John Baird better get busy on the environmental file if the Harper Cons are going to be accepted as authentically engaged. The Decima poll reported on in the Toronto Star today shows the Dion Liberals approach is making sense to most Canadians who see the Dion "carrot and stick" approach. Tax incentives and breaks for good environmental behaviours and changes balanced by penalties for bad behaviours.
Canadians get the Dion message that the economy and the environment are intertwined in a complex relationship and they are not mutually exclusive or in a zero-sum game where what is good for one is therefore bad for the other.
If the Cons are to become credible on the environment they are going to have to change a lot of their political culture and quickly. Preston Manning has been strongly advocating this for change in Conservative eco-consciousness for a couple of years now. It has been falling on deaf ears as the Harper Cons have been more interested in running down the old Liberal party than running as a viable and preferred governing alternative.
The intensity of the public’s commitment to the environment as the top policy issue is more dramatic than the fact it is all of a sudden #1. The line is forming very quickly for the hearts and minds of Canadians on this issue and the early trends are not promising for the Harper Cons according to this report.
One poll doesn’t decide anything. But most Canadians have decided the environment is the big issue for them now. They are engaged and watching the political parties on this issue and they will reward or punish politicians at the polls as they see fit. The implications are clear for all politicians be they federal, provincial or municipal they need to be on top of the issues and govern accordingly.
Over to you Mr. Baird...Canada is watching