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Monday, June 23, 2008

Dion to "Shift Green" Among Provinces.

A recent respondent to one of my articles spoke of their concerns with Stephane Dion's new carbon tax or “Green Shift”. In their words:

“…supposedly it's revenue neutral…The logic is that by "deciding" to use less fuel you can keep more of your tax money and spend it on the things that matter to you.”

“People in places like cold Labrador… who suffer through long cold winters can't "decide" to not heat their homes. It may have some benefit in BC…where winter temperatures are much higher but not here and not up north.”

“What about those living in rural areas who drive 20 or 30 kilometers to get to work. No mass transit for them. Great for Toronto or Montreal though (with mass transit).”

“What about Newfoundland and Labrador where, thanks to the fact that there is very little manufacturing, nearly everything consumed has to be trucked, shipped or flown in? Don't tell me the added cost of fuel won't cause skyrocketing prices.”

“This is a crock.”

Well said, but I’ll go further than calling it a “crock” and call it exactly what it is. A fraud.

The Liberals are absolutely right when they call it a “green shift” because ultimately it will shift a lot of green (dollars) out of places like Newfoundland and Labrador and into Ontario and Quebec.

Recently former Liberal MP, cabinet minister and interim leader, Bill Graham, posed a series of questions to a panel of experts reviewing the plan that cuts to the heart of the issue: “What does revenue-neutral mean? It sounds nice when you say it, but it will create winners and losers. Who’s going to win, who’s going to lose and who’s going to pay?”

Good point Bill. There is no such thing as “revenue-neutral”.

Perhaps from Ottawa’s perspective it makes sense in that government can return every dollar of carbon tax to the public in the form of other tax breaks, but that doesn’t mean that those dollars will flow back to the individuals it came from.

In essence the Liberal “green shift” is a system of taxes that will, much like the much hated national energy plan before it, shift a large amount of money from places like Newfoundland and Labrador to the wallets of voters in Ontario and Quebec.

In order to produce oil, for example, natural gas is often used in the extraction process. This will increase the cost of oil production leading to lower royalties for Newfoundland and Labrador and raise second thoughts among oil executives considering future projects that might be “gas intensive”.

The Holyrood generating plant, which currently supplies a huge amount of the island’s power, burns heavy oil by the millions of barrels a year. Meaning an increase in carbon tax will increase the electrical bills of every householder and business.

In Labrador a large number of communities depend on diesel generated power. Neither they, nor anyone using oil to heat their homes, can afford to simply cut back on their usage to any appreciable degree.

Granted the Liberal plan would provide tax cuts to offset carbon taxes but will it be enough to cover the cost for individuals who really don't have a lot of choices that might allow them to go greener and where do you think most of those tax breaks will have the biggest effect?

It’s not hard to figure out. Simple math will tell you. Surely the manufacturing sector in Central Canada will pay more carbon tax as well, but with more 60% of Canada’s population residing in Ontario and Quebec (many of which have access to cheap Churchill Falls power and mass transit systems) most of the tax breaks will be enjoyed there as well.

As far as Stephen Harper is concerned Newfoundland and Labrador may as well be a far off land that is of no concern to him. The Liberal Party of Canada, if elected, will try to push forward with their latest “Green Ontario/Quebec tax shift”. Either way you slice it this is not a good day for places like Newfoundland and Labrador on the federal scene.

Perhaps, as some have said before, it’s time to consider a “shift” of our own in Newfoundland and Labrador. Perhaps what we need is a political shift.

With a string of minority governments almost guaranteed in Ottawa these days, electing a locally focused “Newfoundland and Labrador” party may well be the way to go. Seven representatives in Ottawa fighting for Newfoundland and Labrador, rather than toeing the line for Canadian parties, may be the only hope this place has to block harmful legislation introduced by either of the mainstream parties.

It's certainly a better option than doing nothing and waiting for the axe to fall.


Mark Francis said...

The purpose of the policy is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which have to be reduced. If a region is heavily dependent on using carbon-based fuels, it needs to change.

The tax shift policy contains financial incentives for capital acquisitions of emission-reducing technologies and for R&D of green technologies.

If you want a strong local government to represent your interests, get one in which will work harder at reducing your region's carbon footprint.

It is old news that carbon emissions have to be reduced.

Soon enough, the US will start using cap-and-trade and will insist that we do the same if we are to maintain even a somewhat level trading relationship. Tax shifting is widely recognized as an efficient means to start greening the economy of the country.

