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Gordon Campbell = Tommy Douglas?

Here’s a sentiment you don’t hear every day: Gordon Campbell is a hero.

Yet, “hero” is the word Liberal leader Stéphane Dion used to describe B.C.’s increasingly unpopular premier on Friday. He even went so far as to draw parallels between Campbell and the man voted the greatest Canadian of all-time.

“I would say that British Columbia will be for the fight against the crisis of climate change what Saskatchewan has been for Medicare,” Dion said from Burnaby’s Pine Ridge Housing Co-operative. “It will be a pioneer, the one that has shown what to do, the first mover.”

Far from toning down his enviro crusade in the face of widespread opposition to the province’s new carbon tax, Dion claimed he didn’t care about polls and used his first B.C. campaign stop to further flesh out his proposed Green Shift.

He promised tax incentives and interest-free loans for homeowners to upgrade their heating, insulation and windows and promised a $150 million fund to help low-income Canadians make their homes greener.

These measures, he said, “give us the incentive to do the right thing for our wallet and the right thing for our planet” by helping to reduce household energy consumption by 20 to 40 per cent.

The link between the economy and the environment was a recurring theme as he tried to counter Conservative arguments that his plan will cause a recession.

“The countries that give to themselves the possibility to be more energy efficient, to develop new sources of renewable energy are the winning countries of the 21st Century,” he said, standing in a setting as verdant as his rhetoric.

“And the world will buy their solutions. I want the world to buy the solutions here in British Columbia and in Canada.”

Among the dozens of journalist in attendance, there seemed to be little interest in the new green housing proposals. They were too focused on gas prices. Dion will have to hope Canadian voters are more open-minded come election night.

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