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Greens would raise carbon tax

B.C. Green leader Jane Sterk focused on her party's economic planks at an Earth Day rally in downtown Vancouver this afternoon, emphasizing the importance of making the carbon tax "saleable" to voters.

"We need to retool our economy," she said. "We must regionalize things. We must create strong local economies that are diverse. It's not about consumption and growth, it's about doing things better."

The B.C. Green Party is proposing to increase the carbon tax to $50 per tonne and, according to a press release, would also apply the tax to the sale of new vehicles based on their greenhouse gas emissions.

Right now, the carbon tax is $10 per tonne, and under the Liberal's plan will increase to $30 per tonne by 2012.

Lower Mainland mayors want to see the controversial carbon tax funneled directly to public transit, something unlikely to happen while Premier Gordon Campbell is in power, The Tyee reported today. Keeping in line with Liberal policy, Sterk said the carbon tax under the Greens would remain revenue neutral.

Sterk said the Greens want to make the carbon tax saleable by simultaneously providing tax incentives on things like public transit, home efficiency retrofits and electric vehicles.

Sterk was joined by federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May and deputy leader Adrian Carr, as well as provincial candidates from around the Lower Mainland. The Green Party today announced nine new candidates, bringing their total up to 75.

The party's media relations director, Kevin McKeown, said they have found ten more nominees (which would mean a Green candidate in every riding) but said their names would not be announced until their nomination paperwork was complete. The deadline to file is this Friday.

Before her speech, Sterk thanked all the candidates for their commitment and said, "when you're running for the Green party, you're running for the third choice and so you don't have the same kind of financial support."

She later told reporters that electing even a few Green MLAs would be "the best thing that could happen for British Columbia."

"We need to get some Green MLA's in the leg so we can have an actual discussion about some things that need to get done," she said. "We are a party that fundamentally believes we need to be consultative and collaborative in our approach...nobody has all the right answers, we have to come together."

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