The carbon tax farce


The Conservative party sent out an “internal memo” over the weekend to warn Conservative MPs that Thomas Mulcair wants to introduce a carbon tax.

“As we prepare to come back to Ottawa for the fall session of Parliament, it is also important to ensure Canadian middle class families understand the threat posed by Thomas Mulcair’s risky and dangerous economic plan,” said the memo, from Conservative national campaign manager Jenni Byrne. “Canadian families know that a tax on carbon is a tax on everything and therefore a tax on everyone.”

At least one backbencher dutifully tweeted his talking points.

The basis for the claim that Thomas Mulcair wants to introduce a carbon tax seems to be the fact that Mr. Mulcair wants to institute cap-and-trade.

Cap-and-trade is precisely what the Conservatives once promised to institute. The Conservatives promised in their 2008 campaign platform to pursue a continental cap-and-trade system and the Harper government repeated the promise in its 2008 Throne Speech. In September 2009, Jim Prentice lobbied the Alberta government on the virtues of 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.”

A little over a year ago, the Environment Minister allowed that a continental cap-and-trade system “can always be something to consider in the future.” And still now the Harper government isn’t willing to offer a straight answer to the question of what it will do if the United States decides to pursue cap-and-trade.

But beginning with the 2011 election, it has become the government’s position that cap-and-trade and a carbon tax are the same thing. This new position renders their previous position—when the Conservatives loudly condemned a carbon tax while promising cap-and-trade—farcical.


The carbon tax farce

  1. A carbon tax is truely just another revenue tax for government. It is hidden under ‘green’ and under ‘clean up those polluting industries’ but it is just another tax for citizens. One hundred percent of all businesses will pass on 100% of the tax to consumers, and nothing will change. That is exactly what happened in Australia, and exactly what will happen in Canada. But the gst is lower… they are saving Canadians tax dollars… ya sure.
    Advice to Canadians… fight it… and get those heinous conservatives out of power before they destroy Canada, sell it to the USA, or intentionally bankrupt it.

    • A carbon tax is indeed revenue for the government, implimented well, the money goes back into programs and rebates to incent and develop green technology and behaviour from business and individuals. It is neither good nor bad, but deemed so by how it is executed and administered. IF as the Greens and the Liberals had suggested at the time with their plans, how the money flows is embedded into the actual legislation what happened in Australia is not likely (unless we are talking massive incompetance). Cap and Trade is what the NDP and the Conservatives hinge their plans on….again niether good nor bad, but the problematic thing with this program is that there is no real impetus for the individual to be ‘green’ and corporations can buy their way out of a lot of sins….unless the legislation addresses that which I haven’t seen from either party. They are not one in the same however, the first rewards with rebate and punishes with tax…..the second allows people to buy their way out of their bad behaviour….problem is that it doesn’t ‘fix’ the issue whihc is the destruction of the environment.

    • “The Reserve Bank of Australia this month raised its forecast for economic growth in 2012 citing consumer demand and the continuing demand from emerging nations including China and India for iron ore, coal and natural gas.”

      Hasn’t hurt investment in Australia, according to Bloomberg News:

      But I’ll certainly consider this when I, the average consumer, am sucking back a cup of my morning bitumen and looking over the papers.

      • Australia is one of the largest exporters of thermal coal in the world and is rushing to build mines to export even more. Although the slowdown in China, may stop many of the new projects, including new railroads, and port facilities from being built, leading to a collapse of the Australian economic bubble. I wouldn’t anything a finance minister of the Labour Party in Australia with a massive lump of coal. Australia’s bubble is about to pop.

        Likewise, thermal coal exports from Obama and his blue states to Asia are also skyrocketing.

        Green hypocrisy is in a massive bull market. Solar and wind advocates never mention the radioactive lakes that are being created in China to mine and refine the rare earth metals required for the solar and wind energy industries.

        The world has been gifted a transition fuel for the next century till when solar and wind and technology for them is actually economic, and that transition fuel is natural gas, with which most carbon reduction targets contemplated by Kyoto and Copenhagen can be met.

    • Of course they pass it on to the consumers.. that’s the point. Passing it on to consumers is what makes consumer behaviour change, which is what drives companies to seek methods to create less waste carbon. Less waste = more efficiency = better economy.

