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Of carbon taxes and baloney factories

Quote of the week goes to Premier David Eby. When asked what he thought of federal Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre’s request for British Columbia to not accept the federal carbon tax increase at the end of the month, he quipped: “I don’t live in the Conservative campaign office or Poilievre’s baloney factory.”

Ouch. A zinger, indeed.

But then, as with the entire debate over the carbon tax, it devolved into the surreal and the absurd.

Eby, following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s talking points, claimed that to not increase the carbon tax would take too much money out of the pockets of ordinary Canadians who are getting a carbon tax rebate to offset the onerous effect of said carbon tax. Huh?

Yup, an actuary’s dream scenario or perhaps we’re taking policy notes out of Joseph Heller’s masterpiece – Catch-22.

In addition, they joyfully claim, about 80 per cent of Canadians receive the rebate and some (pause for dramatic effect) even come out ahead.

I’d like to know who those people are. I’m a senior on a pension, I don’t get the rebate. So who does? I’d like to know.

Here’s a question. If 80 per cent of the population are getting this mysterious rebate and are, thus, unaffected by the tax, why not just design a tax for the other 20 per cent?

The entire debacle reminds me of the good old days when we were being sweet-talked with ‘revenue-neutral taxes.’ All you have to do is put your brain in neutral to accept that.

So, should Trudeau cancel the carbon tax increase? I don’t really know because no one is talking about the real issues. Firstly, why we have a carbon tax in the first place and, secondly, is it working?

The rationale behind the tax is that by making it more financially onerous to spew filth into the air, people will find other ways to get around, heat their homes etc. While it’s true increasing the tax places more of a burden on people, that’s kind of the point. So, once again, providing a rebate to lessen the burden is ironically counter-productive.

British Columbia has had a carbon tax for almost 20 years now, much longer than the federal tax has been around, and there is evidence in B.C. it is working. Our fuel consumption, as a province, decreased.

So why not lead with that?

Neither Eby, nor Trudeau, are telling us that the carbon tax is effective. Neither of them are telling us that emissions have decreased because of the tax. Until they can, they will lose the argument over the carbon tax. I don’t have a problem with a tax, as long as it does what it is designed to do.

If city council increases your taxes to fix the roads (hint, hint), then they damn-well better fix the roads. Same goes for the carbon tax.


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