Last weekend, Clean Prosperity attended both the federal Conservative, and federal Liberal Policy Conventions in Vancouver and Winnipeg, respectively. In Vancouver, Mark, Kaitlin and I talked to conservatives of all stripes about the importance of developing a strong, conservative climate action policy. Many agreed that environmental preservation is a historically conservative issue, that has been championed by a number notable conservative politicians and thought leaders, Brian Mulroney & Margaret Thatcher, to name two.
Some of those we talked to remained skeptical about initiatives like carbon pricing, which they are fairly concerned would have distortionary effect on the economy. However, many conservatives, including Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown, and MP and CPC leadership hopeful Michael Chong are supportive of a revenue neutral carbon price, similar to the system employed in BC, which is considered a leading model of carbon pricing systems around the world. Under the BC model, carbon pricing revenues are used to lower personal income taxes and taxes for businesses within the province, at no detriment to the economy.
On Friday night, we hosted an event with former Cabinet Minister and Senior Advisor at Pacific Future Energy, Stockwell Day, Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown, and surprise guest speaker Ed Fast, the Environment and Climate Change critic for the Federal Conservative Party.
The sold out event was attended by numerous noteworthy conservatives, including MPs David Anderson, Bob Sopuck, and former MP Ed Harper, former Cabinet Minister Chuck Strahl, and conservative Pollster Greg Lyle. You can read a recap of the event here, or watch footage of the event here.
Some quotes from our speakers:
“What I do appreciate about a carbon tax, the way [Clean Prosperity] talks about it, is that it’s going to be revenue-neutral. It’s got to be like the way BC does it, BC puts that money back into tax reductions, it’s not used as a cash cow.” – Stockwell Day
“We have to make sure our discussions are based on consensus within the scientific community, while at the same time understanding that if you get this wrong, you’re going to blow billions if not trillions of dollars over time. I’m so pleased that I see this discussion happening across the country within our conservative family, in Ontario…In Manitoba… In Alberta, we have Wildrose Leader Brian Jean talking about what it would be like to use carbon pricing, a market driven mechanism, to address these challenges in a way that respects the taxpayers, protects the environment, and continues to promote a robust economy.” – Ed Fast
“What I want us to do is to say, “we have our own solution. We do want to have a clean, protected environment, but we’re going to come up with a better, more pragmatic, more reasonable approach… so how about this, in BC they said, “every single cent is going to tax relief.” That’s a conservative approach… to give it back to businesses, to individuals and families.” – Patrick Brown
Meanwhile, the Liberal Party of Canada also gathered in a celebratory atmosphere in Winnipeg. Our VP Operations Tom Chervinsky attended a panel session entitled “A Cleaner Future: How growing Canada’s economy and climate change action go hand in hand.”
During the Q&A Minister McKenna reaffirmed her position that the environment and economy need to work together and that environmental action is requires economic prosperity to win support – saying that she considers her role both an economic and environmental assignment. She also agreed that a carbon price needs to be consistent across provinces, and sufficient to reach our 2030 emissions targets.