As for some of the quotes:

1. Gasoline isn't subject to the tax shift.

2. The tax shift is relatively small and won't add much to the cost of goods. Any diesel truck can be equipped with off-the-shelf technology which mixes hydrogen generated using 'spillage power' from the alternator. A small tank of distilled water is kept onboard. Diesel savings are about 10%, which more than deals with the effects of the tax shift. The system costs very little, and would be eligible for the tax credit.

3. There are additional tax credits for people living in remote areas.

As for tax shifting being a fraud, well, I'll tell you what a fraud is: A fraud is one generation leaving its mess for future generations to clean up.

I live with a very low carbon footprint, and intend to lower it further. Nevertheless, unless something is done to reverse the effects of climate change, myself and especially my children, will be paying for the mistakes and misdeeds of others. Without tax shifting away from carbon, my family is going to be penalized despite not being part of the problem.

Patriot said...

Hi Mark,

I don't disagree that a regions (all regions) need to lower their carbon footprint but having regions heavily dependent pay a lot of tax that will be (through tax cuts) sent to another region is not a solution. It's a cash grab.

A much better method would be to go ahead with the carbon tax but take ALL the revenues and put them into grants, research and incentives for people and industry to use green technology. Not to simply put in pockets.

As the plan is now it simply moves money from one place to another and even though there are some incentives built in, much more can and should be done.

I don't have a problem with getting green but I do have a problem with this narrow vision.

Anonymous said...

As ususal Myles you are spot on target once again. The following is in the National Post today.

Ontario and Quebec are determined to get their hands on all the oil revenue coming in one way or another and Dion is planning to see that they get it

CALGARY -It appears the Conservative party's cheeky nickname for Stephane Dion's carbon tax plan can no longer be considered accurate. The "Green Shift" policy platform released yesterday will not, it turns out, be a "tax on everything," as the government claims.
Quebec's hydro-powered electricity will, by all accounts, go untaxed. Ontario's nuclear power, too, appears to be in line for none of Mr. Dion's proposed penalties. A more appropriate title might be to call the Liberals' scheme a tax on everything made or fuelled using energy resources produced in Western Canada, and possibly Newfoundland.
This is not, to be sure, anything like the last bold Liberal energy realignment project, maintains University of Calgary economist Frank Atkins -- though he's certain that suspicions of another National Energy Program are, as always, bound to surface here.
Coal, natural gas and oil dug out of Alberta, Saskatchewan and B. C. soil are, after all, just as vital to the productivity of Ontario factories and Quebec's truckers (nor will either be soothed by the insinuation in the "Green Shift" handbook that goods traded between Canada and its largest trading partner, the United States, will "likely not" face tariffs under his plan, provided that the Americans are willing to impose comparable carbon taxes of their own).
And despite Mr. Dion's promises to exempt petrol at the pump from his carbon taxes -- something Judith Dwarkin, chief economist at Calgary's Ross Smith Energy Group, presumes is a nakedly political move, since automobiles count among the country's largest CO2 source -- drivers across the country are bound to pay more, as gasoline production costs rise.
"It will get into the equation, though not directly," Ms. Dwarkin says. "The cost to make the gasoline, to transport it, to sell it, those costs are all going to go up to the extent that at retail, that's all going to get folded into the price."
Mr. Dion assures us that low-income consumers and businesses will see that money again in the form of tax cuts. The tax burden falls most heavily on three groups, Mr. Atkins figures:
"They're going to tax upper-income Canadians and large [emitting] firms and the oil industry," a list overrepresented by Western, particularly Alberta-based corporations. "And they're going to redistribute this money to people at the lower end of the socioeconomic status," who just happen to exist in the largest concentrations east of here. As a political plan, it may have some merit, he suggests. "There are a lot of people in Ontario who think that 'it's about time we stuck it to the oil companies,' and that's how they'll view this."
Environmentally, though, the outcomes may not be what the Liberals envision. Reducing profitability and with it production in the oilsands will not alleviate the world's energy consumption, Alberta Treasurer Iris Evans points out, but merely displace production and revenue to other jurisdictions --particularly those with much lower environmental standards -- driving investment away from Western Canadian resources. Besides, it remains to be seen how much elasticity the Liberal experiment will find even here, notes Ms. Evans: Roughly 99% of Albertans heat their homes using natural gas; its energy sector is wholly reliant on fossil fuels to make more fossil fuels. Given the lack of waterfalls in the vicinity, there is little on offer that might prove suitably substitutable -- no solar-powered hydraulic shovels are on the horizon -- regardless of federal penalties, at least until someone erects a nuclear facility nearby. If that's what Mr. Dion has in mind, there is no mention of funding transfers to encourage such a thing in his Green Shift report.
Instead, the projected $15-billion the Liberal plan will generate, largely from this region that is home to a considerable grouping of the country's 700 largest industrial CO2 emitters, is earmarked for low-income tax cuts and credits, child care benefits and handouts to Northern Canadians. Where Alberta's own greenhouse gas penalties, imposed last summer, stay within the province and are spent primarily within the energy patch on projects aimed at cutting emissions,

