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The stars align


 

I have to say, I’m liking Stéphane Dion’s Permanent Tax on Everything™ more with every passing day. The advance reviews are so awful, it has to be good. Remember when Jean Chrétien and Stéphane Dion introduced the Clarity Act in 1999? No, no, you probably don’t. Well, it produced a poo storm of majestic proportions, is what it did, with the press gallery and the super-genius Liberal caucus (Official motto: “If Only We Had Paul Martin Leading Us”) leading the lamentations and grinding of teeth.

“Let sleeping dogs lie,” they said. The very same people who had said discussion of secession rules was a bad idea when separatists were doing well in the polls now argued that discussion of secession rules was a horrible idea because separatists were doing badly in the polls. “Right policy, wrong time,” they said. What they certainly never said was “36 seats in Quebec,” and yet that’s what the Liberals got, including a four-point advantage over the Bloc in the popular vote, after a federal election campaign in which the sovereignist brain trust invoked Chrétien’s supposedly hated name so frequently it sounded like some form of Tourette’s.

Now here’s Stéphane Dion with his Green Shift Permanent Tax on Everything™. The super-genius caucus hates it; the Globe’s chief political strategist wants sleeping dogs let lie; the Tory brain-in-a-jar election team thinks it’s idiotic. None of this is a guarantee of success, but Wells’s Second Law holds that an Ottawa consensus is an awfully tempting thing to bet against.


 

The stars align

  1. Politics abhors a vacuum. The Tories seem to have hidden their own plan for the purpose of bashing Dion’s, so frankly it looks like they don’t have one in the first place. Seems to me the Libs can step into that space and look like a government in waiting.

    Of course counter argument is the Tories will shred this with negative ads. For Stephen Harper is a genius. He is playing chess, while the rest of us are desperately playing for Time with a broken sundial under a clouded sky…

  2. Whoa. Deja vu. You know, Chrétien didn’t give a damn about the reaction, he did it anyways. I hope Dion was paying attention.

  3. I think Chretien didn’t give a damn about the reaction IN OTTAWA. He was gifted with a sense of what local papers and people outside of the Parliament Hill feedback loop/echo chamber would say.

  4. If I was in the Parliamentary Press Gallery, here’s what I would ask Dion:

    “Friends of the Earth’s lawyers today (Wednesday) are asking a Federal Court judge to compel the Conservatives to follow The Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act. This was Pablo Rodriguez’s private members bill that was passed by Parliament in June, 2007. How does your Carbon Shift Plan meet the requirements of this law ?”

  5. I’m looking forward to seeing what Dion has.

    It has to be tax neutral? Taxation is partly about the application of incentive(s) to change behavior so if there is an incentive to become more energy efficient that OK.

    Did I say it has to be tax neutral? The CONservatives will tear it apart if they see a defect in the plan. This is as it should be for an opposition party-in-waiting.

    Canadians know the CONservative will tear it apart anyway, but if it’s another round of oily-the-splot then I think the CONservative response will be a non-starter with Canadians.

    key-words Liberals T A X N E U T R A L! :-)

  6. Personally, I think energy security is the most ressing problem for our society.

  7. Remember that the foundation of the Liberals Clarity Act was mainly taken from Harper’s work – but that is really the whole Liberal strategy – sit back, do nothing, wait for some other party to take the lead and then introduce it as your own.

  8. On October 20 1996 Bill C-341 “An Act to establish the terms and conditions that must apply to a referendum relating to the separation of Quebec from Canada before it can be recognized as a proper expression of the will of the people of Quebec” aka “Quebec Contingency Act (Referendum Conditions)” received first reading. This act was introduced by a reform MP by the name of Stephen Harper. Dion’s Clarity Act was not much more than a copy of that bill. A ripoff really.

  9. How much did the Clarity Act act cost me?

    Plus Dion said this was te wrong way to go year ago when oil was at 6o dollars a barrel, now it’s the right way when oil is at 140.

    No I know the liberal media buzz word for dion is integrety and bold. Plzzz it’s a flip flop and it makes no sense with his past statments. Oh right he is a liberal he gets a pass on that.

    Where is Harper get’s blasted for a promise on the gas tax he made in an election he lost.

    Whatever nice to see your liberal pom,poms out paul a tax is going to change the weather right.

  10. Carbon taxation is NOT revenue neutral. If you believe it is neutral, please provide statistical data to back up your assertion.

    Your musings are flippant and journalistically imprudent. Dion’s carbon tax will be devastating for Canada, especially seniors and young families. Looke to see the effects of this in Europe today.

    Scientists are now leaning towards sun spots and solar activity causing our current global cooling. Advise how a carbon tax will eliminate this solar effect?

    Does anyone actually think for themselves and question politicians stupidity anymore?

  11. Holy cow the Conservatives have come out in force.

    Okay, revenue neutral carbon tax. I think that Gordon Campbell’s conservative credentials are pretty well established. Go check out this link and yu can see how it will be revenue neutral:

    http://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2008/backgrounders/backgrounder_carbon_tax.htm

    Promised personal income tax and corporate income taxcuts. Or does that not count? Are there not enough stats there? Granted this is not Dion’s plan but it is hard to give Dion’s plan when he hasn’t released it yet.

    And besides they are only the opposition… When was the last time our Government gave us anything thoughtful or progressive? A GST cut that every economist (and most Canadians) know is the silliest way to cut taxes? All our current government knows how to do is send up jerks like Van Loan and Poilevre to insult Canadians by their juvenile behaviour in the House of Commons.

    But by all means attack the opposition for trying to create a policy debate. You can have Poilevre chanting “In … out … in … out” if you think that passes for governing.

  12. Carbon taxation is NOT revenue neutral… [it] will be devastating for Canada, especially seniors and young families

    Revenue neutral does not mean that certain individuals won’t be hurt and that others won’t benefit. This will happen. It’s the whole intent. Those who can change their habits and have a large decrease their carbon footprint will see a savings. Those who make a small decrease in their footprint will end up paying about the same in taxes. Those who don’t change or get worse will get proportionally punished.

    Since the broad-based tax cuts will be in the income taxes, that does leave the folks who don’t pay income tax (the poor, some seniors, some young families, etc) at a disadvantage. The program is going to need to take this into account through some type of tax credit or the like.

    What revenue neutral means that, at the end of the day, the amount of taxes coming in to the government under a new taxation structure is about equal to the amount under the old taxation structure. It does NOT mean that every person will pay exactly the same amount of tax they did before — what would be the point in that? The whole idea is to reward good behaviour and punish bad behaviour.

    Scientists are now leaning towards sun spots and solar activity causing our current global cooling. Advise how a carbon tax will eliminate this solar effect?

    I’m sure you think it’s perfectly OK to dump untreated human sewage en masse into rivers and streams because, after all, animal feces get into the water naturally and we’re not working on correcting that.

  13. I am convinced that Dion’s carbon tax… I mean…Permanent Tax on Everything™ holds the key to his success in the next election campaign.

  14. Gotta love Jeffrey Simpson. Sure, he’s seen more transit riders, more people moving closer to work, and changes in consumer preferences surrounding automobiles. But he’s been out on the 401! Empirical evidence is for people with their learner’s permits. Jeffrey is born to be wild.

  15. So, if the carbon tax is intended to be revenue neutral at inception, and it accomplishes its intended purpose of reducing emissions, then it actually represents a tax cut in the long run. Right? Otherwise, where’s the incentive to cut emissions?

    However, if the carbon tax is intended to be revenue neutral in the long run, accounting for the expected reduction in emissions, then in the short term it should represent a rather hefty tax increase.

    And if it’s intended to be revenue neutral both at inception and in the long run, then by assumption, it’s not accomplishing its intended purpose.

