The Ontario Election and Climate Change

Many voters concerned about climate change grudgingly accepted the Liberals over its principal challenger, the Ontario Conservative Party. These voters gave the Liberal party credit for what it had accomplished in reducing GHG emissions.  They were prepared to give some breathing room before expecting more action on the subject.  Their choice was made easier by the Conservative’s indifference to the risks of climate change.

In an article in today’s Globe & Mail “Who can save the planet? Voters!”, Gary Mason identified one important example that could lead to action on climate change: President Obama’s campaign to educate and persuade a highly polarized American electorate in these words:

“Mr. Obama is right:  The public needs to lead on this issue [climate change] and do so by starting to reward politicians who are ready to lead on it too.”

In the Ontario election the issue never surfaced.  In the leader’s debate nobody used the words “climate change.”  Voters ignored the Green Party, which ran good candidates in several ridings, and advocated necessary policies for serious action.  Yet the Party got about the same number of votes as the previous election.

It is certain that in the 2015 Federal Election the Conservative Party will continue to dismiss climate change as a real risk.  Or claim that steps to reduce climate change will harm Canada’s economy.

Certainly this strategy has worked for the Conservatives before. Remember the “job-destroying carbon tax!”

Canadian voters must set aside their lukewarm approach to climate change.  It is not enough that they respond to public opinion surveys by indicating they want “tough action” on the subject.

Voters must become politically active on a much larger scale.  They must reject any party that will not do what is necessary.  If not, the 2015 election will not lead to any changes.

Canadian voters are not there yet. 

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