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Nuancing the farce, Part One


 

Appearing on a CBC panel yesterday afternoon, Michelle Rempel suggested that now, with the global economy being fragile, wasn’t the time to put a price on carbon.

Canada entered a recession in the fourth quarter of 2008 and exited in the third quarter of 2009. The global economy, as the Harper government often notes, has remained fragile ever since. The Conservatives proposed cap-and-trade in fall 2008 and pursued it through 2009. And if the American government had decided to pursue cap-and-trade, a price on carbon in Canada might have already been established by now.

The Conservatives promised to pursue cap-and-trade—that is, to put a price on carbon—in their 2008 election platform in the fall of 2008 (in the middle of that campaign, Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy and the stock markets went sideways). The Harper government repeated that promise in the Throne Speech on November 18, 2008. Jim Prentice referenced the commitment in a speech in Poland on December 11, 2008. In June 10, 2009, Jim Prentice announced plans for an offset program that would establish a “price on carbon.” In September 2009, Jim Prentice lobbied the Alberta government to pursue cap-and-trade. In December 2009, the Harper government claimed to be “working in collaboration with the provinces and territories to develop a cap and trade system that will ultimately be aligned with the emerging cap and trade program in the United States.”

In their 2008 platform, the Conservatives projected implementation of a continental cap-and-trade system would “occur between 2012 and 2015.” (Note: It is currently the year 2012.)

The earliest the NDP could form government and, conceivably, begin to establish a price on carbon is 2015, when the next election is expected to occur.


 

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