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“He made his pitch again, and was very enthusiastic about the
prospect of me,” Byers said. “I heard him out, I thought very carefully about
the suggestion, we spoke specifically about climate change, an issue on which
he and I agree in terms of the seriousness of the issue.”
This, however, came before Dion’s announcement of the “Green
Shift,” a multi-fold plan that includes a federal tax on fossil fuels such as
coal and natural gas. The Green Shift handbook says the tax will start at $10
per tonne of carbon dioxide and peak at $40 per tonne in four years.
Since the plan’s announcement, Byers decided that the NDP’s
“cap and trade” policy is a more effective way to combat greenhouse gases.
A cap and trade policy involves placing limits on major
emitters, which account for 50 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions,
according to the NDP. Those emitters would then have to buy so-called “carbon
credits” that would be set at approximately $35 a tonne, credits that could be
put towards green technologies and other initiatives.
Byers feels that policy is more effective than Dion’s, which he
said is “dangerous to our economy.”
“I think that there are other policies, most notably cap and
trade, which is Jack Layton’s policy,” he said. “It also happens to be Barack
Obama’s policy and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s policy.”
Young has now gone on the offensive against Byers, claiming he
was reluctant to go through a nomination process in the riding.
“He told me, point blank, that he didn’t believe that he could
mount a successful nomination and that he wanted all the opponents removed from
the process,” he said. “He wanted us to work it and organize it so he would run
unopposed, and we weren’t prepared to do that.”
Byers, however, said he received indications from the Liberal
Party that he could run for the candidacy unopposed.
“It was not explicitly put on the table,” he said. “But there
were very strong indications that that was what Mr. Dion wanted to do.”
He said that, shortly after meeting with Dion, the Liberal
leader wanted to announce his candidacy at a policy convention the following
“I take it as a pretty clear indication that they were
considering that option,” he said. “I didn’t jump at that suggestion, but
(Dion) phoned me sometime later and said that he would fly to Vancouver to
announce my candidacy.”