33 Comments

Interesting perspective, but I think Pierre will scrap the whole tax. It hasn’t been shown to reduce carbon usage as of yet. And, is making Canada less competitive. So why shoot ourselves in foot if it isn’t delivering benefits and on top of the affordability crisis we are in.

I guess it is possible they keep an industrial tax, but that’s not the messaging a see from Pierre who keeps talking about the farmers, etc which is driving the costs.

Time will tell.

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A carbon tax doesn't accomplish anything if it doesn't hurt. Politically, that's always going to be a challenge. However, a completely dispassionate approach like the original BC Liberal carbon tax ends up being more defensible because they simply made it revenue neutral - any revenue from carbon tax was offset by cuts in income tax.

The federal Liberals have never been able to resist the urge to treat a carbon tax as a new source of revenue and an opportunity to engage in more redistributionist programs with the usual partisan considerations of handing out goodies. That was the problem with Stephan Dion's "Green Shift", and I think that's also a better explanation of why Trudeau's government is flailing today.

Making a carbon tax industrial-only is either going to undermine the effectiveness of the policy, or else buy a fleeting degree of political cover because the cost of the tax will get passed onto consumers anyway.

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This is all very interesting but who is actually responsible for a tangible solution to the existential threat of approaching catastrophic climate change and what supports do they need?

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It is my understanding that the carve outs for grain drying and greenhouses have not been supported by the government - quite the opposite. Bill C-234 was a private members bill that, despite government opposition (145 LPC MPs voted against), has almost passed. It is still awaiting third reading after surviving liberal appointed senators’ attempts to kill it.

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Two comments. First, how on earth are the Liberals messing up this badly at implementing their signature policy? I know from experience that this is what it looks like when a government hits its expiry date, but it's still something to see.

Second: I've been supportive of the carbon tax, but I haven't seen any independent projection that has Canada hitting its committments at our current pace. So, either the policy as implemented isn't doing enough (or needs more time to take effect). The attraction of a carbon tax is it's transparent and simple; the more carve-outs and exceptions, the less effective it is (at least theoretically). Plus, we aren't budgeting for mitigation and adaptation which are likely going to be hard to estimate liabilities down the road.

As incomplete as the government's policy is, I've yet to see a better policy proposed by the other parties.

Not to be a complete downer -- there's lots of important, positive things happening. Positive changes in urban planning. Investments in transit and big increases in energy efficiency. Solutions are coming online. But, we aren't probably going to hit reduction targets and more volatile weather could have significant impacts on everything from food production to infrastructure to insurance and we seem unprepared.

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"The Liberals eliminated the carbon tax on home-heating oil."

Actually it's a 3-year pause, on top of the extra 3-year exemption Atlantic Canada has already had. Failing to get basic facts right undermines your argument.

The better question is wtf have Atlantic premiers been doing the last 5 years? They are happy to suck on the federal teat, but what have they done to help their constituents prepare for the burden of the tax? Or did they just plan on begging?

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Yes, but my understanding is that half of all emission are from us small individuals --i.e. those on the "retail" side. I wonder if part of the solution isnt just to"carbonize" the excise taxes on gasoline a bit better--tweak them to tax less polluting fuel a bit less and more polluting fule a bit more?

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founding

I think Stevo Guilbo would have definitely pulled out the orange jumpsuit and kissed Trudeau goodbye if the gas & diesel carbon tax was removed. Tightening the noose on that sector has to be the main reason he shows up to work every day.

I do like a guy who places a bet though. I agree with your prediction on Poilievre incinerating (he’ll use low NOx burners I’m sure) the retail tax but I think he will send the industrial tax powers to the provinces and let them navigate their own destiny against competitiveness, env pressures, innovation etc. A good thing it would be too since LPC only seek to weaponize the policy and punish voter regions that don’t vote for them.

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Retaining the industrial carbon tax will still hurt the consumer who eventually pays for it. Carbon taxes in any form will not reduce emissions, only new technology can do that and only in the private sector who will look to make a profit on their investments.

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Hmm. I guess if you can’t seize the means of production, you should tax it - according to policy wonks like Mr Boessenkool. Let’s hope that we eventually return to the economic principle that taxing consumption - eg value added taxes - in order not to interfere with the economy is the best way to collect taxes - and stop giving any tax value signalling modifiers like “carbon.”

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