BTC: Fight illiteracy - Macleans.ca

BTC: Fight illiteracy

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Here’s Jason Kenney, delivering his book report in Question Period yesterday.

“Mr. Speaker, I took the time to read the Liberal tax trick document this afternoon and it is a funny thing. There is not one single page in it about actually reducing carbon emissions, not one page.”

At the time, this seemed a pretty good point. A stinging rebuke. 

At least so long as you didn’t actually read the document the Liberals released on Thursday.

Here’s the top paragraph of page 16.

“Canadians know Canada won’t meet its obligations under the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol. However, the Kyoto Protocol is an ongoing international effort, and we must build momentum now in order to close that gap in the next phase of the agreement, after 2012. We believe that our target should be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. This should be increased to at least 25 per cent if other countries take on comparable efforts. This is in line with what the science tells us we need to do. We must achieve absolute greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and we must begin today. Canada cannot solve climate change on its own. Until we take serious action to reduce our own emissions, we will have little credibility on the global stage to ensure other countries are doing their part.”

In his press conference an hour earlier, Kenney cited the opinion of economist Mark Jaccard as reported by the Toronto Sun this week. Here’s the paragraph he apparently saw:

“No politician, economist or environmentalist has ever implied an environmental tax shift would mean everyone is equally well off as before,” said Mark Jaccard, a Simon Fraser University climate expert and author of Hot Air. “Some people will be better off and some won’t.”

And here’s what the Sun’s Peter Zimonjic wrote in the three paragraphs that followed.

The strength in the idea of a carbon tax, say supporters, is it’s cheap to implement and it hits everyone in society rather than just taxing industry, which is only responsible for half of Canada’s emissions.

“When they implemented the carbon tax in B.C., they didn’t have to hire one person,” said Jaccard. “They simply amended the tax calculation. Regulating is more expensive to the economy as a whole and for individuals.”

Jaccard, a leading environmental economist, explains the Conservative plan to regulate industry’s emissions, and not everyone who emits carbon, is folly because industry is only responsible for half of Canada’s carbon output.