Stephen Harper’s inconsistency on cap-and-trade should raise serious question for Canadians

With the resumption of Parliament, it became evident early in the first question period that the Harper government was on the attack again – this time trying to portray Tom Mulcair and the NDP as poor economic managers.

“As we prepare to come back to Ottawa for the fall session of Parliament, it is also important to ensure Canadian middle class families understand the risk posed by Mulcair’s risky and dangerous economic plan,” says Jenni Byrne, the Conservative’s national campaign manager, in a leaked memo to Conservative MPs. “Canadian families know that a tax on carbon is a tax on everything and therefore a tax on everyone.”

But there is one major flaw in the Conservative agenda: Tom Muclair and the NDP have never advocated for a carbon tax. Instead of a carbon tax, the NDP wants to introduce a system of cap-and-trade where large industrial polluters would pay as opposed to the Canadian taxpayer, something the Conservatives once promised to institute.

A cap-and-trade system was part of the Conservative 2008 election platform, and Stephen Harper’s 2008 throne speech which promised to pursue a continental cap-and trade-system.  In December 2009, the Harper government claimed to be working with the provinces and territories to develop a cap-and-trade system.

It seems that the cap-and-trade proposal put forth by Mulcair – which was endorsed by Andrew Weaver, the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner and lead author of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – does not sit well with the Conservatives because they’re now saying that carbon tax and cap-and-trade are one and the same.

As voters we have to wonder: is Harper’s attack on Mulcair and the NDP a deliberate attempt to regain the federal government’s waning popularity by misleading the Canadian electorate, or is this just another example of the Conservatives protecting their corporate friends at the expense of the Canadian taxpayer?