Ms. Evans explains, the "Green Shift" looks to her like dollars shifting from the pockets of Western industry to other parts of the country. "Obviously, Mr. Dion is not looking for votes in Alberta," she says. While this may not be another National Energy Program, if Mr. Dion gets his way, the political and economic results could end up looking awfully similar.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't that give Labrador hydro power or Newfoundland and Labrador wind power or geothermal an advantage in the market place? bring it on.

Mark Francis said...

"A much better method would be to go ahead with the carbon tax but take ALL the revenues and put them into grants, research and incentives for people and industry to use green technology. Not to simply put in pockets."

The tax cuts _are_ the incentive. It's more efficient.

Worked fine in Europe. Tax shift policies are already a generation old over there. In some cases the results were excellent.

This is hardly the only policy to go in place anyway.

Besides, why should I not be entitled to receive funding? I'm low income and I rent and have three kids. I can do very little to reduce my carbon footprint further. What I can do requires capital that I don't have. The tax cut and tax credits will enable me to do that.

With your idea implemented, whether or not I can afford -- indeed survive -- the tax will be completely contingent upon agents beyond my control. If they decide to simply pass the tax along down the line and do nothing to reduce their carbon output, I'm potentially screwed. (I work hard, but make little.)

With this tax shift, if the corporations and government still do squat, I have some financial cover.

With your idea, money would be transferred out of my pocket, to either government coffers, or to businesses who may or may not transfer their _later_ savings down the line to me -- assuming that the businesses which use the credits and transfer the savings to lower prices are ones which I can purchase from.

Carbon-polluting industries are causing considerable degradation to the environment. My children will have to pay for it. When people try to argue that the Green Shift is just some sort of conspiracy to shift some oil revenue to the East, I simply point out that my children will be paying for the environmental mess currently being caused.

The future is subsidizing the present. My children, and certainly their children, will not benefit from our current wealth of non-renewable resources.

But they will be paying for it, no matter where they live, East or West.

And what the hell are we doing as a society taxing good things like my work, but letting crap like pollution go untaxed?

Anonymous said...

Mark said, "Worked fine in Europe. Tax shift policies are already a generation old over there. In some cases the results were excellent."

OK, I agree, but like you said, it worked in "some" cases. What about the ones where it didn't work and which model is being used for the Liberal plan? A successful or failed one?

Mark also said, "I can do very little to reduce my carbon footprint further. What I can do requires capital that I don't have. The tax cut and tax credits will enable me to do that."

Don't count on the 4 0r 5 hundred you MIGHT get each year to make any major changes in your carbon footprint. Really, what can you accomplish with that small amount of capital?

In an earlier comment Mark also said, "gasoline isn't subject to the tax shift". Correct Mark, but that's only in the short term and besides, don't you think that if companies producting, refining and distributing gasoline have to pay more for their carbon footprint that it will get passed along to the consumer in even higher gas prices (not to mention trucking costs to get food, clothes and everything else here?).

