The Carbon Tax - A Lost Liberal Opportunity

A carbon tax is a good idea, if done properly. The Liberal Carbon Tax Plan is a bad idea for a number of reasons. The carbon tax plan adds another regressive consumption tax to the tax system while reducing the amount collected from individuals and corporations through the progressive income tax system.

According to the Liberal Party brochure “Liberals will cut personal and corporate taxes by billions of dollars a year. “

The brochure also states “Liberals will tax pollution in Canada for the first time by putting a price on Greenhouse Gas emissions that cause climate change and fuels like coal and natural gas.”

This amounts to a consumption tax on goods produced, relative to the amount of greenhouse gases created in their production. It adds a cost of pollution to the cost of production. That is a good thing. But it does it by adding a new consumption tax and making the overall tax system less progressive.

The irony of that is the lost opportunity for the Liberal to actually live up to their abandoned campaign promise to abolish the Goods and Services Tax (GST). To be more precise, the Liberals promised to replace the GST, but apparently were unable to find a suitable replacement. Well here it is folks.

Replacing the GST with a carbon tax would provide a huge incentive for corporations and business to provide goods and services in a more environmentally sustainable fashion. It is such a simple idea, one would have thought that even the Liberals could have thought of it.

But there is another major flaw in the Liberals plan. The liberals state that the new carbon tax “won’t include any extra tax on gasoline at the pump”. What does this mean. The message given by that statement is that gasoline (and diesel fuel) prices will not rise as a result of the carbon tax. If that is so the plan completely misses the point.

Greenhouse gases from transportation fuels are a major, if not the most important part, of the problem. The fact that we transport goods that could be produced locally thousands of miles, adding megatonnes of pollution and greenhouse gases to the environment is an environmental crime against humanity.

Ironically at a time when our local manufacturing industries are suffering, the Liberal policy specifically excludes a measure that would provide enormous reductions in environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emissions while providing thousands of jobs in local communities.

But “The Green Shift” is a nice slogan, even if they did have to steal it from someone.

No comments: