Cathy McLeod insists on the presence of water fowl

Via Twitter, Conservative MP Cathy McLeod responds to my post about her understanding of cap-and-trade.

market driven cap + trade vs #NDP planned rev for myriad of gov programs. Hmmm sounds like a duck.

It seems to me that Ms. McLeod is attempting to differentiate between a cap-and-trade system in which the government auctions credits (and thus receives revenue) and a cap-and-trade system in which the government gives away credits. It’s not clear to me at this point that the Harper government ever absolutely ruled out ever deriving any revenue from the cap-and-trade system they proposed and pursued. They very well might have. (I previously sought to confirm this, but forgot to follow up with the official I was dealing with. I’ve just now sent a request to a different government official seeking clarity and documentation and will post whatever I receive whenever I receive it.) For the sake of the historical record, it is a detail worth noting.

But here’s the thing (a thing we explained in our last post): According to Ms. McLeod’s Conservative colleagues, whether or not the Harper government expected to generate any revenue from cap-and-trade is entirely irrelevant. Because cap-and-trade, in any form, establishes a price on carbon. And, so far as the Conservatives are now concerned, anything that puts a price on carbon is a carbon tax.

Peter Kent, June 16. “Carbon pricing in any form is a carbon tax…”

John Williamson, September 17. “Cap and trade or cap and tax, a price on carbon is a tax on carbon. That makes it a carbon tax.”

(Here is Jim Flaherty endorsing a price on carbon in February 2008. Here is John Baird endorsing a price on carbon in May 2008. And here is Jim Prentice endorsing a price on carbon in June 2009. And here, here, here and here Conservatives now lamenting the idea of putting a price on carbon.)

So we’re back where we started. The “revenue” quibble continues to be—according to the Harper government’s own logic—a red herring. And the basic policy that Ms. McLeod and her fellow Conservatives now oppose is still the same basic policy that the Conservative party and the Harper government were proposing and pursuing when Ms. McLeod was a candidate and MP.

I do give Ms. McLeod credit for engaging the discussion. Via Twitter, I asked her a follow-up question and will post any response she offers.

Here again is everything you need to know about the Conservatives’ carbon tax farce.




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Cathy McLeod insists on the presence of water fowl

  1. It seems she is also willfuly ignoring a point made by SG, that by giving away credits you are in effect providing a tax freebie or subsidy to the companies within the scheme; at least i think it was SG?

    • Further to your point, giving them away for free brings another question – how do they get allocated?
      If there was an auction, they would be distributed relatively efficiently as they would go to the highest bidders.
      If they were given away for free…. what would the criteria be such that Company A gets X credits and Company B gets Y credits? It would not lead to an efficient outcome.

      • Isn’t it a little odd that the NDP aren’t pushing back more on this point? Either the CPC were fully prepared to implement a CT by their present “logic” or they were prepared to waste tps $ on a hair brained scheme that they have no doubt panned the Europeans for numerous times.
        The oddest irony or point of farce for me is that inadvertenty the tories have spoken the truth…both CT and cap n’ trade are effectively putting a price on carbon. It’s arguably the truth, but of course they are still lying…and so to a lesser extent are the NDP. Mr Dion must be feeling pretty smug these days.

  2. I find the whole “revenue” argument a bit of a sideshow as well as I think the perspective is missing is how does this affect people as consumers, and as tax payers. With a carbon tax and additional revenue, the real question is what does the government do with that revenue?
    Potential bad way: wasteful program spending.
    Potential good way: return the revenue to tax payers in the form of an income tax cut.
    Where carbon tax proceeds are returned to tax payers via income tax cuts, then the carbon tax is NOT a net revenue gain for the government. In the mean time, it allows industry and consumers full freedom to find an approach to carbon reduction that is most cost efficient for them. This freedom does not exist to near the same extent under the regulatory regime being implemented by Harper. This leads to higher costs on businesses, and ultimately, consumers.

    • This is the carbon tax that is currently law in BC, right? One in which taxes are offset by tax cuts…the mythical revenue neutral.

      • To be fair to the current BC government, they did indeed cut other taxes (e.g., income, corporate) . Under the NDP, both of those tax rates were significantly higher than they are now.

        • Sure, i think it is one of Campbell’ genuine accomplishments, along with his pincipled turn around on FNs issues.

        • I wasn’t attempting to defend the NDP, cap-and-trade is really a non-starter for me.

          My underlying point is what I described is exactly what the Liberal Green Shift was, which is most definitely a more market-based solution than the Harper regulatory approach.

  3. “We” meaning the consumers will still have to pay MORE Komarade Wherry………..

    • Whereas, the oil companies won’t pass on the costs of increased regulations (the Tory government’s NEW proposal) to consumers??? You can’t be that naive.

      Not doing anything that might cost consumers more money is an argument in favour of not doing ANYTHING. Which is fair enough as it stands, but the government isn’t arguing that they’re not going to do anything. That herring is every bit as red as McLeod’s.

      • *GASP* You said ‘RED’!

  4. “…….market driven cap + trade vs #NDP planned rev for myriad of gov programs. Hmmm sounds like a duck……..”

    Twitter is to communication as decapitation is to health.
    Fear this you fools!

  5. “Market driven cap + trade”…is that official yet, the new TPs?

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