Perhaps the biggest disappointment in this federal election campaign is the opportunistic and irresponsible opposition of the NDP to carbon pricing. It is now extremely clear that global emissions need to fall – both in times of economic strength and weakness. Those in economies with excessive per-capita emissions need to fall soonest and fastest, and Canada has an appalling record in that regard. Cutting emissions in an economically efficient way means establishing a national price for carbon: either through a cap-and-trade scheme or a carbon tax. As such, parties that support a Canadian climate policy that is effective and internationally responsible would do well to either make such a proposal or support one already advanced by another federal party. Jack Layton may be more concerned with social welfare than with the environment, but he really needs to realize that failing to deal with climate change will produce enormous amounts of suffering and that those who will be hardest hit will be the poorest and most vulnerable in Canada, and around the world.
The other big disappointment is the failure of the Conservative Party to publish a platform. It is truly bizarre for a sitting government that is seeking an eventual majority to not publish the details of what they plan to do with the country. It leaves the opposition without the opportunity to comment, and Canadians in general without the opportunity to make an informed choice.
[Update: 9 October 2008]: The platform is out (PDF).