With that in mind, nobody should be surprised to read "Some MPs uneasy about Dion's plan for carbon tax". It's important to vet any idea, particularly one that could have major ramifications. The weary should express their view, highlight any potential pitfalls, to ensure no one is surprised moving forward. In the end, when all opinion is considered, then the leader decides, and at this point, people should fall in line.
The above link, points to findings from a Liberal Party pollster, which highlights the political risk for Dion, should he go ahead with a carbon tax. I don't think Dion should move forward because "he sees a bold environmental approach as needed to rescue both the environment and his reputation", he should move forward because he believes the policy is sound. Obviously, the idea is bold by definition, but that characterization shouldn't be the motivation, just an added benefit to good policy. Public appetite is part of the equation, but Dion's personal stake should really be a side issue in the final analysis.
The pollster found the following:
According to the insider, the poll found Ontarians are overwhelmingly concerned about climate change and support slashing greenhouse gas emissions to meet Canada's commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.
Nevertheless, when respondents were given details of British Columbia's recent carbon tax plan as one way to tackle the problem, support dropped dramatically. According to the insider, the poll found 30 per cent strongly opposed to the idea and 12 per cent somewhat opposed, compared to 23 per cent strongly supportive and 25 per cent somewhat supportive.
A tough sell? If you actually add up the supportive vs opposed numbers, you see 42% strongly or somewhat oppose, but 48% strongly or somewhat support. The majority are open to the idea, to varying degrees.
One thing people must consider, when they view these type of findings, the built-in "denier" vote. In one of the more extension polls, a full 23% of Canadians said they don't believe global warming is real. What that means, any question on climate change policy will automatically be rejected by a quarter of the population, slightly higher when you consider the "man-made" argument. There is nothing the Liberals could propose that would be accepted by this subsection, so any policy should essentially eliminate their potential opinion.
If you believe that the Conservative base support level in Canada is somewhere around 25-30%, and that 99% of global warming deniers are under their umbrella, the above numbers look a lot better politically. If the Liberals did nothing on the environment, would those voters leave the Conservatives to support Dion? ABSOLUTELY NOT, which is why Liberals needn't concern themselves with developing policy which "appeals" to everyone.
I would look at the above poll finding in this way. You are starting with a majority that are open to the concept, what you need to do is move the soft "resistance" into the soft "support" camp. Forget about wasting time on the 30% who are strongly opposed, that will never be a potential Liberal audience, but present a forceful argument to allay the fears of the 12% somewhat opposed. In that way, you enter the arena with a fair concept, if you can sell the idea, it will have appeal, if you fail, then you take your lumps. That comes down to politics and strategy, that is the "risk" and it is true, leaders must take that risk.
If the Liberals are to do the proper calculations moving forward, I would start with the premise that no matter what you do, your decisions should ignore people who are really irrelevant, they don't believe the premise, how could they possibly support a solution, they will NEVER vote Liberal anyways. Knock off the core Conservative supporter, within that the "deniers", and start from there, when deciding if you can effectively "sell" the plan.