Tuesday, June 24, 2008
People don't vote for pain
Something occurred to me while I was reading some comments about Dion's carbon tax plan. That is, however necessary some people believe the carbon tax to be — and there are doubts about its effectiveness — it's quite another challenge to get voters to sign off on it, especially during an election campaign.
If you notice what the BC Liberals did in that province, they introduced their carbon "shift" AFTER winning an election.
Dalton McGuinty raised taxes AFTER winning an election.
Jean Chretien kept the GST AFTER winning an election.
You get the idea.
UPDATE (6:11 pm): Oh, and some people — including Dion, apparently — like to use the Clarity Act as an example of political survival after the introduction of an unpopular measure. However, Quebecers never voted for that pain, so to speak. By the time they did go to the polls, it was a fait accompli, and no party was going to reverse it.
Just something else to keep in mind as some try to asses the political dynamics of all this.
UPDATE (6:39 pm): Another factor that I haven't heard discussed much is the extent to which this carbon plan will kill economic activity. It will slap a tax essentially on all industries that burn things in order to make product. That's a lot of our current economy. Do the income and corporate tax cuts alleviate the effect? Probably not. Again, is this the kind of pain that Canadians will vote for?