Monday, June 23, 2008

Dion's Carbon Tax Forgot the West

...explains Regina Leader-Post columnist Murray Mandryk.

Forget, for a moment, the inherent unfairness in Dion's "Green Shift" to a province like Saskatchewan, with a relatively small population base (that won't capitalize as much on income tax reductions in this policy), but a huge fossil fuel base (that will bear the brunt of its taxation plans).

Forget that the Liberal leader appears oblivious to the political-economic power shift from east to west in this country and the fact that this plan will only stir up the shallow-buried Western sentiment against Pierre Trudeau's National Energy Program.

Forget the fact that the oil and natural gas Dion proposes to tax is the only thing keeping this entire country out of a recession stemming from what's happening in the Ontario auto manufacturing industry.

Forget that Dion's modest income-tax reductions within this scheme probably won't make the plan revenue-neutral for anyone.

Forget the fact that all Canadians are already paying a high environmental premium on gasoline in the form of the most costly fuel ever -- now, more costly than it's ever been on a historically-adjusted-to-inflation basis.

Forget the fact that sparsely populated provinces like Saskatchewan are simply more reliant on fossil fuels, including critical industries like agriculture, oil and mining.

Forget that we're reliant on coal and natural gas (we don't have as much hydroelectric power and don't have nuclear power yet) to heat our homes in our freezing winters.

Forget that northerners now paying $100 a tank to fill up or farmers paying $20,000 to $30,000 in diesel fuel alone in order to put in the spring crop will view an annual $150 rebate for rural and remote areas as a joke.

Forget that, even after all this, there's nothing here to cause any right-thinking person to believe this Green Shift (editor's reminder: Please stop dropping the "f" in that word!) will actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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