Pick your battles.

If you want to win, in war or in politics, you pick the battles you can win. Losers fight any battle that comes along. It is the problem facing the major opposition parties in the coming election. It is a special problem for conservative leader Erin O’Toole. He is between the proverbial rock and the hard place.

O’Toole’s conservatives need an environmental platform that will convince eastern Canada that the party is sincere about saving the world from greenhouse gasses. At the same time, they have to convince the climate change deniers in the west that, under the conservatives, they can continue to pump up the bitumen from the tar sands and knock down mountains for coal.

‘Simple,’ you say? You must be forgetting the master-servant relationship between Erin O’Toole and Alberta premier Jason Kenney. Who do you think touched O’Toole’s shoulders with the sword of approval during the recent conservative leadership contest? It was Jason Kenney who gave O’Toole the Western Blessing. It was a Jason Kenney who was riding high in the saddle at the time and could promise O’Toole those western votes.

Jason Kenney might have fallen on bad times recently; but never forget, he is still one of the slipperiest politicians in Canada. When Stephen Harper was making his retirement plans in 2015, Kenney was plotting his triumphant return to Alberta.

The federal new democrats have a different problem as they have had the Leap Manifesto since 2016. A radical environmental approach, the party still does not know what to do with it. At the time it was introduced, leader Tom Mulcair was trying to stake out a middle of the road platform and the Leap Manifesto was too radical for him. No doubt, Jagmeet Singh would like to revive the manifesto now. The question is, Jagmeet might lead with it but whether the party would follow is a different question.

The best bet for the opposition parties is a ‘Cap and Trade’ policy. We already have that in Quebec and British Columbia. Ontario was also partnered with Quebec and California in a ‘Cap and Trade’ plan until the Ford conservatives came to power and cancelled it. Like most Canadians, Ford did not understand it. That might help the opposition get voters to support it.

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Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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