  2. Conservative supporters accept this kind of duplicity because they think they are in on the game. If you want to fleece the same people over and over and over again (as the CPC does) then you have to let them feel like they are in on the scam. So the Cons are quite capable of promising X on the one hand while warning of the danger of X on the other. And their supporters are happy to play along because they feel that they are a part of the hoax. They are “Insiders” and they congratulate themselves on how that clever old fox Harper (or Chretien before him) put one over on those other rubes.

    • That could very well be true, and would explain quite a bit.

      • It is a subjective opinion, of course, but it’s based on years of close observation. I was a Conservative supporter after all, I have seen them work this scam from the inside and from the outside. Every time you see people expressing admiration for how Harper “plays the game” you can be sure that what he is doing is objectively indefensible.

        As an afterthought; this is the reason I read and enjoy Wherry’s writing. People slag him for being biased (and perhaps he is) but he is one of the very few people writing in the Canadian media who has not adopted the attitude of jaded cynicism – that world-weary “sophistication” that journalists affect – that excuses everything as just part of the game.

  3. so what you are saying is, the CPC is lying again. Making up their own truth.

  4. Conservative climate change policy: Don’t just do something, criticize.

  5. Nice planet. Too bad we can’t afford to live here.

  6. The default conservative position seems to be that if the other guy is doing it, it’s wrong.

  7. There you go again AW, didn’t you get the memo that all old positions are rendered obsolete when the Cons adopt a new one? Do we have to get Chris Alexander to smarten you up again?

  8. “Stéphane, we didn’t get it done,” Ignatieff proclaimed. “We didn’t get it done.”

    “This is unfair,” Dion complained. “Do you think it’s easy to set priorities?”

    Maclean’s Feb 2007:

    A former top adviser to Jean Chrétien admitted yesterday the government was not prepared to implement Kyoto at the time it was ratified in 2002. Eddie Goldenberg said the Chrétien government felt signing and ratifying the international treaty was simply a first step in swaying public opinion in favour of changes aimed at addressing climate-change.

    In a speech to the Canadian Club in London, Ontario, Goldenberg said Canadians were not ready at the time for the political changes necessary to meet the targets laid out by the protocol, supporting the agreement’s principles only “in the abstract.”

    “Nor was the government itself even ready at the time with what had to be done,” he said. “The Kyoto targets were extremely ambitious and it was very possible that short term deadlines would, at the end of the day, have to be extended.”

    “I guess it was pretty clear that the Liberals had no intention of meeting the targets when they signed Kyoto because they didn’t do anything to get us there,” NDP leader Jack Layton told reporters after Question Period on Thursday.

    “So I guess what Mr. Goldenberg is intending to suggest is that all they wanted to implement as Liberals were symbols. They didn’t really actually want to do anything about the crisis.”

    • Dion was ahead of his time, voted in as party leader by grass roots delegates and with the LPC not fully behind him, so it WAS hard to set priorities. He also thought Canadians would welcome the self-supporting mechanism behind the Green Shift. And we probably would have, except for the concerted effort by the CPC, NDP, and some in the media to obscure the truth in ’08. Layton helped Harper bring down the Martin gov’t. in ’05 because he wanted the environmental issue for himself. And Harper, of course, wanted to bury it.

  9. I’m having trouble figuring out the carbon footprints of plastics products produced from oil refineries instead of gasoline and diesel, and how much of a refinery can be used to make plastic (I’m guessing 80% and 15% lost in the conversion), because it is corporate IP and they never cared to diversify away from the end of Western Civilization.
    I was hoping for carbon neutrality but testing solar cells (lifetime mostly) seems as hard as for testing new nuke reactors. Plastics in wind are better. Wave would be ideal: scalable.
    The idea is to immediate get whatever the avg grid can take: maybe 10% wind. Then you do everything to find a plastics power banking product; it seems plastics can replace steel for the most part. Then you can make most of the grid plastic. Then you try other plastic applications. Then no one can call you a human extinction threat. One oil exec said we will adapt, but even 22nd centruy GMO crops will fail at 10C. I guess we will eat dogs and eachother? Eat the oil employees? Eat oil? Some human are incapable of adapting to a changing environment. They should be taxed or imprisoned until they stop ending future civilization. Discount Rate in the works by end of year…

  10. It’s hard to be surprised. Despite once calling climate change the greatest threat facing humanity, I think it’s clear where Harper and the Tories stand.

    If the NDP came out advocating that we do NOTHING to try to slow/halt climate change the Tories would be out within hours announcing their plans to help ACCELERATE climate change.

  11. Thank you for being a journalist and not simply copying and pasting talking points from both parties.