These days, my faith in the future is quite limited. The proliferation of war and the ongoing reluctance of governments to do anything substantive about climate change, despite its increasingly obvious effects, both speak to the refusal of our species to rise above our base animal impulses and use the consciousness that supposedly separates us from other animals for the common good. A few letters from today's Star on carbon pricing help illustrate our shortcomings.
I'll begin with two reasonable missives, followed by what I take to be the majority view:
Provinces have till 2018 to price carbon pollution, Oct. 4
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall predicts that the national rising minimum carbon price the federal government announced will damage his province’s economy and send businesses fleeing to the U.S. Happily, his prediction will not happen for two reasons. First, B.C.’s carbon tax rose annually for five years and its economy remained one of the strongest in the country. The revenue neutral tax also proved to be stimulative. Sales of the province’s clean-tech companies increased by 48 per cent in the two years following the tax’s introduction.
Second, the federal government can impose border tax adjustments, which is why it is essential for the Canadian government to get involved in carbon pricing. Only our national government can impose the tax on products from carbon-intense and trade-exposed industries without similar carbon pricing measures to ensure Canadian companies are protected from unfair competition. Border carbon tax adjustments are sanctioned by the World Trade Organization.
Contrary to Mr. Wall’s unfounded fears, I predict the rising carbon price will help diversify Saskatchewan’s economy as it will all provinces and territories, so long as the price keeps rising and the revenue is returned to the people.
Cheryl McNamara, Toronto
Conservative MP Denis Lebel thinks the federal government should “get out of the way and let the provinces do their job” dealing with climate change. Does he really expect action from Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall, whose government has described climate change as “a misguided dogma that has no basis in reality”?
Wall isn’t the only Canadian premier putting off effective action to fight climate change. Apparently the heat waves, droughts, forest fires and storms haven’t got bad enough yet. Are they planning to wait until our coastal cities are flooded?
It’s impossible to negotiate a climate change action plan with a climate change denier. Wall and other apologists for Big Oil have stalled and obfuscated far too long, selling out our children’s future. The scientific debate is over and climate experts agree we must act now. Our country needs strong federal leadership on an effective national carbon tax strategy.
Norm Beach, Toronto
Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s imposition of his National Energy Program in 1980 was aimed squarely at Alberta. I know. I was there.
Today, Justin Trudeau’s threatened unilateral imposition of a national carbon tax, his “national environmental program,” is also aimed squarely at Alberta where its results will be equally inequitable and devastating.
Ill-thought out, PET soon had to back off from some of the more onerous fiscal terms of his National Energy Program. I expect the same to happen with Justin Trudeau’s version of putting his boot on Alberta’s throat.
“Like father, like son,” and “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Trite but true!
Mike Priaro, Calgary
Why not simply call Trudeau’s carbon pricing plan for what it is? Another Liberal inspired tax to bolster government (in this case, provincial government) coffers. Perhaps the federal government will also benefit? Trudeau will probably do what Chrétien did — reduce transfer payments.
I recall another Liberal, Dalton McGuinty, who also introduced something called the Ontario Health Premium. The province’s health-care system promptly declined and many previously OHIP-covered services were de-listed.
What we can ascertain by all this is that, ultimately, the taxpaying public is going to suffer — again.
J. Brunins, Britt, Ont.