    I’m old enough to remember that the GST was also supposed to be revenue neutral, so I’m going with the short-term hefty tax increase, followed by an expected adjustment to revenue neutrality (which may or may not pan out).

  16. When the Macleans added the ability to comment, Harper sayeth “send in the trolls”.

    great post, tedious comments

  17. Again, it’s intended to be revenue neutral in the short and long run.

    It still provides *INDIVIDUAL* incentive, here’s how:

    Let’s take Bob and Susan. They currently both pay $10,000 in income tax each year. Bob takes transit to Tunney’s Pasture from Place d’Orleans, and Susan drives her SUV. Though the Liberals have nixed that idea, I’m going to make my example use a gas tax for simplicity’s sake (easiest example).

    Susan is already financially “punished” by taking her SUV in the form of gas taxes, insurance, car payments, etc. which exceed the cost of the $60/month bus Ecopass that Bob uses. But she still drives.

    So, here’s what the government does. It cuts income taxes to $7,500 for each of Bob and Susan. Yay!

    But then it increases the price of gas (remember, this is just an example of a revenue neutral tax, not what the Liberals are propsing) to make it cost Susan $5000 more, per year, to fill up her Hummer.

    What happened?

    Well, Susan ended up paying $12500 per year in taxes, and Bob ended up paying $7500 per year in taxes. Susan gave Bob $2500, in essence.

    Taxes into the government before the change: $20,000
    Taxes into the government after the change: $20,000

    But what about the long run? What if Susan goes on the bus? Well, in a two person scenario it’s harder to describe, but over a large economy it’s not hard to show. What you do is you keep trying to lower the amount of carbon and other pollutants being released. You keep increasing the disincentives to ensure it’s revenue neutral. I guess if we ever got to near “zero”, in say a few hundred years, you’d have to just leave those disincentives in place and raise the taxes another way. But that’s not going to happen for a long, long, long time and it would be *great* to be in the situation where we had minimized our impact to the environment so much that we couldn’t do any better.

  18. There is already a tax (or several taxes) on everything. Dion’s plan is really, “a whole bunch more tax on everything”!

  19. “Remember that the foundation of the Liberals Clarity Act was mainly taken from Harper’s work”

    Thank you. Liberals do not have a great history of implementing untried ideas. They have a great history of adopting ideas others have already trial-ballooned, or taken a beating for — saying they are opposed, then implementing them themselves or not reversing them.

    I suspect that Dion is ploughing ahead with this risky (politically and otherwise) scheme because his enemies in the party have made crystal-clear that he has one shot at winning an election. So he may as well run on something he believes in. If he loses, well, “apres-moi le deluge.”

    Apropos Andrew above (who said what I meant better than I could), say this plan starts as “revenue neutral.” Presumably, if it succeeds in reducing “things we don’t want” by taxing them more, then the tax revenue from bad things will at some point decline, leading to a real decline or depressed growth in tax revenue. How does that lost revenue get made up? Will there be cuts? (Harper already cut the subsidies to the oil industry.) Or will the initial tax “cuts” be rolled back? All will be revealed this summer, I guess.

    Too bad Harper’s not available to pen this plan for Dion too.

  20. Greetings from BC, you know where you all think we love the Carbon Tax. Well FYI it is the most insane thing to EVER come out of this government and illustrates exactly why Dion’s Carbon Tax will end up penalizing everyone who does not live in a densely populated area.

    BC Carbon tax is going to hit truckers and those of us who need to drive larger vehicles which will drive up the cost of everything.

    Please tell me how an independent trades person who has to transport his equipment can switch to a smaller vehicle. Similarly those of us that live in the mountains and have to drive in winter conditions cannot drive smart cars.

    What about persons with disabilities who need to transport heavy equipment. It is fine in theory to pontificate this nonsense but the reality does not ring true.

    I believe if you look at Dion you will see that the Emperor is not wearing any clothes. Cheers.

  21. Excellent point, Vicguy. But what about things that haven’t even been invented yet? Won’t Stéphane Dion’s Permanent Tax On Everything be a tax on those things too? I think you know the answer. I think it will. It is a Large Permanent Tax on Things Known and Unknown. Also, because thought needs concrete goods to become reality, it’s a tax on Thought. What kind of tax on Thought? That’s right. It’s a Permanent Tax on Thought.

  22. “Remember that the foundation of the Liberals Clarity Act was mainly taken from Harper’s work – but that is really the whole Liberal strategy – sit back, do nothing, wait for some other party to take the lead and then introduce it as your own.”

    Maureen, what a delusional hoot you are. When you say “introduce as your own”, I wonder if you are referring to cancelling all the Liberal programs, then after realizing you are in political trouble, you dust off said programs and then throw an Eco in front of it, as though original. Is that the sort of thing you mean?

  23. Scott, thanks for the toy example, but it’s too simple to be meaningful. For one thing, you’re assuming that neither Bob nor Susan changes their behavior within a year of the tax being implemented.

  24. Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t there news reports this morning saying that gasoline is in fact exempt from Dion’s Tax on Everything?

  25. Please tell me how an independent trades person who has to transport his equipment can switch to a smaller vehicle.

    Again, no one is saying that individuals won’t be hurt. They will be.

    Truckers may lose their jobs as more and more freight moves onto rail. Your indepandent tradesperson may have to charge more to out-of-town clients for his service, which may result in a loss of business as people instead choose to use their local tradesperson.

    Those who live in the mountains may not be able to drive Smart cars… no one is suggesting that everyone has to drive the smallest vehicle available, that’s ridiculous. But you may opt to get an gasoline-extended-range electric vehicle which can easily handle the altitude and tonnes of horsepower and torque but has a much lower carbon footprint. And you can choose to only charge it at night, when there is excess capacity on the electric grid due to base generation (meaning there’s no extra electricity produced). Then if you only use 5 L of gas a week, the carbon footprint is much lower.

  26. Is any tax really “Revenue Neutral”?? There has to be some cost in the management of the tax, no?? Rolling the thing out will have a cost. Forcing everyone who sells anything that is taxed to collect it, manage it, submit it monthly/quarterly/yearly is “neutral”. Nope. The Feds accounting of such a tax will cost nothing??? Nope. I am not making an argument for or against the plan …. I just simply submit that there is no such thing as a “Revenue Neutral” tax.

  27. For one thing, you’re assuming that neither Bob nor Susan changes their behavior within a year of the tax being implemented.

    Feel free to read the rest of the post, instead of stopping where you’re outraged.

  28. Forcing everyone who sells anything that is taxed to collect it, manage it, submit it monthly/quarterly/yearly is “neutral”. Nope. The Feds accounting of such a tax will cost nothing???

    Yep, but that’s on the other side of the ledger. Revenue neutral means just that — it takes in the same amount of revenue. It does not talk to costs.

    Indeed, I suspect you’re right, it will create a bunch more headache (and associated jobs) for Revenue Canada.

  29. uh JB? Ever heard of the Canada Revenue Agency? The “management of the tax” structure is already in place.

    Furthermore, it is my understanding that Dion has stated that he wants the Auditor General to monitor the carbon tax.

  30. Between the call for the Auditor General to monitor the Liberal promise of revenue neutrality and the gasoline exemption, looks to me like the Tories (and a whole bunch of commentators) jumped the gun and will soon be sitting with egg on their face.

  31. Scott M., when the Tories added a whole heap of tax credit packages and the creation of that new tax free investment account, did we see the creation of a new infrastructure?

  32. Scott, I wonder where you get the idea that I’m outraged. I actually like the carbon tax, but it’s always wise to be skeptical when a tax is claimed to be revenue-neutral, because true revenue neutrality requires far more precision than is possible in the federal bureaucracy. I did not discuss the end of your first post because your hand-waving actually supports my thesis, rather than yours.

  33. Maybe I’m missing something, but no one said that there would have to be a new department or anything. JB was stating that it will cost something to collect the tax, and I am agreeing. The point I was making to JB is that “Revenue Neutral” speaks of *revenue*, not of costs.

    I’m sure it cost something to administer the tax credits too. The more complex the tax structure, the more it costs.

    That’s not to detract from the policy. If the policy is sound, the cost to implement it is negligable in the larger scheme of things.

  34. I did not discuss the end of your first post because your hand-waving actually supports my thesis.

    So we agree. Whew! I was worried there.

  35. boudica states “uh JB? Ever heard of the Canada Revenue Agency? The “management of the tax” structure is already in place.”

    boudica, please. Do you really think there will be no cost at CRA and all the businesses forced to collect this thing. I think you are missing my point. That being, you cannot take 1$ from someone, manage the heck out of it, and expect to have $1 come out the other end. I suspect the good folks at CRA are not volunteering their time. And the infrastructure ain’t free. So, completely “neutral” … no way.

  36. So today Air Canada laid off 2000 workers due to the high cost of fuel. How many more staff will be laid off if Dion gets to add his carbon tax to the price of jet fuel ? Maybe some Air Canada workers can show up at his Press Conference tomorrow and ask him how his Carbon Tax will help them get their job back.

    All the while the planet, despite rising CO2 levels, continues its ten+ year cooling trend, the Sun remains very “calm” and the Astrophysics community is warning of an impending long term cooling phase – another Little Ice Age.

    The Media continues to publish press releases from the global EcoAlarmists as if they were real news. Reading the MSM you would think the polar ice caps are shrinking – they are not, and the polar bear is in trouble – their populations are at record high levels. Some people are actually questioning how CO2, a minor trace gas in our atmosphere, has been packaged up in a great PR campaign and sold as the evil planet killer that requires $trillion dollar changes to the economies of the planet.

    Global Warming is morphing into Climate Change so that anything that happens can be “blamed” on the evil of human activity. Our climate is a chaotic dynamic system in a state of constant change. Change is the normal condition of our climate. When you think about it, the phrase “Climate Change” is as ridiculous as saying “Water Wet”

  37. I did not discuss the end of your first post because your hand-waving actually supports my thesis, not yours.

    So we agree. Whew! I was worried there. What I said at the end of the post was a part of my post and shouldn’t be severed from the rest. Over a long, long period of time the disincentives will become moot, and another form of taxation will have to take over. But that’s over a very long time indeed — if they made MAJOR disincentives right now, effective immediately, it would cause economic chaos. The right way to do it is slowly, over time, making it less and less palitable to pollute the environment.

    The argument that this will, eventually, achieve it’s goal and become moot doesn’t speak to it’s effectiveness, nor it’s Revenue Neutrality, in the next few decades.

    That being said, you are correct in saying that the government will have to keep a close eye on the revenues coming in to make sure they’ve got the right balance. Hopefully the enabling legislation will allow them to fine-tune controls throughout the year should things be off-the-mark. My assumption is that any excess of revenue in a year would be credited back in that year’s tax returns (I personally would like it to go to the debt [it’s just fair], but I know I won’t get my way). I’m not certain what they would do about a shortfall, other than make sure that there’s no way of having a shortfall.

  38. (i)revenue neutral means that, at the end of the day, the amount of taxes coming in to the government under a new taxation structure is about equal to the amount under the old taxation structure. It does NOT mean that every person will pay exactly the same amount of tax they did before — what would be the point in that? The whole idea is to reward good behaviour and punish bad behaviour.(/i)

    Whatever! It’s just another nimrod proposal to distribute the tax dollars of hard working Canadians to liberals and their friends. That’s the bad behaviour if you ask me!

    John

  39. Scott M “The point I was making to JB is that “Revenue Neutral” speaks of *revenue*, not of costs”

    Ah, that is the problem. In my business, if I only look at the revenue side of the books … and don’t take into account the costs … I’m in trouble. Simple. I’m willing to bet if you were to ask the Liberals how much it would cost, they would reply with “it’s Revenue Neutral”. Again, I am not arguing the merits of the tax, I’m arguing the sale of it.

  40. Whatever! It’s just another nimrod proposal to distribute the tax dollars of hard working Canadians to liberals and their friends.

    That’s right, all of your tax money is going towards Stephane Dion’s night on the town. Silly me.

    Don’t let any government tell you what to do! Those people at the Electricity Authority telling you to conserve on hot days — who do they think they are! And those signs in airports asking people to wash their hands… please. If you want to wipe and run you shouldn’t be made to feel guilty.

    Down with power!

  41. I have to agree with Sandra – whatevger you do if you want a carbon tax do not and I repeat do not use Gordon Campbell in BC as a template. Boy the heat is on out here on ol’ Gordie and that is for sure. By the way lest I forget … The last thing we need is more creative tax shifting (shifty taxes god I love that line as it is just so damned true)Since when has any revenue neutral tax been neutral becuase every time I hear that promise I cringe.

  42. I’m willing to bet if you were to ask the Liberals how much it would cost, they would reply with “it’s Revenue Neutral”.

    Indeed, many individual MPs would probably say that. Ralph Goodale probably wouldn’t, nor would Paul Martin or Garth Turner or anyone else who’s led Revenue Canada/CCRA/CRA.

    The language is correct though, revenue neutral does not mean no increase in costs, it simply means no change in revenue.

    Considering the size of the change though, I can’t imagine the cost to implement it would be the deciding factor in anyone’s mind. “I would support the Carbon Tax if the cost to implement it was only $X million per year, but at $Y million? That extra $Y-X million is too much. I can’t support the idea.”

  43. Scott,
    You wrote: “The whole idea is to reward good behaviour and punish bad behaviour.”

    Exactly. This is a sin tax, and it is a waste of time (and carbon) to argue the toss about revenue neutrality etc.

    You simply want to punish the bad people driving big cars and using their air-conditioning wastefully etc., and reward the good people traveling on the buses, eating local etc.

    Unfortunately, the former will simply find another way to spend their money and waster carbon, and the latter were not being “good” for financial reasons anyway.

    The law of unintended consequences will turn some other result from this sin tax, but I doubt that you will see any benefit to your own noble purpose.

  44. “With cap-and-trade, the price is hidden and the effect is seen as limiting emissions.”
    – A. Denny Ellerman

  45. “The first part of the Liberal plan actually involves a tax cut, Hall Findlay said.”

    The first part of the subprime meltdown was the sub prime mortgage. It was the second part that smoked ’em.

    If first part = enticingly good, the second part usually sucks.

  46. Unfortunately, the [wasteful people] will simply find another way to spend their money and waster carbon, and the [good people] were not being “good” for financial reasons anyway.

    The law of unintended consequences will turn some other result from this sin tax, but I doubt that you will see any benefit to your own noble purpose.

    That’s a genuine ideological difference we have, and a good debate. Is the taxation structure a good carrot/stick approach to changing people’s behaviour?

    I think it is. Individuals don’t like to pay taxes. I certainly don’t. If they can get out of it easily, they will. I argue that if you give them an easy way out (being more ecologically sound), more of them will choose to do it than won’t. The brief history of priced carbon does show that to be true.

    Companies also don’t like taxes but for a different reason, the more taxes they pay the less profit they can make (if the pass on the taxes they lose market share which results in a loss of profit, if they eat the costs it comes right out of profit). As such, they’ll find a way to pay as little tax as possible. Some companies may close up shop, others may become more ecologically sound, others may decentralize and have more, smaller operations.

    But you’re right about unintended consequences… I’m sure there will be some. There always are.

    But isn’t that an argument towards never making any type of change, and not specifically against this type of change? Or do you perceive that a carbon tax has a disproportionately high chance of unintended consequences (than would another broad-based tax change similar in scope)?