The day of paying 10 bucks for a tomato are not that far off my friend.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Dion's plan is going over like a lead baloon with the usually liberal readership of the toronto star newspaper. Unfortunately that just means 4 more years of Stephen Harper and his CRAP party (Conservative, Reform, Alliance)

Here are the comments from the Star:

We asked whether you were willing to pay higher taxes on fossil fuels if you also get an income tax cut. Here's what you had to say:

We do not need to be heavily taxed on the user side. What we need is incredibly strong incentives to go green.
Joe Tomkins, Nanamio

NO! These things NEVER work out to the benefit of the average Canadian. Bureaucratic costs alone will eat up any kind of decent income tax break we would have got, and even if they do give us a break initially, you can bet they'll find some excuse to claw the money back before too long.
Rob Bucholtz, Surrey

First things first! It's all well and good to debate cap and trade vs. carbon tax as well as the green shift plan but none of these options can be implemented until at least most of the world's major pollution emitters have an iron clad agreement. Canada is not in it's own atmosphere.
Scott Aver, North Vancouver

There need to be greater incentives for development and use of green resources, a tax break for those producing green energy sources, and less of a tax for those using them. The incentive needs to be in the design and manufacturing, and not a punishment of current fossil fuel consumers.
Stephen Parr, North York

This so-called "carbon tax" is just another way for the super rich to separate poorer people from their hard-earned money. Putting a new tax on heating our homes is simply crazy. Where will all this money go? I for one will certainly waste no time in converting my gas fireplace to a wood-burning one. So much for "helping the environment"
Peter Haans, Burlington

Demolishing the economies of Ontario, and Alberta, and driving Saskatchewan and Newfoundland back into have-not status may lower green-house gas emissions, but it won't serve the people of Canada or the world well at all.
K. G. Rollock, Calgary

I would be willing to pay the tax if my income tax was lowered. HOWEVER, what I am wondering is, why is some of my income tax money not being used to help the environment and how much higher is this carbon tax going to be in comparison to my income tax?
Krystin Diceman, Bradford

I am retired on a disability pension. I will only save about $238 in income taxes, this will NOT be revenue neutral. My natural gas costs to heat my home plus rising hydro costs will sure as hell be much more than $238. For the first time in my life I will not be voting Liberal.
Paul Nicholson, Owen Sound

Stephane Dion is ready to push another tax on us, even though the majority of voters are saying no. The only green in this plan is what they were smoking while creating it.
J. Brown, Toronto

Instead of creating a new so-called 'revenue neutral' tax, why not just re-allocate our current tax revenue?
Chris Beaver, Bowmanville

Someone in the government has to take responsibility for measures to help the environment and I applaud Dion for doing so.
Rennette Madill, Whitby

The PM is right, the Green Plan will "screw everybody" as the costs make their way through the economy.
MJH Halpen, Calgary

Dion's taxes will punish frivolous uses of energy such as heating our homes, cooking dinner, cleaning our clothes and lighting our houses at night.
Bill Petrie, Toronto

NL-ExPatriate said...

Why didn't Girly man Harper implement the taxing user fees recommendation the O'brien report recommended?
Because the Ontario chamber of commerce didn't want it.
As usual this national party like all preceding and succeeding national parties opted to steal from the minority provinces and reallocate give to the majority provinces in order to drum up support where it will win them the most votes.
Yes Myles it is time we looked out for number 1 and elected some NL-First party representatives.
At least then we could lobby to have whatever national party wins support he development of the lower Churchill and not have to worry about the national party worrying about Quebec's 75 seats over our 7 seats to get a promised loan guarantee/co-signor from the national party in power.
And pressure Quebec to allow NL to transmit it's energy to market through a national energy corridor.
Imaging a Natural Gas pipeline from Newfoundland through Labrador to market and an infeed to the island portion of the province from the lower churchill so we could shut down the fossil fuel burning Holyrood electric generating plant.
As for Dion's carbon tax shift somehow I don't think 150 rural offset will actually do much for our economy which is highly dependent upon fossil fuels for fishing, mining, transporting especially since we don't have a railroad and no national party considers ocean transport a viable mass transit that should be subsidized unlike upalongs RR's and border crossings or mass transit. IE Marine Atlantic.
The question that really needs to be answered is will the same amount of tax be shifted on a provincial per capita usage? If no then odds are it will be just a tax shift from the minority rural producers to the majority provincial consumers.
I know from seaching per capita carbon usage that in the states the rural areas far exceed carbon usage than do the urban areas.
Oh and comparing the tar sands to our conventional oil when it comes to carbon usage to produce is like apples and oranges.
We don't have to boil our oil we don't have to dig it or truck it.
While Al might have two pipelines for getting oil to market versus our tanker ship method that would be the only saving on carbon usage the tar sands has over our off shore conventional oil reserves.
The only feasible option that I see for carbon reduction right now would be to tx all stationary uses of fossil fuels. We have the technology to replace those usages and have had for quite some time with Hydro and Nuclear electricity production for home heating and certain industrial uses. But because of a lack of vision and politicking to win the next election by the national parties nothing has ever been done to implement what has been feasible for quite some time.

