Cummins, BC Conservatives wrong on gas tax opposition

#bcpoli #bcndp #bcliberals #christyclark #adriandix

Upstart leader of the BC Conservatives, John Cummins is completely misguided on his and his party’s opposition to the 2 cent per litre gas. I understand that he is looking for a cheap wedge issue to score him some desperate media attention, but traffic gridlock from the excess of car traffic on the roads and freeways is no laughing matter.

By positioning his party against the fuel levy, John Cummins and his BC Conservatives are also against public transit. The levy is exclusively to fund transit in the lower mainland. Without this levy, the service will either get a massive cut to its service levels, or massive spike in its already overpriced fare regime.

What irony too. It was conservatives in the old Social Credit party that championed the original SkyTrain line, and paradoxically, the NDP was opposed to it…but I’m sure that was related to the fact that the construction of the elevated subway was in NDP held ridings in the early 80’s.

So, conservatives were the champion of rapid transit when it wasn’t popular, now oppose it when its needed the most. I believe this has nothing to do with rapid transit, but a diabolical hatred towards taxes – of any kind. I’m afraid, Mr. Cummins, that ship already sailed. Voters, by their actions, have said to politicians that taxes are acceptable – if they’re spent the right way. A gas tax, maybe – but it better get the Evergreen Line built.

In 2009, the NDP railed against the carbon tax (as horribly flawed as it is) and found themselves snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It obviously was more than just the carbon tax, it was Carole James too. She offered little outside of negative attacks and didn’t offer progressive alternatives that would be supported by a plurality of voters.

If John Cummins believes that voters will rally to his party out of protest against a levy of two pennies per litre, he might be in for a sorry shock at the polls. His party’s relative spike in the polls has more to do with a non-NDP protest against the BC Liberals, and less to do with the policies of his party itself.

An interesting dynamic is unfolding in BC. Its as if the whole electorate is shifting left. The latest Ipsos-Reid poll shows that parties of the left would score 51% of the vote (NDP and Green). The phenomenon of vote splitting on the right to allow the NDP to win isn’t at play. The progressive vote is the majority in BC. This posturing of the BC Conservatives might accelerate this situation. If Green voters thought that John Cummins had any real chance of influencing policy in BC as MLA’s in the legislature, you could see the Green vote collapse in favour of the NDP.