  47. “The first part of the Liberal plan actually involves a tax cut, Hall Findlay said.”

    That’s not to say that it will come *before* other changes, only that it’s included in the first stage. In other words, I wouldn’t expect a income tax cut that didn’t happen at the same time as a carbon tax introduction.

  48. Whatever you say about the plan, at least Dion is willing to engage the whole nation on a different way of thinking. That’s kind of what leadership meant — putting your job and career on the line for something you believe in.

    If only we knew what Harper believes in. Besides, strategy that is.

  49. Scott M.

    You might rig it so they get their income tax cut on their next return and the carbon tax comes in after that. Coyne speculated along similar lines the other day.

  50. You might rig it so they get their income tax cut on their next return and the carbon tax comes in after that. Coyne speculated along similar lines the other day.

    Yuck. That’s not revenue neutral, that’s just ugly vote buying. Most people get tax cuts immediately through payroll deduction or quarterly, there’s no need to have a full year to “catch up”. It wouldn’t change my mind about the necessity to do it, but it would taint it a bit in my mind.

  51. “Yuck. That’s not revenue neutral”

    Exactly. Not that I wouldn’t mind some extra cash for the period … but how do they make up that year 1 shortfall?

    I can just imagine the “Drive Your SUV to the mailbox to file your return” party’s at the end of the first year.

  52. Every Canadian over the age of two knows that when a Liberal says tax cut, you grab your wallet and run far away fast.

    Most politicians and the truth have but the merest passing acquaintance, but Liberals and tax cuts could have been the inspiration for “Strangers in the Night”.

  53. I’m guessing we won’t hear much about the article explaining the Liberals “revenue neutrality” as comprising a $17 Billion carbon tax increase and a $10 to 13 Billion tax decrease.

    Usual Liberal redefinition of words that USED to have a meaning everyone understood.

  54. Most politicians and the truth have but the merest passing acquaintance, but Liberals and tax cuts could have been the inspiration for “Strangers in the Night”.

    So your argument against a Carbon Tax is that it’s introduced by a party you don’t trust? Really?

    Isn’t that an argument against making any changes whatsoever? Surely you are equally upset about the “broken promise” of the Capital Gains Deferal and the “broken promise” of the Income Trusts by the Conservatives as you are of the “broken promise” of the elimination of the GST by the Liberals? Is there a party you can trust to make any changes?

    Really, it’s moot. What do you think about the actual proposal?

  55. I’m guessing we won’t hear much about the article explaining the Liberals “revenue neutrality” as comprising a $17 Billion carbon tax increase and a $10 to 13 Billion tax decrease.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to debate the numbers *after* they’re publicly made available?

  56. Come, come, Scott. If you wait til the numbers are released people can call you a liar with proof. Get your own numbers out first and you can get people spreading the lie before it’s obvious what they’re doing.

  57. Zap you’re frozen! Or not.

    No 18 cent gas tax! How about 84 cents?

    Rip down that Nafta. Mebbe not.

    GST be gone. Fooled again.

    Adscam. Shawinigate. Fountains. Flags. Canoes.

    Nah. Can’t see how anyone could ever trust the principleless brokerage party called Liberals.

    Harper, 2 and 1/2 years into a minority govt, defers a promise and breaks one that has zero benefit to him, but immense benefit to the country. Please.

  58. It seems odd that a planet-saving measure has to be sold on the basis that it won’t cost us anything!

    Let’s suppose that it is revenue neutral AND it effectively and demonstrably reduces canada’s carbon emissions. Assuming this is a good thing (and if China and India don’t bother, that is debatable), should we not then increase the carbon tax to further reduce our carbon emissions?

    But we should probably assume some economic dislocation as well. Is the extra revenue from the carbon taxes to be used to offset the pain? How would this be measured or even connected directly to the supposed cause?

    Do we have to imagine some huge central computer spitting out carbon footprint statements to measure everything we do and tax it accordingly? Who are these super-scientists who will decide who can do what and at what cost?

    The logical conclusion of this is thoroughly orwellian.

  59. Harper, 2 and 1/2 years into a minority govt, defers a promise and breaks one that has zero benefit to him, but immense benefit to the country. Please.

    I’m sure we could get into a big listing of who did or didn’t do what, when, and do an apples-to-apples comparison of each of those issues. Suffice it to say you’re compairing decades of Liberal majority governments to just over 2 years of a Conservative minority government – hardly a fair comparison. Again, it’s moot.

    Do you have an argument against the idea of the tax shift? Not against the party proposing it, but against the idea? There are valid points worthy of debate, and a few have been presented here. But saying you don’t like the party doesn’t talk to the idea whatsoever.

    I’ll make it simpler: Let’s pretend no one thought of it yet. No party has taken a position. Would you like the idea if it originally came from your favourite party?

  60. A Librano$ tax based on junk science? Great idea Dion, good luck with that.

  61. As Scott M. said “…no one is saying that individuals won’t be hurt. They will be.” Since not a single person was “hurt” by the Clarity Act, I think we can agree on all sides that the comparison drawn was ridiculous?

  62. I am certainly against the tax grab. I fear it is moot. Your own Glorious Leader has proclaimed the end of the world by 2012? if he was not elected with his life saving Kyoto plan? You remember Kyoto?

    But it doesn’t matter. Global warming or whatever you are calling it now is just a tool for the social tools. And too many tools believe them.

  63. I have one question that will never be answered by the Fiberals .. oops partisan statement .. I mean Liberals. How much will the Administration cost and how many new people will be hired in the bureaucracy – being as I am a bureaucrat though Provincial beleve when I tell you I know how all this works and dollars will get you timbits that it will cost millions to administer and add entire layers to existing bureaucracy with hidden costs that more often than not are not clearly tallied and will always increase as that is the nature of the beast!

  64. But we should probably assume some economic dislocation as well. Is the extra revenue from the carbon taxes to be used to offset the pain? How would this be measured or even connected directly to the supposed cause? … [at] what cost?

    Again, more good questions. I look forward to their proposal. I assume one can look at other juristictions internationally who have implemented a similar tax and learn from them.

    You were absolutely right before when you said that there will be unintended consequences. And intended, upsetting consequences as well.

    I hope against all hope that the plan isn’t sold as all puppy-dogs-and-roses. It won’t be. There will be some individuals who suffer. Some companies will close their doors permanently.

    The hope is that, done properly, the economy overall should be able to withstand the impact and adapt. We need to do something and we shouldn’t just grab onto this because it’s “something”, we should do the right thing.

    Over the next few weeks, sensible people will be debating whether it’s the right thing to do (as opposed to ad hominum attacks, etc). Maybe their plan will be the right one. Maybe it’ll need a bit of tweaking, or some major changes. And maybe it’ll need to be scrapped altogether in favour of something better.

    Exciting times we live in!

  65. Scott – are you and St Dion off your head? “There will be some individuals who suffer.” And you seriously expect people to buy into this plan?

  66. I’ll give you a revenue neutral tax, ok? Try this one on for size. Liberals, keep your flippin’ cotton pickin’ tax greedy corrupt hands off my wallet! There. With this concept, there is just as much coming in as going out.

  67. How much will the Administration cost and how many new people will be hired in the bureaucracy

    JP brought this up before and it’s still a good question (though this time buried in partisan poo).

    I don’t know if it’s normal to give estimates on the increase in civil service for tax measures. Does anyone know? Was it done for the last round of tax measures? For instance, do we know how much it cost to support the Child Care Benefit or the Transit Pass exemption?

    Were there estimates on the original cost to implement the GST? How about the fuel excise tax or tobacco taxes?

    Who generates these estimates?

  68. “There will be some individuals who suffer.” And you seriously expect people to buy into this plan?

    I’m confused. Some people benefit and others lose. How is this any different from any other changes to the tax code over time?

