For the last few months, our Provencher MP, Ted Falk has been making much ado about the Liberal Carbon Tax plan. The most recent flyer he sent out to Provencher residents points out, again, the April 1 tax increase and how it will negatively affect people.
Mr. Falk suggests that an extra $100 per month on a gas or electricity bill or on the price of food will be a big deal to families trying to live within a monthly budget. He’s not wrong, of course, but he fails to explain where this number comes from. It seems like it has been pulled out of a hat. Government projections of the annual cost, on average, are a small fraction of this at $232.
He also fails to mention that the government rebate will, in most cases, offset the tax. The average projected annual household rebate being $336. The fee-and-dividend model (which for better or worse, has become “The Carbon Tax”) has been shown to benefit people who need it most; they can’t afford huge vehicles, often don’t drive and therefore rely on public transport. They spend less and get the same rebate as everyone else.
It doesn’t mean people are getting money for nothing, however. Heavy carbon users will definitely feel the sting. As a long-time resident in Provencher, I know you don’t have to look very far during weekday rush hours to see large SUVs and Pickups with a sole occupant commuting to the city. This, of course, is where the beauty of fee and dividend lies – government only has two ways to influence behaviour – through taxes or through the justice system. I think it is probably better that we get to choose what we drive and pay the price if we deem it reasonable.
He’s Got a Point
Mr. Falk also points out that the Liberals are paying lip service to the environment in that they exempted some of Canada’s largest emitters. He’s got a point here. Unfortunately, those exemptions weaken the whole fee and dividend project; the rebates could have been higher, the impact on carbon consumption more effective.
What Mr. Falk fails to mention (likely because the Conservatives must be seen to support this) is the massive investment in growing pipeline capacity. While the government spoon-feeds us what amounts to a fairly trivial carbon tax, we’re pouring billions into the purchase and, perhaps, building of a pipeline that will ship the most toxic oil product through some of the most pristine land and waterways in the country.
It is, indeed, quite hypocritical of the Liberals to claim they have a climate plan.
Where’s the Plan?
That said, at least the Liberals appear to be trying, even if imperfectly. The Conservatives, on the other hand, don’t have any kind of plan. Consistently, Ted has criticized the government without presenting a single constructive idea to combat climate change. It is awful easy to complain, but true leadership confronts the big problems.
Mr. Falk claims that “Andrew Scheer understands the kitchen-table issues facing Canadians.”
Climate change is going to cost us all considerably more than a measly carbon tax. We are going to see more property damage, more fires, more crop failures, more pressure on immigration, and, in the worst-case scenarios, economic collapse.
If Andrew Scheer’s kitchen-table issues don’t include this, if he isn’t capable of seeing the need to protect the future of our children, grand-children, and subsequent generations, it shows a complete failure of leadership.