Ontario Member of Parliament (MP) Michael Chong cemented his Red Tory (like RINO) credentials during Sunday’s Conservative Party of Canada leadership debate in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Leadership candidate Chong, trailing badly in the race, announced his support of a federal carbon tax and was roundly criticized by his Conservative colleagues.
“With respect, Michael, I am not in this race to out-Liberal the Liberals,” said fellow leadership candidate and Ontario MP Erin O’Toole, a former minister of veterans affairs, who told the debate audience that he would scrap any federal carbon tax imposed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
O’Toole told The Daily Caller that “Chong has bought-in to the Liberal notion that you help the environment by raising taxes, despite the fact that average Canadians are not the problem. I like Michael a lot, but creating a new tax and running a large deficit to do it is not a conservative plan,” he said.
Chong was a former intergovernmental affairs minister in the former Conservative government but resigned over policy differences with then-prime minister Stephen Harper and is generally viewed as a maverick in the party.
He refused to budge on his carbon tax, despite overall disagreement from the other candidates, claiming that it was the only way to appeal to liberal, climate-change voters. British Columbia, which hosted the debate, has a highly controversial provincial carbon tax and Chong trumpeted it as as a model for the federal government.
“The B.C. model works. We need to take it and export it to the rest of the country,” Chong declared, suggesting that the provincial government behind the tax had won re-election either because of, or in spite of, the fossil fuel levy that adds another seven cents a liter every time people put gas in their vehicles.
Not to be outdone, former transport minister Lisa Raitt, also on the left of the party, expressed outrage that the Conservative Party remained opposed to Trudeau’s plan to legalize recreational marijuana use in Canada.
“I’m going to get real with everybody in the room. If we run an election in 2019 on the platform of re-criminalizing marijuana, we will face the same result as we faced in 2015,” she said.
Trudeau has dragged his feet on his marijuana pledge and has offered no definite timeline for amending the criminal code.