    How is this different from the current ecoAUTO program brought in by our current government? People buying gas guzzlers pay, people buying a Prius get a rebate.

    Some people suffer, others benefit.

    Excise tax on alcohol is paid by users of alcohol. Non-drinkers benefit in that their taxes are lower.

    There’s dozens of examples. What’s different here?

  69. Actually, my understanding is that the ecoAUTO program is a trick that will devastate small families.

  70. Sorry, an insane trick that will devastate small families. I keep forgetting parts.

  71. “I’ll make it simpler: Let’s pretend no one thought of it yet. No party has taken a position. Would you like the idea if it originally came …”

    I’m not your intended target .. but here goes (from an effect on the individual basis). This plan is going to try and reward those who make adjustments to their “footprint” so to speak. It will place a tax on some things that I will continue to do. Like … eat … and heat my house … and power my fridge … and do my laundry … etc …etc. I cannot think of one of my friends who is not currently trying to be more efficient at the afore-mentioned activities already. We’ve bought more efficient vehicles (just ask Oshawa). We are doing, as consumers ($) and individuals (to be greener), the things many of us should be doing. If I could ride the bus, I would, but I can’t due to reasons the government can ever control. Are people like me and my friends going to be collateral damage in this plan? Do those of us who have already made an effort going to be punished for jumping the gun? My problem with the plan is I think people like me make up a fairly sizable chunk of Cdn society … and will vote accordingly.

    And the law of unintended consequences (mentioned in an earlier post) looms large. > Cigarette taxes = > cigarette boats on the St Lawrence. The intention is good, and seems to be working with less smoking, but you end up spending money in areas you may not have intended (in the above case, enforcement, organized crime, etc). Do you think the Revenue Neutral plan has a slush for those contingencies? Beats me … but if I were a betting man …

  72. Dont give Chretien credit for too much.The only reason he ever got elected was the Conservatives and Alliance-Reform thing was going on and he was a typical liberal liar.Get rid of the GST etc Red book promises etc.The people of Ontario in their drug induced state of mind Elected this guy on lies and promises the same way they elected McGuinty.What is it with these idiot Ontario voters that they cant take the truth,but lies are the greatest thing.And dont forget that they felt sorry for Chretien 1 election because someone made a mistake and made fun of the way he talked,so bingo the fool was elected again and we were stuck with the worst embarrassment in our history.For gods sake the man could not be understood when he spoke to anyone or on the world stage.A proof is a proof if it is proven.Now we have another idiot trying to save us from something that is not there.Its a scam and it is being kept alive mainly by Ontario again.ONTARIO,,,KYOTO is the biggest scam ever perpetrated on mankind and you are fools.You are destroying your country and your province by buying into some other countries dream of taking your riches and your jobs.That is why i stated earlier that you must be on drugs because sane people can see whats happening,but the KYOTO,s dont and wont listen.You are putting your own family out of work and depriving them of owning transportation and houses,because of your relentless idiotic chase for the the Dion,Gore,Suzuki scam.

  73. In my post … various locations … “plan” “plan” “plan”

    Whoopsie’s …. I fell for it already. I meant to say alleged plan.

    Phew … they almost got me thinking it was a real plan.

  74. LOL… for some reason I just pictured people smuggling carbon across the border… forgive me.

    Do you think the Revenue Neutral plan has a slush for [unintended] contingencies [such as increased enforcement, etc]?

    I doubt it, though I doubt there were costs set aside for increased enforcement when the cigarette taxes were raised.

    I think you’d probably be disappointed in how well thought out most legislation is going through the house. But we still pass legislation, and for the most part the world doesn’t end.

    That’s not to say we shouldn’t try and ask all the questions we can of our politicians (of all stripes) and get them to provide as much information as possible. That’s their job.

    On the other hand, unless it is tradition to have clear estimates on how much each change to the tax system will cost in administration, I don’t know if you can fault a plan just because they didn’t do what everyone else doesn’t do.

  75. As I listen to the Liberals and all of the poster here justify this Tax as revenue neutral I get a niggling feeling like deja vu.

    All that comes to mind when I hear this is the famous ‘gun registry’ and how it was only going to cost 2 million dollars. That was true because of what Allan Rock was NOT telling us. The Libs had intended to download the administration of the program to the provinces as it is provincial jurisdiction. The provinces refused and the government had to set up a whole new burocracy which cost 2 billion dollars.

    Is this starting to sound familiar. Did I not hear Dion say that he was going to harmonize the Carbon Tax with the provinces, i.e. the provinces will have to administer the tax. That is how the feds will say it is revenue neutral.

    They just don’t tell you that your provincial taxes will go up to pay for it. If the provinces don’t go along then it is the ‘gun registry’ revisited.

    BC is so angry at Campbell and his latte sipping friends and our tax is only minimal compared to what Dion is proposing. I really cannot imagine the rest of the country voting to elect someone who will inflict this assinine policy. Remember Campbell did not run on this tax. He only implemented it after he was elected.

  76. Bad argumens, JB. If you’ve already reduced your carbon footprint significantly, then presumably any increase in the price of your greener lifestyle will be more than compensated for by the reduction in income tax. If it isn’t, then now you have more incentive to look for new ways. Maybe replacing the windows in your home with more energy efficient ones will make economic sense. Maybe pulling a little out of the mortgage to invest in a geo-thermal heating system as opposed to heating oil will suddenly be seen as something feasible. While you can’t ride the bus, maybe green taxes will make your current vehicle not so appealing any more either and a trade in for a lesser, smaller vehicle will be in order. I don’t know your situation, but you can’t tell me that you’re doing all of the things that could be done to green your lifestyle. If you are, then you’re already at an economic disadvantage from the rest of us (because there’s little economic incentive for a lot of them) so the plan would benefit you considerably.

    Similarly while there may be unintended consequences, these can cut both ways. For instance, with reduced income tax levels comes a reduction in people’s desire to make the effort to dodge income tax, thus requiring less money spent on tax enforcement on that end.

  77. “his latte sipping friends”

    Sandra, I believe you owe an apology to lattes.

  78. “Suffice it to say you’re compairing decades of Liberal majority governments to just over 2 years of a Conservative minority government – hardly a fair comparison. Again, it’s moot.”

    I agree. The CPC needs a majority so we can compare apples to apples.

    On the other hand, if you’d like to suggest a recent two year Liberal period Scott, there are many who would be glad to go over it with a fine tooth comb. Looking closely at the Liberal record doesn’t usually go too well for them though.

    John

  79. “If you’ve already reduced your carbon footprint significantly, then presumably any increase in the price of your greener lifestyle will be more than compensated for by the reduction in income tax.”

    That remains to be seen … for that we’ll have to wait for the plan.

    And btw, all my windows are new … and my vehicle has been downsized, and I’m trying to buy local … etc … etc. I’m just pointing out the challenge that lies ahead in selling this thing.

  80. I humbly apologize to all ‘lattes’. Cheers.

  81. Scott M: “LOL… for some reason I just pictured people smuggling carbon across the border… forgive me.”

    Unintended Consequence: Smugglers getting more fuel efficient boats … sweet.

  82. “It seems odd that a planet-saving measure has to be sold on the basis that it won’t cost us anything!”

    Considering we in Canada only make up 2% of the world’s GHG’s I question whether this “sacrifice” of ours will be worth it. I find it very worrisome.

  83. Looks like 1979 all over again with the difference that the “bold, honest” side is not in government.

    I suspect that no matter how you dress it up it will be seen as a tax increase. At the end of the day it will always need to be sold on its merits that we are taxing something we want less consumption of….if people dont buy that explaination, carbon is bad, then it will all fail miserably.

    Selling Carbon = Warming in the summer is wise, selling it in what seems to be a cooler than average summer with high gas prices is less wise.

