Tuesday, June 17, 2008

BC NDP green tax villian

The BC NDP finally told us about their climate change framework.

In typical NDP form, they propose to make big corporations pay to lower carbon dioxide emissions in BC.

While that sound bite might appeal to traditional NDP supporters, it is no different from what the Quebec liberal government said before it imposed its carbon tax on big business, and guess who ended up paying the tax? The consumer, as usual.

The Quebec government introduced a carbon tax that would supposedly target oil companies with deep pockets. It was based on the "polluter pay" principle.

Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, but I digress.

What happened? When the carbon tax came in on January 1 2008, energy companies passed the tax increase on to their customers.

What did the government in Quebec say when people were outraged about their broken promise? A spokesperson for the government said they never intended to compel companies alone to pay for the green fund. "We have a market economy," he said. "We could never prove which part of the price was the carbon tax."

People pay taxes, not businesses. As long as the global warming hysteria continues, governments will play to the polls and continue to burden middle class families with lifestyle destroying taxes.

1 comment:

Bruce said...

Government intervention - not market forces - ended slavery centuries before market forces would have.

Government intervention - not market forces - gave women the vote decades before market forces would have.

Government intervention - not market forces - banned lead from childen's toys, places restrictions on guns in this country, limits smoking in public places and has abolished capital punishment.

Government intervention - not market forces – through regulation, could have prevented the collapse of the derivatives market in the US and the subsequent meltdown in the liquidity markets where hard working people have seen their investments, life savings and retirement funds eroded to the point where retirement may no longer be possible. “Market Forces”, even now through the unanimous admissions of the staunchest of US advocates of such, Greenspan, Levitt and Rubin, are what got us into this economic problem.

It is the bravery and leadership of Government intervention - not market forces – that is needed to lead the way to radically changing social patterns and limiting, if not hopefully someday reversing, the devastating effects that global warming is having upon our province, country and planet. Stephen, I agree with you that consumers needed to be given an incentive to change their behaviour. Unfortunately, we may not have the leisure or abundance of time to simply sit back and allow market forces to gradually determine the radically needed fundamental change in social patterns and attitudes. This is where government's can, and must, provide leadership and act - and taxation policy is an excellent and responsible avenue to do so.

I am so deeply disappointed and personally ashamed with Carole James’ continued public call to end the carbon tax. Perhaps she is indifferent on the issue of climate change and the heritage that our generation will leave for the next – and how many, perhaps limited, generations beyond that. Perhaps she is just desperately seeking to score political advantage. Perhaps it is the fundamental mechanics of the carbon tax that she cannot somehow comprehend. For somebody who seeks to become Premier of this Province however, I find that hard to believe – or perhaps just convenient perhaps. Please allow me to demonstrate for Carole how the carbon tax works in the most admittedly grossly, overly-simplified terms possible that will allow her to perhaps somehow grasp the concept. Please think in terms of a carbon tax of $5/litre - period. That’s it – that’s all. Yes, I said a $5/litre tax – revenue-neutral of course through offsetting tax policy (or dividend cheque – whatever) allowing you to do such things as install solar power or thermal power and other programs – or even put it back in your tank if you want or have to, the former making much more financial sense for most people though as the savings will be sustainable and perpetuating – and socially responsible. Just stop and think about that for a minute. What impact would that have on you personally? How would it change your thinking and your habits? I would suggest profoundly. Think about how patterns of transportation and human behavior would be profoundly altered with $6/litre gas. At its absolute broadest and most illustrative, that is how the carbon tax works Carole. Public transportation would be grossly advantageous. Needless miles driven would be eliminated. Electric vehicles would not only be viable but cheaper. Solar power would be financially feasible. Locally grown food would be much cheaper. And so on. Think on it for a while.

We are living in a world where market forces have been long subsidized by cheap oil without the environmental cost ever being factored into that equation. Who knew? We eat cheap food from all over the world and think nothing of it as trucks clog our freeways and choke our skies to bring us cheap oranges from Florida, cheap bananas from Bolivia and cheap cameras and watches from China - only to throw them away after two years and then buy another because they broke and it is just cheaper to buy a new one. Market forces my ass. It is time that we begin to measure that environmental cost and factor it in. Simply allowing market forces to do so may take decades or centuries, if ever. And even then, there will always be some that will be unwilling to change and adapt, and will simply get a free, subsidized ride, the only cost being upon their conscience. Governments need to step in and take the lead – and act now.

Carole James thinking unfortunately represent the same thinking as my father who got into a huge fight with me because he insisted on his plastic bag at the Home Depot to take home his box of screws – the same box of screws that he just spent 15 minutes carrying around the store but could not carry them another 30 seconds to the car – because that is the way he has always done it and it is simply “inconvenient” to change. Damned if he was going to change – not even one plastic bag could he sacrifice! People like that (and there are lots of them like my Dad and Carole James) will not change unless they are forced to. The assertion that this goes against personal freedom and market forces is the same thinking that Greenspan, Levitt and Rubin espoused a decade ago on US Derivatives that has landed us in the financial mess we find ourselves currently. To a man, they all admit now that they were wrong. When is your turn coming Carole – when we are spending our holidays basking on the warm, sandy beaches of the Beaufort Sea?

Many assert that the Federal Liberals lost the election because of the carbon tax. I think that is just plain wrong – if not damaging and destructive for those seeking fundamental environmental change and political leadership. Speaking with family and friends who did not vote Liberal, most of the reason was that they are sick of the old boys, centralist, scandal plagued, self-entitled, left wing, Liberal cronies that are interested only in preserving power over serving their country. The carbon tax and the apparent sincere integrity of Stephane Dion seemed to be amongst the only reasons to consider putting an X beside a Liberal at the ballot box – but far from enough.

The last person I read of so espousing the supposed myth of global warming and thus negating the call for needed change, was Michael Chernoff of the Chernoff Family Foundation – who spent their tax free dollars distributing the movie entitled “The Great Global Warming Swindle” to school children. What a noble cause to which to dedicate one’s life and establish one’s legacy. It turns out though that Mr. Chernoff was also a director of Encana, the largest oil and gas producer in Canada and, accordingly, owned 1,539,540 shares and 32,179 deferred share units in such. Accordingly, I wonder aloud what is in Carole James’ “political portfolio” that would so encourage her repeated calls for the elimination of the carbon tax – especially now with oil at $65/barrel.

My wife says that we all have choices of either contributing to or contaminating society. Where does the BC NDP stand with their call to abort the carbon tax? My wife also says that sticking your head in the sand is a good way to get our collective asses kicked. My wife is a very smart person. The province, if not the world, is desperately looking for leadership at this critical juncture in our history. I sincerely hope we are blessed with the political leadership and the collective will to make the courageous changes and sacrifices needed ahead.

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