Canadian actor Steve Smith’s character Red Green is often heard saying: “Remember, we’re all in this together.”
Steve Williams, Suncor CEO, made the same point when urging the Alberta government to set up environmental policies and introduce a carbon tax, where all consumers share the real cost of burning fossil fuels. Remember, as a species, it has been our collective behaviour since the Industrial Revolution that has come to threaten the entire planet. That behaviour must change and carbon tax has shown that it is an effective way to change consumer behaviour as we transition out of fossil fuels.
Another Canadian, political actor Stephen Harper has said many times that a carbon tax would kill jobs and disadvantage low income Canadians. Mr. Harper and his government seem to have avoided the concept of transition. As with any sort of change, transition becomes more difficult when there is continued inaction. In terms of hardship on lower income Canadians, there are many ways to administer a carbon tax. One of those is to pay back a dividend that favours those with lower income.
The notion of leadership suggests traits like being able to bring together different groups to achieve a collective goal – being out front in terms of understanding complex problems and the range of solutions available. The Red Green character has also said, “I can change if I have to, I guess.” This seems to be where Mr. Harper and his government are at the moment – not a good model for leadership.