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Pricing carbon, then and now


 

An urgent bulletin from the Conservative party of Canada.

Today senior Liberal MP Kirsty Duncan confirmed once again that the Liberal Party remains strong supporters of a job-killing carbon tax.  Despite being soundly rejected by Canadians, Liberal MPs and leadership candidates continue to advocate for a carbon tax.  Kirsty Duncan made her comments in an op-ed for iPolitics.ca where she says the “federal government continues to fail in pricing carbon”. (iPolitics.ca, July 17, 2012)

Kirsty Duncan and the Liberal Party are not alone in their support of a job-killing carbon tax.  NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is also a devout supporter of a carbon tax saying it “will provide a lot of revenue”. (NDP Leadership Debate, December 4, 2011)

Prime Minister Harper and our Conservative Government have been clear – we will never bring forward a carbon tax that will kill jobs and drive up the cost of everything.

“The latest Liberal call for a carbon tax shows the Liberal Party still has not gotten the message Canadians sent them in the last two election campaigns,” said Conservative Party spokesperson Fred DeLorey.  “Only Prime Minister Harper and our Conservative Government can be trusted to never bring forward a job-killing carbon tax.”

While the opposition Liberal and NDP are focused on hitting Canadians will a carbon tax that will kill jobs and increase the cost of everything, Prime Minister Harper and our Conservative government will continue to focus on creating jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity for Canadians.

During the last election, both the New Democrats and Liberals promised to pursue a cap-and-trade system and Mr. Mulcair proposed cap-and-trade during the NDP leadership campaign. The Conservatives once promised to pursue a cap-and-trade system, but they now equate cap-and-trade with a carbon tax because, in Peter Kent’s words, “carbon pricing in any form is a carbon tax.” And while the Conservatives now criticize opposition proposals to pursue cap-and-trade, they seem reluctant to categorically rule out the possibility of pursuing a continental cap-and-trade system at some point.

Ms. Duncan also writes that “despite this negativity and his government’s unabated rhetoric regarding a carbon tax, the Prime Minister did previously promise a price on carbon of $65 per tonne.”

This is seemingly a reference to the Harper government’s Turning the Corner plan, which sought to establish a “market price for carbon” by setting up a carbon emissions trading market and offset credits. (The plan also included contributions to a technology fund starting at $15 per tonne of carbon.) Here is how Stephen Harper explained himself in a speech to the Canada-UK Chamber of Commerce in May 2008.

I should mention that while our plan will effectively establish a price on carbon of $65 a tonne, growing to that rate over the next decade, our Government has opted not to apply carbon taxes.

Carbon taxes will establish certainty about price, but not about outcomes. The central purpose of our plan is to create certainty about emissions reductions, not to raise revenue for the government. Our plan will compel industry not just to pay for their carbon emissions but to actually reduce them. Industry has told us they want and they need certainty. Our framework provides that. Clear targets, realistic timelines, fair across the board application. Now industry knows what they need to do and when they need to do it.

Mr. Harper’s distinction between establishing a price on carbon and applying carbon taxes would seem at odds with Mr. Kent’s contention that carbon pricing in any form is a carbon tax.

Here is Andrew Coyne’s comparison of Stephane Dion’s and Mr. Harper’s plans during the 2008 election.


 

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