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Lowered expectations


 

Rona Ambrose, then environment minister, July 5, 2006. “The transit tax credit will not only save people money, but by taking public transit Canadians will be helping to improve our environment. The transit tax credit is part of our government’s made in Canada environmental plan. Our transit tax initiative will take the equivalent of 56,000 cars off the road each year which will significantly reduce greenhouse gases here in Canada.”

Environment Commissioner, December report. “In its 2007 Climate Change Plan under the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, Environment Canada stated that the Tax Credit is expected to result in emission reductions of 220,000 tonnes each year from 2008 through 2012. This was approximately double Finance Canada’s estimate of the resulting emission reductions in its strategic environmental assessment. In its 2008 Plan, Environment Canada amended the figure for expected reductions to an average of 35,000 tonnes per year—about 16 percent of the original estimate. Given the lowered figure, the Tax Credit will have a negligible impact on Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. Many factors influence public transit ridership, including the price of gasoline. The result is that it is almost impossible to measure actual greenhouse gas emission reductions attributable to the tax credit. With regard to other air emissions, Environment Canada could not provide any analysis to support the assertion that the Tax Credit would result in measurable impacts.”

Jim Prentice, environment minister, this afternoon. “Well, as I said, there are two ways to measure the tax credit.  One is greenhouse gas reductions.  The other is it’s important as a fiscal measure for people who use bus transportation and it needs to be measured in light of both of those public policy objectives.  But certainly, you know, we will take the report.  We’ve just received it in the last few hours.  We’ll take it.  We’ll study it and we’ll learn from what the commissioner has to say.  They do — they do good work and we can all benefit from their advice.”

David McGuinty, Liberal environment critic, asked to comment on Prentice’s remarks. “Well then give me a tax break for taking out my garbage.”


 

Lowered expectations

  1. Maybe the only good thing about three years of Little Prince Harper is that my expectations have utterly cratered.

    At this point the man could declare himself Dictator For Life and I would be neither surprised nor disappointed.

  2. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the invisible hand of “brilliant political strategist” and market segmenter Patrick Muttart behind this transit tax credit.

    Kwame, a recent immigrant to Canada, active in the community, who lives in urban Toronto with his partner, Omarosa, uses urban transit to and from work , and has never had a reason to vote anything but Liberal in the past

    • Is this the same Kwame and Omarosa who competed on that Donald Trump reality show?

      • In reality?

        Dunno

    • Jeffrey Simpson (Sat G&M) on the transit tax credit:

      Why, then, did the Conservatives introduce – and why do they maintain – such a policy bust? In a word: politics.

      The Conservatives have this thing about taxes. They just love using the tax system for political purposes. They adore little tax incentives for slices of the electorate, even if as policy the incentives make no sense. It’s part of their slicing-and-dicing the electorate into little targets, then directing a tax incentive (bribe?) at the target, assuming political gratitude will follow.

  3. I like it! Way to go McGuinty – yes indeed a tax credit for recycling and garbage removal !!!!!!

  4. “The transit tax credit will not only save people money, but by taking public transit Canadians will be helping to improve our environment. … Our transit tax initiative will take the equivalent of 56,000 cars off the road each year which will significantly reduce greenhouse gases here in Canada.”

    Probably baloney, both in the estimate of the number of cars to be taken off the road, and in the carbon savings. Not that carbon savings matter, but wasting taxpayer money certainly does matter.

    Outside of rush hour, urban buses run nearly empty as they run around to and fro taking small numbers of people to hair appointments, and whatnot. And even during rush hour they run empty 1/2 of the time as they cycle back to where more passengers are waiting. And many buses deadhead another 4 times each day driving from HQ to their starting point, then back to HQ after the morning rush hour, and repeat the process in the afternoon. All those empty and near-empty trips with 12 ton buses spew a lot of carbon for nothing, and not just carbon but great black clouds of diesel soot. When the buses operate on narrow city streets they slow down all the other traffic with their constant starting and stopping. The more subsidies are thrown into this mess, the more inefficient the system becomes, because the money is used to expand routes into places and times where it doesn’t pay.

    But I’ll tell you what public buses are great at doing – fostering dependency and creating social strife. Thousands of people in Ottawa got used to using the buses to go to school and to their jobs, then got screwed when the union decided that there’s no point having a monopoly if you can’t use it to blackmail the public. It killed businesses and jobs, and many people’s academic studies took a 1/2 year setback because they had to drop out of the winter semester. Some people might have died from having to postpone doctors appointments. The rate of traffic accidents went up, and probably a lot more tickets were issued, e.g. by red light cameras as people pushed their luck trying to get to work on time in heavy traffic. A win-win situation for the government, but sheer hell for everyone else.

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