Friday, June 22, 2018

Conservatives' Lack Of Imagination

The ice in Antarctica is melting much more quickly than we thought it was. Yet conservative governments across the country are wailing about carbon taxes. Paul Mason writes:

Everywhere you turn, politicians of a conservative bent are denouncing the climate-change measure as a pointless, economy-wrecking raid on people’s pocket books. United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney has made attacks on Alberta’s carbon tax the centerpiece of his pre-election strategy. Doug Ford just won power in Ontario after making his promise to dismantle the province’s cap-and-trade system a major component of his platform. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, also a conservative, has vowed to fight the federal carbon tax in court.

In Ottawa, the Conservatives use political theatre to complain about carbon taxes:

They carried out a 12-hour filibuster to draw attention to the fact the federal government won’t release any analysis of how much its national carbon tax will cost Canadians. This, despite the fact there have been plenty of studies done that have provided an answer to that very question. Studies everyone has access to.
The federal Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources estimated the cost of a $50-a-tonne carbon tax based on 2013 energy consumption levels. Their findings ranged from $603 per household in B.C. to $707 in Ontario to $1,120 in Nova Scotia. But those evaluations don’t take into account measures provincial governments can introduce to mitigate the costs, such as direct rebates or the reduction of taxes in other areas. They can pay for those breaks with the revenue raised from the carbon tax.

And that's precisely the point. The provinces have the power to decide how the tax will bite -- and what can be done to offset that bite. When B.C. introduced its carbon tax, it cut income taxes.

The Liberal plan isn't perfect. But Canadian conservatives lack imagination. The fact is they've lacked  imagination for a long time.


Anonymous said...

Not sure about the lack of imagination, Owen. They seem to have no problem imagining all sorts of catastrophes, from sharia law becoming the norm to Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of a pizza joint. The conservative appetite for wild conspiracies is endless, and the more imaginative they are the better.

But I agree about the lack of imagination on solutions. All solutions seem to come down to cut taxes, boost policing and punish the poor.


Toby said...

Carbon taxes will not be effective until the bite is deep enough to persuade people to use less carbon. Rebates and trades defeat the purpose unless they are used to encourage change in a direction we need to go. Collecting carbon taxes and throwing them into "General Revenues" and then giving natural gas producers tax credits (as the BC Libs did) simply makes the greenhouse CO2 problem worse.

When it costs $4/liter at the pump to fill up your vehicle you will get rid of your gas guzzler. You might even take the bus.

Owen Gray said...

Quite true, Cap. Conservatives are very good at sowing hysteria. They have real difficulty, though, imagining solutions to problems.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Toby. The effect of a carbon tax can be mitigated. But it's got to be aimed at curbing the use of fossil fuels. Unless emissions go down, the tax is useless.

The Mound of Sound said...

The Right uses every device they can muster to attack carbon pricing because it is intended to encourage people to use less fossil fuel. There's no lack of imagination involved. Imagination has nothing to do with their opposition. Their approach is "burn baby, burn." They want to maximize consumption and they will oppose everything and anything that could thwart that. They're too cowardly to say what they're after and fear-mongering is an effective cloak that works on the Gullibillies.

Lorne Warwic said...

I saw an interesting piece on the news last night, Owen, about how the Ontario Green program, in part financed by the cap-and-trade that Ford is axing, subsidized the installation of new, energy-efficient windows. Instead of paying $3800, the homeowner was only putting out $800. That is one way in which a carbon tax can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Owen Gray said...

It's interesting that Patrick Brown had factored a carbon tax into his platform, Lorne. That was just to progressive for the "Progressive Conservatives." They are now a officially a party of Neanderthals.

Owen Gray said...

They really have no concern for the planet, Mound. They are the 21st century version of the Flat Earth Society.