Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Green Energy Task Force= Another "New Relationship"?

Gordon Campbell's Native Economic Development Advisory Board and First Nations Leadership Council were effective means of bringing First Nations Leaders within Liberal-led governance structures--and an effective way of defusing them as a possible source of Opposition. Now the same thing is happening with leading members of the Environmental Movement: In December Tzeporah Berman was handing Gordon Campbell an Award in Copenhagen; in January Campbell is naming Berman to his prestigious new Green Energy Task Force.

And is that such a bad thing? Co-optation is bad if it prevents something better from happening. Unless the NDP and the Greens come up with something better to produce a green energy policy and a green infrastructure, then it I am not going to complain too loudly.
Furthermore, I have already argued in my chapter in the recent B.C. Politics textbook, British Columbia Politics and Government (2009), the incorporation of interest groups and NGOs into institutionalized webs of governance is a well-established trend; premier Campbell is merely hastening that process and steering it to his political advantage. The NDP should endeavour to do likewise.
I have three suggestions for the new Green Energy Task Force:

(1) Turning revenue from carbon tax into supporting green infrastructure projects, instead of simply reducing progressive income taxes;

(2) Increasing spending on support for agriculture and agricultural production, an area where BC has lagged behind all other provinces;

(3) Shifting emphasis from promoting fish farms and private hydro to promoting wind, geothermal and bio mass on public lands and private lands zoned for agriculture--esp. since wind farms and many biomass projects are consistent with agricultural land use.

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