The Prime Minister’s Office tries to impose a statute of limitations on what the Conservatives have advocated for while in government.
But what about that 2008 Conservative campaign promise of a cap-and-trade system, similar to the NDP’s?
“That’s the past,” responded MacDougall. “Our 2011 platform stands. So does the NDP’s — and that includes their plan to ‘put a price on carbon.'”
It’s unclear if this means everything the Conservatives said or did before the spring of 2011—including the bits they might conceivably be proud of—is now irrelevant.
Thing is, the Harper government’s stance on carbon pricing isn’t strictly “in the past.” Last year, Peter Kent said a continental cap-and-trade system could “always be something to consider in the future.” In June, Mr. Kent’s office was unwilling to definitively rule out the possibility. Joe Oliver similarly hedged when I put the issue to him this month.