    Mr Wells is right, the expectations are so low now that it can only come across as better than any of the critics have painted it….or it will be a huge yawner because it doesnt affect anyone in a positive manner.

    I suspect it will be a big yawn that will be ignored by most unless it is truely awful then it will be known for living down to expectations. This is a policy a majority government brings in….like when the GST was brought in….

  84. George: So you’re willing to do your part only if others do theirs first? How Christian of you.

    We are one of the richest nations in the world. Because of this, we are among the most suited to be able to make the kinds of changes needed without making our lives unbearable. (Some would argue that we will make them uncomfortable — I’d argue that such a phase would be transitory at worst, and that a green economy will actually lead to more jobs and innovation, but that’s a separate debate)

    If we can’t make the changes to our lives, regardless of whether it has overwhelming effect to this global problem, how on earth can we then look at other nations less suited to be able to do this without causing themselves extreme hardship and be able to say with clear conscience “You guys should really go green so that we over here don’t end up suffering because of your actions.”

  85. There has to be something strategic to announcing a policy and then waiting for your opponents to attempt to define it before the details are released. I suspect now that it was done this way intenionally. Let the media, the Tories and the NDP bash it for weeks, bring everybody in close and then fire a knock out punch when the detail are released. It is possible.

  86. I’d like to see Dion explain how his new carbon tax is revenue neutral to a senior on a fixed income, paying no income tax, who now in the face of already crazy energy prices (his price for home heating oil has more than doubled in the past year) has to pay this new tax on top of it just to heat his home and turn on his lights.

    I’m sure this hypothetical senior will be absolutely thrilled about the revenue neutrality of it all.

  87. In fact, I’m fairly sure that if you read the fine print of Dion’s plan, seniors like the one in John G’s plan are to be rounded up and executed. Systematically, and in the cruellest possible manner.

  88. john: You’ve heard of refundable tax credits?

  89. How did this become my plan?

    And only a year ago, he was against a carbon tax altogether. Given the magnitude of his flip-flop so far, and his propensity to threaten to do something like bring down the government before he changes his mind…well, it’s not much of a stretch for me to believe that he’ll change his mind about extending it to gasoline…unless he’s going to argue that we want ‘more of’ gas consumption???

    And all of this so that Canada can eliminate, maximum, about 0.5% of the world’s GHG output over the next 20 years?

  90. “And all of this so that Canada can eliminate, maximum, about 0.5% of the world’s GHG output over the next 20 years?”

    I hear this line of argumentation all the time from Conservatives and I find it baffling.

    Coincidentally, 0.5% was also the approx. percentage of casulties (as a percentage of total casulties) suffered by Canada in the Great War. Would you suggest our sacrifices in the war were meaningless? That we didn’t contribute? If so, I hope the ghost of Arthur Currie will sneak into your house and slap you while you’re sleeping.

    Can you imagine Robert Borden saying “you know what.. Canada is a very small country. We’re not going to make a difference to the outcome of the war either way. I think we’ll just sit this one out.”

    There is a certain logic to that kind of thing… but it seems inherently un-Tory.

  91. Scott M: Might I state the obvious….a tax means less money in my pocket. What sane person wants to pay more taxes?

    Please provide statistics to back up your assertion that this carbon tax is truly neutral. And, when you can prove to the world that you live in a cave and are following all the crap that the “global Warming” Socialists are trying to stuff down our throats, I will then give some thought to your ramblings.

    Until then, stop bloviating. You are increasing your carbon footprint!!

  92. Eerily similar to Canada’s military contribution to the Global War on Terror. Let’s cancel that too.

  93. Mike Moffat that’s a crazy comparison for 2 reasons.

    1) The cause in WWII was proven and known to be noble. Can you say the same about AGW??? I sure can’t…there is a large mountain of evidence out there that AGW is not a man-made phenomenon.

    2) Canada punched well above it’s weight in the world wars. The casualty count is meaningless; the war was a series of smaller battles.Canada’s contribution to WINNING the war was much greater than 0.5%.

    But for reducing GHG emissions, there are no “smaller battles”. We can’t do better than 0.5%, and those that are emitting 50% or more show no inclination to do better.

  94. The difference is, Chretien didn’t have the Clarity Act as his main plank in the election.

    Just as Gordon Campbell and McGuinty know, you can’t win an election by promising to raise taxes.

  95. “Revenue neutral” only applies to the government treasury, not individual Canadians.

    The AG cannot adjudicate on individual tax fairness, only government departments. It would be next to impossible to monitor individual Canadians for tax fairness/unfairness.

    All that a Dion Liberal government can do is attempt to balance government revenues and expenses .. nothing more.

    A lot of people will be gored by this Green Shift carbon tax.

  96. “1) The cause in WWII was proven and known to be noble. Can you say the same about AGW??? I sure can’t…there is a large mountain of evidence out there that AGW is not a man-made phenomenon.”

    First of all, I was talking about World War *I*.

    Besides the fact, that’s an entirely seperate issue. If your problem is with the goal, then say it’s with the goal.

    But if we’re going to suggest that we shouldn’t contribute because our contributions will necessarily be small, then we should follow that logic everywhere.. including as Mr. Wells mentions, the “War on Terror”.

  97. Keep in mind that right now BC has a Carbon Tax law, but no carbon tax – that doesn’t kick in until 01 July. The true political impact won’t be felt then either, because Gordo has launched his “I believe Al Gore is Correct Tax” by giving all taxpayers a $100 Eco-Bribe of sugar to help the medicine go down.

    $100 bucks is about a tank of gas & a Grande no fat with swirls for us good folks in BC. The anger felt now will really rise up after the Eco-bribe tankful is gone and the latte has been digested. I know people who despise the NDP but will give them their vote unless Gordo backs down.

    Another really cold winter like we just had and our Spring election will be a very different affair for Gordo. His conversion on the road to Kyoto will likely be a few years late and 2.4 cents/litre short.

    People here are doing the slow roast on this one.

  98. So they’re going to vote NDP to protest against a tax. Because there’s no defying the common sense of the common people.

  99. Funny how $100 is now insignificant, 22mpg.

    Back in the 2006 election, when it was a $100 (before tax) baby bonus, $100 was apparently arrogant to think that this did not matter to parents.

    Back in the 2006 election, when it was a GST cut (instead of an income tax cut, and a GST cut that would help cause inflation to quickly eclipse the cut), $100 was better in your and my pocket now than the government’s.

    Back in the 2006 election…

    … oh, you get the point.

  100. The Clarity Act was a brainstorm for Chretien because it’s similar to a bill introduced during the 2nd Session, 35th Parliament, 1996-97, by Harper who introduced Bill C341, which went to first reading and then was squashed by the Liberal majority government of the little shyster from Shawinigan.

    It’s also based on the Supreme Court ruling that identified the points covered by the law (clear question, defined majority and consent of the provinces). It was also the same court hearing that the Liberals tried to avoid but were forced into participating in because of the the lawyer from Quebec – Guy Bertrand – who filed a private suit against the Quebec government asking that future referendums like that of 1995 be prevented.

    Otherwise, we would still be debating separatism thanks to the Liberals.

  101. Um…here’s a strange thought..why not take the next 20 years and get our GHG emissions under control? Does that seem too simple? Mr Moffatt..Canada has no control over the worlds GHG emissions. If you were to be honest you would agree with that. Canadians could all live in tents and eat grass for the next 20 years and the worlds GHG emissions would still rise, so, why not take the money that is going to be pissed away with GHG Trading and Mr Dion’s carbon tax and work towards the next 20 years? Again…why does no one in the MSM ask Ms May or Mr Dion that simple question? Mr Wells??????