NL-First, It's time...

Anonymous said...


I agree that it is time that we looked out to number ONE and elected some NL party first representatives, but sir how do we do it?

What is the matter with our young, youthful people not becoming aligned with the party that you tout, especially those who would have a hankering or an inspiration to become involved in politics?

Is it that the party isn't advertising strongly enough to attract the right type of personnel to form the complete package that the NL First party requires?

I think that a lot of advertising has to be done, not necessary paid advertising at the moment, but if the leaders came to the call-in Radio Shows which are omnipresent in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador on a daily basis, that probably could bring a lot of attention to the urgent need for potential politicians who would be under the NL First banner. I am sure Bill Rowe, Randy Simms and Linda Swain would welcome such calls and then there is the CBC Soap Box Show.

Attention to whoever is the brain child of this much needed party, please get your voice out there through the radio stations call-in shows, that party is needed more than any other in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

nl-expatriate and Calvin, please make your voices heard in a much louder tone for this cause.

Again, the idea of having the fourth party known as Newfoundland and Labrador party is needed more than anything else on the political scene of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I hope this will be a successful venture for all of us.

Mark Francis said...

Re: Here are the comments from the Star

The Star actually published an even number of pro and con letters.

As for $10 tomatoes...

If that's what tomatoes actually cost when you account for all externalities, that is, when you add up all the real fiscal effects of producing, transporting and selling them, including all of the pollution effects and climate change effects, then that's what we should be paying for them. The end result of $10 tomatoes would be more and more tomatoes locally grown to offset all those costs.

Check out the 100 mile diet (Google it) to see what I mean.

Our current economic model is full of external costs. Mainly, we are leaving the costs of pollution and climate change to our children and our children's children to pay.

People all start arguing about how this tax shift supposedly moves significant amounts of money from one region to another, when our current system causes mass amounts of money to flow from the future to the present. Those people and corporations who are more responsible for forcing future generations to take on that debt should be penalized.

Hopefully, they will change their behaviour.

The tax shift would be implemented gradually over a four year period, and, in the end, is actually a modest carbon tax. There is much more to come when cap-and-trade comes into play, which all three parties have sworn to do.

I strongly suggest that whatever we can do, we should start doing it now.

If we don't, I assure you, our trading partners will make us do it soon enough.

Anonymous said...

Correction Mark, when I copied the comments from the Star I copied them in their entirety, if there were more later then so be it but when they were copied here none were left out.

As for $10 tomatoes my point is that they will cost that in remote places like NL where the cost of supply is greater, not in Ontario or other easier to get to places. By your logic NLers have to take the brunt of the increased cost, thanks pal

Bewildered said...

I agree with mark and the anon. We need to do something to save the planet for the future but I'm not convinced that Dion's plan is it.

It's a fact that as energy prices rise it makes life more and more difficult for people in remote areas where raw materials, food and manufactured goods need to be shipped in (and it's no good saying grow your own tomatoes because that's just one example and smaller remoter areas simply are not able to suddenly start producing everything they need).

Adding a further charge on top of those high energy prices will, without doubt, have a bigger impact on those areas and giving personal tax breaks will pump more expendible funds into larger centers like Ontario and Quebec.

It's a hell of a thing to think about.

Mark Francis said...

Well, I read your post, immediately went and looked, and The Star deliberately had a one-to-one posting of letters pro/con..

Good poll out today on the plan showing lots of support for it among non-Conservatives:


"As for $10 tomatoes my point is that they will cost that in remote places like NL where the cost of supply is greater, not in Ontario or other easier to get to places. By your logic NLers have to take the brunt of the increased cost, thanks pal"

No. By my logic, you have to pay what it actually costs (a lot less than $10/tomato, but I get the point of your rhetoric). Right now, the true costs of burning carbon-rich fuels is being passed off to future generations, who have no say in what we are doing.

Why should my children and their children-to-be be subsidizing our unmaintainable economic model?

And, heads up. You are relying on a non-renewable resource to get your food. That's a house of cards I don't want my children to be subsidizing either.

Think local.

I favour NL hanging onto its resource wealth and doing what it wants with it. Just do what you can to ensure future generations aren't paying for it in spades.

