Sunday, September 23, 2018

On The Carbon Tax

Now that Ontario, under the thuggish leadership of Doug Ford, is in the process of withdrawing Ontario from its cap-and-trade alliance with Quebec and California, baring a failure of political will, next year will see Justin Trudeau imposing a carbon tax here and in other recalcitrant provinces. Despite the fact that Andrew Scheer is salivating at the prospect of making it a key issue in next year's federal election, John Ivison suggests it may not go according to the Conservative leader's plan:
The National Post obtained an advance copy of a paper to be released by Canadians for Clean Prosperity, a non-partisan group led by Mark Cameron, ex-policy director to Stephen Harper, that promotes putting a price on pollution and cutting taxes.

The Liberals’ Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act requires Ottawa to return tax revenue to the province where it was raised in cases where it has imposed a “backstop” carbon tax in the absence of a recognized provincial climate plan. Trudeau has indicated that, rather than sending a rebate to the governments of those provinces, he may choose to send the money directly to its households.
This plan will go a long way toward undermining the populist-right's claim that fighting the tax will mean less money in people's pocket. In fact, it seems the tax itself will be a net benefit to Canadians' bottom line, according to research done by Research by environmental economist Dave Sawyer of EnviroEconomics.
Sawyer’s research indicates that the carbon tax will cost consumers more when it comes to gasoline and home heating — at $20 a tonne,roughly 4.5¢ more per litre of gas.

...for example, in 2019 an Ontario household earning $60,000-$80,000 a year would pay an average of $165 more in increased direct carbon costs for energy, while in Alberta and Saskatchewan, where there is more coal-fired electricity, that figure would rise to $249 and $259 respectively.

However, the study estimates the rebate per household would be $350 in Ontario in 2019, rising to $836 in 2022; $868 in Alberta in 2019, rising to $1,890; and $1075 in Saskatchewan, rising to $2,394. If this scenario plays out, in five years the net benefit per household at that income bracket would be $328 in Ontario, $1,231 in Alberta and $1,711 in Saskatchewan.
And there is a solid reason for these numbers:
Carbon taxes will be collected not only from households but also from business and industrial emitters, and Sawyer’s modelling assumes that while the federal government would return some industrial revenues to large emitters, most would be rebated directly to households.
The trued-and-true fiscal scaremongering tactics of the right-wing, it would appear, will have limited efficacy with the voters. Who doesn't like receiving cheques in the mail?

While I am of the view that our current climate peril means carbon taxes will be as effective as using a dust-pan to clean up after an elephant, it will at least quite possibly raise some awareness about the situation we are in, however late in the game that may be.


  1. If money goes directly to Canadians, it will be hard for the Right to argue that the government is picking citizens' pockets, Lorne. The program could become another economic stabilizer.

    1. I'm sure the reactionaries will find a cloud in the silver lining, Owen.

  2. Give Trudeau his due. Scheer is painting himself into a corner and Trudeau just keeps loading Scheer's brush.

    1. The conservative mindset, once set, will require much before it is moved, Mound. Only those who aren't fully vested in that polarity will perhaps be swayed.