Urban-rural split likely back on the table

By Harold Jansen on Sep 10, 2008

The Conservatives' high-profile promise yesterday to cut the tax on diesel fuels likely won't have much impact on the average Canadian family, but it's big news if you're a heavy user of diesel fuel. Truckers, farmers and fishers will likely benefit. It also sets up a nice contrast with the Liberals' Green Shift, which would increase taxes on fuels. However, what I think is interesting is that it sets up a rural-urban policy showdown. Two of those three groups (and probably many truckers, too) are primarily rural. The Liberals' Green Shift will probably be of most net financial benefit to those living in large cities, where people can do things like take transit and reduce their use of fossil fuels. Although I'm not sure either the Green Shift or the diesel tax will move a lot of voters, it's a reminder that the two parties have very different bases: the Liberals much more attuned to urban Canada and the Conservatives much more closely aligned with rural Canada. It's time for the suburbs!

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