And if tomatoes look too expensive to import, use the economic principle of substitution.

Anonymous said...

Personally I don't have a problem with the Dion plan if, and only if, the tax dollars are returned to the jurisdiction they are taken from rather than simply spread across the board. I also believe that some allowance would need to be made for remote areas. Otherwise you can count me out

From the New Energy web site. Clearly they feel that any tax should be used to encourage green technology, not given as tax breaks.:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

There are two general proposals for cutting U.S. greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions. One is for Congress to institute a mandatory national cap-and-trade system, capping all major sources of emissions and charging emitters a price/ton for excess emissions.

The other approach is to tax all sales of emissions-generating products, adding a surcharge on electricity produced by natural gas and coal and adding a surcharge for fuels such as heating oil and auto gas. Refiners and manufacturers would also have to pay for their spew.

Cap-and-trade has been shown to get a reaction from the marketplace. It was key to the mitigation of North America’s acid rain problem in the 1990s. A cap-and-trade system has been evolving in the EU since 2005 with mixed reviews and mixed success.

The tax has been at work in four Scandanavian countries since the 1990s. Emissions have gone up in three, in Norway by 43%. But the tax has led to a significant drop in Denmark’s emissions (now 15% below 1990 levels). What made the difference? What can be learned?

The first thing to learn is that a tax is unlikely in any but the most liberal of western democracies. No matter how good the plan is, any politician campaigning for a tax with even the best of arguments can always be hammered by an opponent warning voters to “beware of anybody who wants to raise your taxes!” That's why in France and Germany, where people are accustomed to gas taxes, leaders considered a carbon tax too polically difficult.

Both the cap-and-trade system and the tax system are only as good as the way they are applied. In the case of cap-and-trade, the EU has discovered the system is sure to fail if the emissions allotments are too freely given. Although the system caps overall emissions, over-emitters can pay for the privilege to spew by buying allotment credits (on trading markets) from under-emitters, who thereby profit from efficiencies and New Energy use. If the allotment credits are not expensive enough, the incentive to reduce emissions isn't there.

In the case of the carbon tax, economist Monica Prasad argued in the NY Times that Denmark’s success was not in getting leaders to like the tax but in getting them to use it's revenues well. Prasad: “The very thought of new tax revenue has a way of changing the priorities of the most hard-headed politicians — even Genghis Khan learned to be peaceful, the story goes, when he saw how much more rewarding it was to tax peasants than to kill them…”

The only way an electorate will accept a carbon tax is if voters understand the revenues will come back to them. This was relatively easier in Scandinavia, where voters are familiar with the trade-off between taxes and services. In the U.S., tax advocates seem willing to promise anything from new toasters to free makeovers.

Prasad: “…Carbon tax discussions always seem to devolve into gleeful suggestions for ways to spend the revenue. Reduce the income tax? Give the money to low-income consumers? Use it to pay for health care? Everyone seems to forget that the amount of revenue is directly tied to the amount of pollution that is still going on…”

Prasad explains that the reason the tax effectively cut emissions in Denmark is that revenues were applied to subsidize the building of New Energy and to incentivize the introduction of efficiencies. Once dependent on coal, Denmark now gets more than 20% of its electricity from wind and expects that to be 25% by the end of 2008. The change happened when the Danish government applied carbon tax revenues to make building and buying wind accessible.

For this reason, tax advocate Prasad objects to a gas tax: “Higher gas taxes would raise revenue but do little to curb pollution.”

By building New Energy and efficient technologies, energy consumption goes down and the externalized burdens from using Old Energy go down. Health gets better, air and water get cleaner. Over time, the electorate reaps the rewards not just of reduced GhG emissions but of a whole new understanding of energy and it's relationship to everyday life. Applying the tax revenues for anything else completely defeats the purpose of the tax.

Prasad: “…a carbon tax has been promoted almost as a panacea — just pop in the economic incentives and watch them work their magic. But unless steps are taken to lock the tax revenue away from policymakers and invest in substitutes, a carbon tax could lead to more revenue rather than to less pollution…”

Bottom line: The only way a carbon tax effectively cuts emissions is to use the revenue to build New Energy and reward those who adopt efficiency measures.

The problem: In the U.S., business and industry have habituated the electorate to bear the burden of innumerable externalized costs. Can that electorate be convinced to overcome its knee-jerk reaction to new taxes by an argument promising to relieve it of a burden it remains only mutteringly aware of?