  102. so winners and losers?

    winners: urban canadians with access to public transit, who work in offices, and who are more likely to vote liberal.

    losers: rural and suburban canadians with less or no access to public transit, who are more often in trades or commodity based industries, and who are more likely to vote conservative.

    i think this is what an earlier commenter meant by a plan to syphon money into the hands of liberal friends. but they didn’t mean Liberals, they meant liberals.

  103. why not take the money that is going to be pissed away with GHG Trading and Mr Dion’s carbon tax

    What money do you suppose is going to be pissed away with the carbon tax? The cost of a hundred jobs or so in CRA to administrate the tax? Or are you suggesting they’ll make a mistake and have the income tax reductions be greater than the carbon tax revenues?

    As far as GHG trading is concerned, that’s money that stays in the hands of business (handed from one business to another). Are you suggesting the government instead tax the first business and take the money away from them (giving no benefit to the second business) and “work towards the next 20 years” with it?

    Where is the money being “pissed away” with a revenue neutral tax? Are you simply bemoaning the fact that CRA will need a few more people to run the tax? Did you also bemoan the increase in CRA staff when the Child Care Credit went into effect? How about when the tax law changed on Transit Passes? Income Trusts? I can assure you, all these things result in hirings at CRA.

  104. Paul Wells said “In fact, I’m fairly sure that if you read the fine print of Dion’s plan, seniors like the one in John G’s plan are to be rounded up and executed. Systematically, and in the cruellest possible manner.”

    Paul .. come on. This is a Liberal plan, not Conservative. Look for the kinder-gentler “Euthanasia Plan” to take care of this side of the ledger to be rolled out at the same time. And don’t even get me started about the cost side of that equation.

  105. “Mr Moffatt..Canada has no control over the worlds GHG emissions. If you were to be honest you would agree with that.”

    Way to miss the point. I wasn’t even arguing that Canada *should* decrease their GHG emissions. (I do think they should, but I wasn’t arguing that.

    My point was this:

    Tories have, historically, been proponents of Canada doing more than their fair share or “punching above their weight” as John puts it. Whether it be World War I (my example) or The War on Terror (Paul Wells), it’s something Canadian Tories have prided themselves on.

    But when it comes to GHGs, the argument has now become that because we are so small our contributions will inherently be meaningless.

    You can argue that some goals are more worthy than others. You can argue that some goals are more achievable than others. But this “we’re so small” line of reasoning argument, I would suggest, is historically speaking a very un-Tory position to take.

  106. i think this is what an earlier commenter meant by a plan to syphon money into the hands of liberal friends. but they didn’t mean Liberals, they meant liberals.

    Ah. By liberal they meant urban. Well, you may actually have a point there. The government will have to do a balancing act… they want to discourage suburban sprawl and encourage density (transit, etc) but they don’t want to affect farmers and other non-commuting rural people.

    It’ll be interesting to see how they strike that balance.

  107. Scott: you have touched upon my favorite subject of late and that is the widening gap between urban and rural voters = there are going to be alot of political surprises in this are especially with the the advance of the Conservatives with the rural vote.

  108. urban vs rural has as much potential to break the counrty along the sask/manitoba border as english vs french along the ottawa river ever did. add to that the fact that rural candians will feel like they are being poached to pay for urban canada’s fixation on climate change, then add to that the big tax breaks urban canadians could recieve while the rural people pay more. this is an extremely divisive policy.

  109. obviously i am exagerating a bit about breaking the country, but it will take the rural/urban divide and cleave it wide open.

  110. TC wrote:

    “…so winners and losers?

    winners: urban canadians with access to public transit, who work in offices, and who are more likely to vote liberal.

    losers: rural and suburban canadians with less or no access to public transit, who are more often in trades or commodity based industries, and who are more likely to vote conservative.”

    Well, this might be a real problem with the plan (concieved in the broader sense, beyond the CT bit). For example, LC mortgages are a good idea if you are near public transit, they mean doodly otherwise. Hopefully, there are incentives in the plan that will appeal to people who don’t already vote Liberal.

    (Mind you, show me a single Tory initiative that appeals to anyone outside of Alberta. But the point is to expand your vote, not make people who already vote for you wish they could vote twice).

  111. My apologies in mixing up the World Wars Mike Moffat but everything I wrote about WWII applies equally to Canada in WWI.

    My problem is not just with the goal, though I do have a big problem with that as well. But forget that. Even if I were to have an epiphany that climate change is something real that must be defeated, our contribution is maxed out at 0.5%.

    And when you consider the fact that emitters of almost 50% of the worlds GHGs are given a free pass by the environmentalists…well, continuing with the war analogy, Canada’s contribution to WWI / WWII (and the War on Terror for you Paul) would have been for nothing if the USA and Britain were sitting on the sidelines.

  112. “comment by Paul Wells on Tuesday, June 17, 2008 at 5:22 pm:

    So they’re going to vote NDP to protest against a tax. Because there’s no defying the common sense of the common people.”

    Yes ! Politics is irrational and the price of gas seems to be an especially sensitive point of irrationality.

    People here are pissed and they want to lash out. As my buddy says, “how much damage can an NDP government do in one term”

    Be careful what you ask for, yes, but BC politics is known for it’s wild & whacky ways.

  113. “And when you consider the fact that emitters of almost 50% of the worlds GHGs are given a free pass by the environmentalists…well, continuing with the war analogy, Canada’s contribution to WWI / WWII (and the War on Terror for you Paul) would have been for nothing if the USA and Britain were sitting on the sidelines.”

    ..of course, that’s why we waited in World War I for the Americans to come on board before we jumped in..

  114. Well, your knowledge of history exceeds mine, but that was a different time, and again, at least we knew that what we were fighting was a valid, real threat to our way of life. You simply can’t say the same for climate change.

    And even if you could…there are 2 types of countries in this debate.

    1) Those who are rich
    2) Those who emit a lot of GHGs

    Which one of those two have the best ability to address the problem of GHG emission? And which ones are we currently asking to carry the load?

    Once category #2 shows signs that it is willing to step up, I might be more sympathetic to the cause. But until then…I’m not foolish enough to believe that Canada can shame India, China and the USA into compliance.

  115. Pardon me. An “LC” mortgage should be an “LS” mortgage, meaning “location sensitive”, meaning you get a break on your mortgage if you can commit to a certain level of miles travelled by public transit and etc.

  116. I don’t think it’s clear at all that climate change is much less of a threat to the “Canadian Way of Life” than Queen Victoria’s grandson Kaiser Wilhelm II was. But that’s neither here nor there.

    You seem to be missing the entire point, though. Historically Tory politicians, such as Robert Borden, didn’t worry that their contributions would be small. They didn’t worry that other countries might not step up to the plate.

    Your position, whatever merits it may or may not have, is historically a very un-Tory one. That is all I am trying to say.

  117. News flash!!!! Our local city council has just figured out how much they will have to pay for the new BC Carbon Tax and it is $500000. That is just for municipal resources for Kamloops which is 80000 people. Can you imagine what it will cost for every municipality in BC.

    Now multiply that by what Dion is proposing and you can see where this is going. Cheers.

  118. Wow Sandra, that’s a whole $6.25 for every person. Will the town close, tumbleweeds in the streets?

  119. Fair enough Mike.

    But I’m not convinced that the Tories see climate change as a real problem, regardless of the lip service they pay to it. If they did, I think they would show more leadership on the issue, regardless of the non-participation of the big emitters. They don’t, and are using India, China, Russia, and the USA as an excuse not to do more.

  120. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t Stephane Dion’s popularity problems in Quebec due in large part to his association with the Clarity Act?

    Furthermore, a vote for the Bloc back then would in no way reverse that bill. A vote against the Liberals this time around will kill the carbon tax plan before it’s started, no?

    I’m interested to see how Canadians respond to Dion’s plan. But, in so many ways, it is very politically risky, and on so many levels.

