With Canada days away from a federal election, a recent poll shows climate change rivaling classic ballot box issues like the cost of living and government spending.
That bodes well for Justin Trudeau, according to Tom Rand, managing partner at ArcTern Ventures and author of the book Climate Capitalism. He expects the Liberal leader’s carbon price policy will be tough for opponents to attack. However, Rand notes Trudeau’s credibility with younger and harder-line climate voters is challenged by his government’s decision to purchase the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has rocked the boat within his party with his platform to fight climate change. The plan calls for a tax on fossil fuel sales that would channel funds into personal savings accounts for Canadians to make climate-friendly purchases, like home improvements and transit passes.
“If you want a big ‘S’ socialist program, that is these predefined savings accounts,” Rand told Yahoo Finance Canada’s Editor’s Edition on Aug. 24. “I think it's a nightmare, and [would be] extremely expensive to actually roll out.”
Rand says he’s confused by the party’s rejection of “market-based” tools, like a direct price on carbon emissions for industrial polluters.
While climate change has pushed further into mainstream political discourse, Rand says Canada’s Green Party has “dropped the ball” under leader Annamie Paul. Her leadership has been the subject of legal challenges, and the party has been slow to roll out its policy platform.
“They’re just not showing the maturity that you need to show as a serious national party at the table,” Rand said.
Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist.