Navigating the farce, Terrence Young -

Navigating the farce, Terrence Young


An exchange from Monday’s budget debate between the NDP’s Kennedy Stewart and Conservative MP Terrence Young.

Kennedy Stewart. Mr. Speaker, I have a question about what is missing in the budget implementation act. On page 32 of the Conservative 2008 platform entitled “The True North Strong and Free”, under the heading “Developing a Cap and Trade System to Cut Pollution and Greenhouse Gas Emissions” it promises that a re-elected Conservative government will implement the cap and trade system between the years 2012 and 2015. I want to ask the member how that is coming along.

Terrence Young. Mr. Speaker, once again, the NDP do not understand the difference between a revenue neutral cap and trade system where businesses trade or we trade even within countries, such as we were planning to do within North America, and a carbon tax, which is a revenue grab from consumers to spend in whatever way the NDP would like. There was a plan in 2006 to have a cap and trade system with our American partner, but it was not willing so that did not happen. It is pretty simple…

Cap-and-trade is, of course, what the NDP has proposed. A “carbon tax” is how the Conservatives now describe the NDP’s cap-and-trade proposal.

As we’ve explained before, there are two ways to devise a cap-and-trade system: one in which the government sells emissions credits and takes in revenue from those sales and one in which the government gives away emissions credits and companies take in revenue from selling those credits amongst each other. It’s not clear that what the Conservatives were proposing between 2004 and 2009 wouldn’t have resulted in government revenue. (I’ve asked for evidence of that, but have yet to receive any. For whatever it’s worth, the American cap-and-trade system was expected to generate government revenue.) When John Baird was proclaiming his government’s eagerness to establish a price on carbon in 2008, that money would have gone to a “technology fund.”

But, again, it doesn’t matter, at least so far as the Conservatives are currently concerned. Mr. Young can assert a difference between a “a revenue neutral cap and trade system” and “a carbon tax,” but his government’s position is that anything that puts a price on carbon—which any cap-and-trade system does—is a tax on carbon. So, at least so far as the Conservatives are concerned, there is no difference to be understood.

Here again is the rough guide to the Conservatives’ carbon tax farce. Here is Stephen Gordon’s look at the revenue question. And here is Stephen’s look at emissions regulations.


Navigating the farce, Terrence Young

  1. I have never understood the rules of Parliament that prevent members from calling other members liars. If someone tells a lie, are they not a liar? Is there some alternate universe that exists only in government houses which prevents a lie from being a lie?

    • In this case it is a matter of opinion. To people like Wherry and the NDP there is a difference between Cap and Trade versus a Carbon Tax. To the Cons, if you increase government revenue on carbon no matter what name you call it, the Cons will view it as a Carbon Tax.

      • You mean, to the CPC there is now no difference, and the 2008 policy was eaten by a black hole…

  2. Talking Point Terry a proud legacy

  3. Aaron (may I call you Aaron?),

    I’ve got to say I’ve been loving your coverage of this whole cap-and-trade debacle in the house but isn’t it time to just… I guess, say what it is?

    The Conservative Party is simply fabricating a reality in which the NDP are not proposing a cap-and-trade system.

    I mean hasn’t this stretched beyond farce and into… ‘ok, hang on – these folks have gone BARMY and perhaps need the white, huggy coats’ territory? I think the Conservatives are trying to do the impossible – they’re sheerly *willing* these “facts” into existence via mindless repetition… and I think it’s actually *working*.

    I think the media needs to stop interpreting ‘calling this out’ to be something crass – they’re not relaying any truth, and this is beyond ‘oh maybe there’s wiggle room’ and it’s disgusting. Maybe there’s some crazy journo oath y’all can’t tell us about without us drinking a pint (or were you metricated to a litre?) of chicken blood?