The BC Liberals have not been championing their carbon tax as much as one would expect, given it is their marquee policy of 2008.
Local MLAs Harry Bloy, Richard Lee and John Nuraney are not pushing the environmentally-friendly tax. Other than the rare exception, such as Nuraney's July 26 ad in the Burnaby Now
, the Liberals have been downplaying the carbon tax in hopes that people will calm down over the highly visible tax. Finance Minister Colin Hansen has not been very visible while his predecessor Carole Taylor is leaving politics. Only Gordon Campbell seems to think his tax is a winning issue for the governing Liberals.
Thankfully for them, they have something to distract the public. The Liberals have spent the last week championing the fact that the NDP has lost five MLAs. Of those five, Corky Evans has served three non-consecutive terms, and Michael Sather and Gregor Robertson are shifting to the civic level for November's elections. Only two MLAs, David Cubberley and David Chudnovsky, are leaving electoral politics after just one term.
As luck would have it, very little counterattack is being launched by the NDP. Chris Gainor's comments on Public Eye Radio this morning was a rare exception
. Gainor highlighted some opf the prominent departures on the government side. The BC Liberals are losing MLAs Dennis MacKay, Val Roddick, Claude Richmond, Katherine Whittred, Olga Ilich, Lorne Mayencourt, and Carole Taylor. Sindi Hawkins, Al Horning, Dan Jarvis and Rick Thorpe are also good bets to bow out before next May's election. Simple math shows that losing 11 out of 46 Liberals is a bigger drop than losing five out of 33 New Democrats.
With the public's mind off the carbon tax and limited mid-Olympic media coverage focusing on the NDP in disarray, the Liberals are in a stronger position than they should be. If the NDP can find a focus they might have a chance. Otherwise, Premier Campbell will have many fresh, new faces with him at the 2010 Olympics.