Friday, September 12, 2008


The prospect of an internal Lib coup against Stephane Dion has never struck me as particularly plausible, based mostly on the lack of any internal mechanism to carry it out. But the possibility of Lib candidates striking out on their own in countering the party's message - and particularly the carbon tax plan - has always been far more plausible and feasible. And the first indication of that kind of movement seems to have arrived:
Tony Bullman of Charlottetown says that last winter many seniors had to choose between drugs, food and heating their homes. He said seniors can’t afford the additional tax.
Murphy said low-income Islanders would benefit most through the tax cuts.
“This winter, I don’t think you’re going to see the green shift even if the Liberals got elected,” Murphy responded.
Now, it's bizarre enough to try to argue that voters shouldn't worry about the Libs' plan simply because it could be pushed into the future. And that goes doubly when the Libs have tried to claim that a carbon tax is their preferred means of shifting carbon consumption precisely because it could be put in place faster than a cap and trade regime.

But what's even more important is that Murphy seems to have broken the ice in campaigning on effectively the opposite of the party's campaign theme. While Dion tries to sell an urgent immediate need for the Green Shift scheme, Murphy has apparently concluded that his self-interest as a candidate lies in saying that his constituents don't need to worry about the Libs following through particularly quickly.

Mind you, it's worth noting that Murphy's own statement was included within an attempt to sell the carbon tax generally at a later date. But the more candidates end up testing the waters of how far they're allowed to distance themselves from the Libs' central policy, the more likely it is that Libs generally will follow suit as part of an "every candidate for himself/herself" mentality. And that would put an end to any hope the Libs may have of pulling their party together to try to stand up to Deceivin' Stephen.

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