One of Premier Gordon Campbell's former top advisors says the government needs to "let the reigns go a bit" if it wants British Columbians to support its controversial carbon tax. In an exclusive interview with Public Eye, Louise Comeau said government, instead of doing all the work itself, should be "investing" in community groups that can get people involved with the administration's climate action initiative.
"You have to engage people as individuals - and that's outside of just giving them money," said Ms. Comeau, who was fired as the climate action secretariat's public outreach and strategic engagement director in March. "I have a huge amount of respect for the premier - an enormous amount of respect for the premier. And I think he knows what he's doing. And it would be great if he would let other people know what they were doing so they could help him achieve his vision for the province. I just think it's a government that sometimes is more worried about what might happen if they let reigns go a bit. But, actually, I think it can trust that people will know what to do."
"Something should be done to really start to engage people on the ground so they begin to feel this is their issue - not just Gordon Campbell's issue," continued Ms. Comeau, the former president of the Sierra Club of Canada. "He's done such an amazing job. He truly is a hero for me on this issue. But he needs other people to be heroes too."
"B.C. is so ahead of the country. And it's a good story about how our lifestyles will change in a way that, in the end, we're actually going to like. Because who wants to sit in a commute all the time? Who wants to sit in a house that's drafty and uncomfortable. The government is so on the right track. And they just need to be more confident in what they're doing and reach out a bit more and be more willing to let other people help. And they could build a movement in B.C."
Last month, an Ipsos-Reid Corp. survey found 59 percent of British Columbians are opposed to the province's new carbon tax, which came into effect on July 1.