Suzuki slams NDP, Tories, backs Dion's carbon tax
Published Sunday, May 18, 2008 10:48PM EDT
Famed environmentalist David Suzuki has strongly backed Liberal leader Stephane Dion's emerging carbon tax plan and slammed the NDP and Conservatives.
After hearing the NDP's criticism of Dion's plan, Suzuki said: "I'm really shocked with the NDP with this. I thought that they had a very progressive environmental outlook."
"To oppose (the carbon tax plan), its just nonsense. It's certainly the way we got to go," he said Sunday on CTV's Question Period.
While Dion has not fully revealed his plan, this week he said that he is proposing a revenue-neutral carbon tax, where the carbon tax is paired with a reduction in other taxes.
"Instead of taxing things we want more of, like income ... we shift taxes to things we don't want, like greenhouse gases," Liberal environment critic David McGuinty explained on Question Period, while stressing the plan is not yet finalized.
NDP MP Peggy Nash said the NDP's environment plan is not revenue neutral. She said her party wants a system where polluters pay and the money is put into "green solutions."
Environment Minister John Baird told Question Period that Dion's plan was "made on Bay Street" and is actually supported by big business and polluters.
"Mr. Dion wants to give some kind of licence to pollute and simply allow big business to buy their way out of this problem," Baird said.
Baird touted the Conservatives' environmental plan, saying that the Harper government would force big business into polluting less.
"Our plan we deliver an absolute 20 per cent reduction by 2020," he said.
However, the Tories plan uses 2006 as the baseline year, which Baird failed to mention. The world generally uses 1990, the Kyoto Protocol's baseline.
Most environmental groups have slammed the Conservatives' environmental plan as ineffectual and say even if it works, it would still result in emissions that are eight per cent above Canada's 2012 Kyoto target.
They also say the Tory plan relies on intensity targets, not absolute ones. Intensity targets mean that businesses must cut the amount of carbon that goes into each unit of production. However, that means total emissions could go up if output increased substantially.
Suzuki criticized Baird's leadership, saying that the minister was working against and not with environmentalists.
Suzuki also said Ottawa politicians in general are too focused on the next election and not thinking of the future.
"Thank goodness for the United States or we'd be dead last (in the environment)," he said. "Let's get on with hard targets and thinking more about what we are leaving our children and grandchildren."
Suzuki mentioned that Swedes pay about carbon tax of $150 a tonne, while British Columbians are "yelling and screaming over a $10 tax."
B.C introduced a carbon tax in February.