  121. So, human CO2 production is so terrible, we’re literally drowning in our melting icebergs, that we’d better DO SOMETHING to stop all that evil CO2 production. But, shh, no way would we dream of raising the price of gasoline with a carbon tax, no way, let’s just pretend that there is no carbon in gasoline, or, or, or, maybe we can ask Canadians nicely to just burn less gas in their vehicles. We’ll grab that pound of flesh on the home heating bill instead.
    If they truly believe CO2 is the problem, then they should have the intellectual consistency and moral honesty to proclaim that gasoline should be taxed to the hilt, as well. If not, then please somebody explain to me what the point of all this is.
    IF CO2 is turning Mother Earth into a giant EasyBake oven (funny, they tell me Mars is heating up, too, and I thought all them intelligent-life Martians would be driving Priuses by now — I wonder what major heat source our planet has in common. Hmmm, that’s a toughy, maybe tomorrow at daybreak a clue will rise up and help me out…), and IF we could turn down our CO2 output for some ill-defined greater good, then we should turn down ALL CO2 output. To paraphrase le-petit-gars-de-Shawinigan, a carbon-is-a-carbon, and when you have a carbon, it’s because the carbon is there.
    So far, Dion had so much promise after the leadership contest, but he has convinced me he is unfit to govern. Will await this grand plan for revelations or confirmations, but I confess it had better be something amazing to make me even CONSIDER voting for the cash-filled-envelope-across-the-restaurant-table party.
    Good luck with the sales pitch, Stephane, we’ll be watching.

  122. Steve V- I am glad you believe that this will be an insignificant amount for me to pay. Once you combine this with all of the other companies that will pas their cost along it will not be an small amount.

    I can only conclude that you have a contract that has a cost of living clause built in. Unfortunately most of us don’t.

  123. OK, I read it all – and the BC Budget announcement, and STILL have 3 questions.
    (1) What is environmentally dangerous about CO2? Because it’s tree food?
    (2) What is wrong with having cheap, abundant energy? Because it gives us more free time?
    (3) Are the political forces of Maurice Strong winning?

  124. here’s an intriguing part for me: why would the Liberals support a policy for carbon reduction, by consumer taxation, that is different than the one that is accepted by all the other parties, cap and trade on a national carbon market? why start a new fight when you can move past that and start negotiating reduction levels? do they think that a liberal minority government will get support in the house for their carbon taxation levels? the NDP will say “it’s too low on rich people, to hign on poor!” the Conservatives will say “its a tax on economic growth and its why you lost your job!” if they were smart they would move in the direction of least resistance and start working on the terms. i thought this was some kind of emergency?

    ps: i wouldn’t be surprised to see Harper and Layton sit down and negotiate carbon limits in a cap and trade environment to make Dion look even more ineffectual, if that’s even possible. If they do, Layton wins for forcing more meaningful reductions, Harper wins by removing the environment off the battleground of the next election.

  125. What happens if the AG says the revenue received was not offset by a similar reduction in taxes? Will the Liberal government resign? We all know the answer to that. Let’s remember McGuinty signed a contract stating he would not raise taxes. What did Ontario get? The largerst personal income tax increase in the history of the province. So much for Liberal promises.
    While the amount of tax collected may be offset by tax cuts how does Dion account for the massive price increases that will be passed onto consumers by virtually every company in the country who uses oil in its manufacturing process. Is Dion saying if my standard of living is reduced by 30% then I will get a personal tax reduction of 30%? Sounds like smoke and mirrors to me. Beware of Liberals in sheeps’ clothing.

  126. Ahhh yes, the oh so liberal belief that a tax that’s supposed to be costly (and hence negatively affect behavior)

    won’t be costly at all.

    And oh, Paul, you mock the “tax on everything” notion,

    but try going shopping and picking out goods in which fuel was not a significant input.

    Do you know what in our society emits carbon, Paul?

    Almost everyone and everything.

    But do keep up with your childish mockery of a point which should be well taken, as it only underscores:

    1) your ignorance, and

    2) another example of the agenda journalist slavishly following a favourite pet issue with little or no insight.

    Now Paul, you should probably get back to cheerleading on leading Liberal blogs. Thanks for at least showing your true colors.

  127. I wonder if Paul’s career will ever recover from Mitch calling him ignorant. Quite a blow, that.

  128. Paul,

    another quick question:

    Do you think (assuming that the earth (assuming that the Earth is dangerously and dramatically warming, our winters are getting balmy coastal cities are now flooding like was predicted a decade ago),

    that anything Canadians can do, anything, can make the Earth cooler, or less warm?

    Assuming again in the AGW theory being correct, do you know what percentage Canada’s total output is compared to, say, China, India, Russia and the rest of the world? Try close to 1-2%.

    Care to explain how this tax is NOT simply a tax that will not have (indeed based on simple math CANNOT have) any material impact whatsoever on world carbon output?

    Aside from satiating our narcissistic tendencies to convince ourselves we’re “saving the world”, could you explain how such a plan can come remotely close to its purported purpose of reducing global warming?

    One more:

    Wouldn’t honest answers (and a genuine desire to extract oneself from leftist thinking that permeates journalism subculture) to the above questions lead one to conclude that its the liberal plan that should be mocked?

  129. I sincerely doubt it, Ian.

  130. Mitch…

    You’ve lost the argument about human-caused climate change occuring already. Which party do you support? The NDP, Bloc, Liberals, Greens and, yes, the Conservatives all agree it’s occuring (let alone the vast majority of climate scientists).

    So no, I don’t think that it’s worth mocking the Liberal plan on that basis, if not for the fact that if the Liberals have it wrong so does EVERYONE ELSE.

    Are you also mocking John Baird’s attempt to come up with new regulations to reduce CO2 which will surely cause economic hardship for some companies?

    BTW, I’m sure you have no problem littering. After all, why should you not throw your garbage on the street when thousands of others do it? Your contribution is negligable — who cares about it? There’s no point in going to the hassle of putting your Tim’s coffee cup in the garbage until everyone else does it, after all you’re only contributing < 0.05% of the litter on the street… it doesn’t matter.

  131. Hey Mitch – didja notice that Paul’s original post (waaaaay up there, at the top of your screen) is not, in fact, about the merits of the tax, its possible utility, or the science of climate change, but rather the proposal’s potential implications on electoral politics?
    Which is not to say you won’t find a healthy debate on this thread about those other questions; I mention this simply to ask if you might consider directing your brave and original broadsides against the liberal-media conspiracy at more promising targets. At the moment you’re basically complaining about an orange for not being apple-y enough.

  132. Scott,
    The argument about the causes, scope and affects of climate change is very far from closed, as are the various costs and benefits of dealing with all of this. Check out the Copenhagen Consensus for some alternative reading on this.

    Carbon taxes will have a definite adverse affect, and an uncertain benefit locally and globally. This is why they are such a bad muddled idea.

  133. If you honestly believe that human-caused climate change isn’t occuring, you’re in an unenviable position. There’s no major party you can back who supports your views.

    One can only hope for some form of PR (MMP, STV, etc.) that will allow for a greater diversity of views such as yours. I’m in the same boat but not on this issue – honestly, I sympathise.

  134. Hey Bill,

    Are you saying that you wouldn’t welcome the income tax reduction that comes with the carbon tax? Or is this the part that you are careful to ignore in this discussion?

  135. Adding to Wells’s orignial thesis, kinsella posts the following on his blog:

    “Now that I read that Paul Martin is also nervous about a carbon tax, I am wholeheartedly in favour of it. Tax the [bleep] out of everyone, on everything that moves, and two things that don’t. Go for it, Dion!”

    I’ve basically come to the conclusion that we’re all playing b/w video Checkers for Mac Classics, while Dion (and Wells) are playing some whacked-out version of Wizard’s Chess for Wii.

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