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Dion, Campbell felt sting of carbon tax


| Sourced From The Province |

Two words played a big role in politics in 2008 — carbon tax.

While the words may be environmentally correct, in an age of political correctness they are politically incorrect and dangerous.

Ask Stephane Dion.

The federal Liberal leader told Canadians he’d introduce a carbon tax, and they told him where to go — away.

Ask Gordon Campbell.

His carbon tax — which kicked in at the most politically incorrect point with mid-summer gas prices at an all-time high — successfully revived the election hopes of the provincial NDP.

B.C. NDP leader Carole James, who most pollsters had written off as political roadkill to be trounced by the Liberals’ “Best Place On Earth” steamroller, appeared reinvigorated as voters took to the street to “Axe the Tax.”

Campbell, the prohibitive favourite to be Olympic premier, suddenly realized that if he messes up it will be James attending all those Olympic galas.

The carbon tax did have a couple of benefits for British Columbians. Everyone got a cheque in the mail, and — responding to up-country British Columbians who argued they have no choice but to drive — the $10 toll on the Coquihalla Highway was dropped.

Public furor over the gas tax has lowered along with gas prices, but Campbell hasn’t managed to steer clear of controversy.

In an era of layoffs and pay cuts, Campbell announced that some of his political appointee pals would receive pay hikes of up to 141 per cent.

His timing was suspect, seemingly designed to be buried on the eve of the Summer Olympics, with the “green premier” hopping aboard the emissions-spewing private jet of a political pal to Beijing.

When the predictable furor hit the fan, Campbell was out of the country to manage the growing political storm.

So in 2009, look for the federal Liberals to ditch all references to Dion’s carbon tax, and for the B.C. premier to cling doggedly to the tax only until it risks his political future.

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