Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ding Dong the Green Shift's Dead

Ignatieff, Rae, LeBlanc abandon Green Shift for good

In the aftermath on an election in which Stephane Dion staked his party's fortunes on his Green Shift plan and lost, it was only a matter of time before the Liberal party left it in the pages of history's footnotes.

As such, it's back to the drawing board for the Liberal party.

"You go back to the drawing board on how do you get to where we want to get to in a way that's going to be eminently practical and a way that's going to raise the interest and the passion of Canadians," Rae said. "It's not like cod liver oil. You've got to make sure that what we're providing for people is something that they actually want."

"The voters have told us to come back and think again about how to reconcile environmental sustainability and economic progress," added Ignatieff.

For Ignatieff, his casual abandonment of the Green Shift could become more ammunition for his opponents to use against him. After all, in 2006 he ran for the Liberal leadership on the strength of a carbon tax plan. Stephane Dion adopted a carbon tax and suffered one of the worst losses in the Liberal party's history.

Many Liberals will likely be forgiven if they come to suspect that Ignatieff's next big idea will be a comparably bad one.

Dominic LeBlanc has also confirmed that the Green Shift won't be part of his platform.

Bob Rae, at the very least, seems to have learned a lesson from the entire Green Shift debacle.

"You don't start with a theory," Rae said. "You start with the hard bedrock of the experience of Canadians in all walks of life. If you lose sight of that you can have an interesting life, but it won't be a successful political one."

Now, the only question that remains is thus: will the three candidates in the Liberal leadership race approach Liberals -- and, later, Canadians -- with a pragmatic -- even if ambitious -- program for running the country, or will they resort back to Liberal hallmark gimmickry?

Only time will tell.

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