Thursday, March 28, 2024

Lies Can Get You A Long Way

Pierre Poilievre keeps repeating a lie. Bruce Arthur writes:

The top issue facing Canadians right now, if you ask Canadians, is affordability. Inflation rose, and is falling to a new, higher floor. Housing costs are the end of the fuse on a time bomb. It's tough out there for a lot of people. Look around.

So governments must find solutions, or at least be seen to try, and the number one topic has somehow become the carbon tax. Axe the tax, the opposing Conservatives say. They say "Trudeau's carbon tax has forced Canadians to choose between heating their home and putting food on the table." Which, uh, isn’t true.

Nevertheless, the Conservatives have hammered this message. In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford has also linked it to affordability, and Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie has run from the idea of a carbon tax in response. Several provinces are opposing the April 1 increase, and the PM is firing back. (Rebates rise with the price, though in fairness, paying up front and having to wait for your money back in April can pinch, in harder times.)

But Pierre Poilievre's party is driving this exhaust-spewing bus. Affordability. Axe the tax. It's largely opportunistic nonsense, unfortunately.

Lots of people who understand the problem have popped that balloon:

"That (idea) that the Conservatives are fighting for the working class on this: I mean, you're not,” says Andrew Leach, a professor of law and economics, and the co-director of the Institute for Public Economics at the University of Alberta. "You're fighting for the people who have a material benefit from the removal of carbon pricing, which are people above that 70 per cent or 80 per cent income line. For the middle, it's a rounding error. To the bottom, (removing the carbon tax) is a big loss.

"And they're getting away with saying we're doing this for the poor. And it's insanity."

One professor? Pfft, you might say. We can find economics professors who say the carbon tax isn't worth the cost, and who write op-eds whose argument boils down to, uh, CO2 is good for plants.

Well, what about more than 200 Canadian economists? Because that's how many signed a letter this week addressing the main arguments against carbon pricing. That it doesn't affect emissions, for instance. (It does, according to at least two reports, at a lower cost than alternative approaches.) The letter also counters the arguments that the tax drives up the cost of living as a big factor in inflation, that it doesn't make sense to offer both carbon pricing and rebates, that it harms Canadian business competitiveness, and that carbon pricing isn't necessary at all.

The letter reads, "Healthy public debate is good, but it should be based on sound evidence and facts."

"Any attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is going to reduce economic activity," says Stephen Gordon of the Université de Laval, who, like Leach, is a signatory. "The thing about the carbon tax is it has the least bad effect on economic activity."

What Poilievre is selling is a lie. But lies will get you a long way these days.

Image: Steve Russell/Toronto Star


zoombats said...

Li'l P.P. may in fact be selling lies and the idea of him at the the helm of this country is so abhorrent to me that i cannot bare the thought. When we see what is going on in the U.S. these days one cannot fail to see the parallels. A maniac versus a lying denier of the Israelis starving of an oppressed people. We have a pissant with his bullshit against a man who made many of his own promises. I invite people to read this Government of Canada's news release dated November 2016.

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, zoombats, lots of Poilievre's supporters don't read.

John W said...

The CBC Radio report on what happened today in committee was a total distortion of reality.
This Premier interference in a federal decision is purely political and it has proven thing on the carbon price, climate change connection.

Owen Gray said...

Distortion of reality is what it's all about, John.