Liberals propose a new tax grab
Recently in the Times & Transcript, Brian Murphy and Dominic LeBlanc apparently teamed up to declare allegiance to their leader’s carbon tax proposal. Most of the op-ed piece was the typical partisan rant, and at one point they even accused the Conservatives of “running scared from Mr. Dion’s plan.” When we examine the facts on a carbon tax, we should all be scared.
At one point they state that “Our plan will help the middle class and lift many Canadians out of poverty.” This is at odds with the facts most basic to the carbon tax concept.
A carbon tax must make it hurt to use fuel
According to well established facts, “…a carbon tax is effectively a tax on the use of fossil fuels, and only fossil fuels.” “The intention of a carbon tax is… to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide… It can be implemented by taxing the burning of fossil fuels — coal, petroleum products such as gasoline and aviation fuel, and natural gas.”
While “prices of carbon (fossil) fuels are expected to continue increasing as more countries industrialize and add to the demand on fuel supplies,” a carbon tax would artificially raise the price of fuel even more rapidly in order to discourage its use. This would spell disaster for those already struggling to heat their homes and fuel their cars.
How much will it really hurt to pay a carbon tax?
According to independent professional calculations, a carbon tax would raise fuel prices “$0.258 per litre of motor gasoline, $0.296 per litre of diesel fuel, and $0.279 per litre of jet fuel.” At current prices, this would mean buying regular gasoline at $1.64/litre.
A similar shocking increase would apply to home heating fuels. A carbon tax would “raise natural gas prices by 60–150%.” When it comes to coal (which still produces much of our country’s electricity), a carbon tax “means a price increase of 500–1,000% depending on the type (512% for lignite, 680% for subbituminous, 903% for bituminous, and 1039% for anthracite).”
As far as direct impact on electricity prices, a carbon tax would turn off the heat and turn out the lights for many Canadians. Something like the Liberal proposal would mean “a tax of $0.05854 per kWh for natural gas, about $0.0775 per kWh for petroleum, and between $0.1027 and $0.1137 per kWh for coal.” At NB Power’s current price of $0.0954 per kWh for electricity, a carbon tax would effectively DOUBLE the price of electricity!
How much more can we cut back?
Even if some New Brunswickers could drive less, many are already limiting their mobility as much as possible. We still have to go to work, kids still have hockey practice and what about the truck drivers that ply the roads every day to supply our grocery shelves? Food costs will balloon, and forget about the flight south in the winter – only the very wealthy will be able to afford such pleasures.
On the one hand Murphy and LeBlanc complain that the Harper government “does nothing while gas prices continue to skyrocket.” At the same time their proposal is to give fuel prices a rocket BOOSTER!
With all their double-talk about “tax shifts” and “revenue neutrality,” the facts about a carbon tax are clear. A carbon tax is an INCREASE IN TAXES on carbon based fuels in order to make them cost more than most people are willing to pay. You cannot have a tax on carbon without RAISING TAXES on fuels that emit CO2.
Following Dion’s deductions, a MASSIVE INCREASE IN TAXES “will help the middle class and lift many Canadians out of poverty.” By giving Canadians rebates on income tax equal to the increased taxes they are paying on fuel (“revenue neutral”), the consumer’s disposable income remains exactly the same. Where is the deterrent to consuming more carbon fuels if there is no greater impact on the pocketbook? A carbon tax is simply to make it HURT TOO MUCH to drive your car and heat your home!
Can Canadians really afford gas at $1.64/litre? Can you afford for natural gas and electricity prices to double? If a carbon tax doesn’t do these things, it will have no capacity to reduce CO2 emissions; people will continue to consume the same way.
Here are a few final questions to consider:
- If we shut down every industry, motor vehicle, power plant and all heat generation in Canada, what is the maximum effect we could have on global emissions? (Canada’s portion of global emissions - 2%)
- If we achieved all of our Kyoto targets, how much would we reduce global emissions? (Canada’s Kyoto target reductions - 0.64% or 2/3 of one percent of global emissions)
- Scientists believe GHG’s produce global warming. What exactly are these “greenhouse gases” in our atmosphere? (Water vapor (95%), CO2 (3.6%), other gases (1.4%). Total human-caused GHG’s in the atmosphere: .28% (1/4 of 1%) – Now that’s turning up the heat!)
- Are there still serious questions about how global warming is being addressed? (Yes)
Let’s be responsible stewards of our environment, but let’s not fall for an enviro-panic tax grab that will go to fund things like the Liberal Sponsorship Scandal.
The Conservative government is instituting the first ever mandatory reductions on big polluters. At the same time they are spending millions to clean up toxic sites like the Saint John harbour and preserve large areas of Canada’s pristine parkland. They have moved to eliminate toxins that threaten our children, and protect Canada’s fresh water supply. The Conservatives are moving past the empty rhetoric of 13 years of Liberal reign; they are getting real results.