving the planet. He made that prescription the central plank in his party platform. The Liberal seat count and share of the electoral vote dropped.
Will mainstream greens retool their dumb anti-American take on every issue? Probably not. It’s tempting to say who cares, this election proves they’re irrelevant. But the environment is not irrelevant. Those who feel it is their special policy preserve could, conceivably, retool and re-emerge with a winning strategy. Some people do learn hard lessons.
For this reason, the Conservatives, and NDP, should have a hard look at last night’s results. They have dodged a bullet. The question is, can they collectively develop meaningful—and electorally resonant—environmental policy before the Liberals and their Green allies do?
I think the answer is “no”. Political parties cannot develop meaningful and electorally resonant policies about the environment. A meaningful policy has to be based on nuclear power. The voting public fears and hates nuclear power, and will vote against it. Telling the people that nuclear power is good for them will get you nowhere. Canadians will only change when they see the USA change from coal to uranium/thorium energy. This will not happen in my life time. If it does happen within the next one hundred years then our science based life style might persist for another thousand years. If not, we descend into a black age of poverty, shortened life spans, and ignorance. Of course, I hope the science side wins, so I keep telling people about nuclear power, and tilting at windmills. Ouch! Those blades really pack a whollop!
Randal, you’re bang on about nuclear having to be the basis of meaningful environmental policy. I hope you are not right that Canada has to see the U.S. do it first. Federal commitment in the U.S. was strong under Bush, but Bush soon won’t be president. The big nuclear utilities, like Exelon, are not feeling much federal love these days (even with the loan guarantees for new build). How much love will there be for nuclear under a Democratic administration and Democratic Congress—a highly possible scenario?
Canada has to take the lead in Canada. Harper may well still be PM in 2010, when the newly refurbished Bruce units enter service in Ontario and drop Ontario power emissions below the original Kyoto target. Somebody has to convince him and his House allies that this is worth supporting.
[…] proposals were inspired by Jaccard and supported by Suzuki and Greenpeace—were trounced (see article). Combined, their British Columbia vote was less than that of the New Democrat Party. The Greens, […]