Patriot said...

Hi folks,

This is what I like to see, good open debate about the issues. Great job. It's only by talking about these things that real solutions can be found.

Good on ya!

Mark Francis said...

Sweden was the first to implement a tax shift, back in 1991, which taxed carbon and sulfur in exchange for personal tax cuts. By year 2000, emissions were reduced 25% from what they would have been, and were below 1990 levels. Emissions have continued to drop.

Norway's oil industry has boomed, which didn't help their emissions.

Tax shifting may not reduce emissions, and the Liberal plan likely won't as it is too slight. It will likely reduce the rate of increase.

The Liberals still plan to implement cap-and-trade, and bring back programs to encourage conservation and greener technologies.

The problem with spending the revenue from the tax in the region it is taken from is that it rewards regions with a high carbon emissions, and penalizes those with a lower one. The carbon tax would push prices up across the board. So once again, those not polluting so much end up paying for those who do. It's perverse.

CO2 knows no borders.

The potential problem with spending the tax proceeds on only programs to reduce emissions is that in the meantime the higher prices it causes will still be passed down the line with no relief for the consumers. And, once again, those of us already leading a low carbon life get penalized.

Programs like that are needed, but need to come from existing general tax revenue.

There is an allowance for remote areas. I'll be told its not enough, but after living in a city (Toronto) which has been subsidizing confederation for the entire history of Canada, I'm only willing to go so far.

Look for _local_ answers.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mark,

I guess you just said it all when you said, "...after living in a city (Toronto) which has been subsidizing confederation for the entire history of Canada, I'm only willing to go so far."

Typical for someone in Toronto, who will more easily be able to use mass transit, hydro power (sold to Ontario by Quebec from NL's Churchill Falls).

It's also typical that you would go back to that old bugaboo about supporting Canada all these years, I guess the truth (or your version of it) finally comes out.

Well my friend tax payer's dollars from all of us paid for the opening of the St. Lawrence seaway that allowed manufacturing to boom in Ontario, not just taxpayers in Ontario. NL has suffered greatly by being robbed of Churchill power that is being used in Ontario and Quebec to attract industry. The fish quotas in this province were traded away to foriegn governments to smooth the way for trade agreements that built your city and province and keep its manufacturing industries rolling along. All of which caused the population of your area to grow while the rest of us see outmigration numbers that are staggering.

By using simple math anyone can see that the more people a region has paying taxes will mean more taxes from that area for federal coffers and transfers. Individuals, you and me, no matter where we live pay the same federal rates so don't give me your BS about you paying for confederation any more than the rest of us.

I pay as much federal tax as anyone based on my income bracket which is nothing to sneeze at and my taxes as well as yours go into supporting the federation so get off your high horse.

At first I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. I figured you just wanted to do things right but that statement tells me you're more likely one of those people who, like most animal rights activists, are so removed from the land and what a rural life consists of that you have no concept of what impact high energy prices can have on a place like that.

You obviously, based on your statement, feel NL needs to do more for the Country than it is.

If I'm wrong then prove me wrong.

Where do you live?

Do you use or have access to mass transit?

Do you depend on fuel oil or wood to heat your home or fossil fuel to generate your electricity (because you have no other option)?

Do you have the option of selecting products made in your province of residence?

The answers to those questions will tell everyone a lot more about your position than simple rhetoric about wanting to protect the world for future generations.

I want to protect the world for future generations as well but guess what, there's a generation here right now that needs to survive as well. I'm not saying some pain is not warranted but there's a big difference between a little pain and ruining communities, destroying economies and forcing a mass exodus from rural locations.

NL-ExPatriate said...

LMFAO you've got to be kidding me Marc Fancis Toronto has been subsidizing confederation since it's inception. OMG man you need to stop drinking that cool aid. NL'ians make up 10% of the armed forces, and we don't have one operationally manned military base, we contribute four times more to confederation's GDP on a per capita basis than any other canadian.

I'm not even going to go any further than that because changing the lexicon that central canada is the centre of the universe will never be changed until the federation changes.
Equality or Exit!

As for the Carbon tax shift. There is something nobody has bothered to mention and that is the

law of diminishing returns

and how all of these nice vote buying schemes using rural minority provinces wealth to elicit votes from the majority urban provinces.

Obviously if a province is using more fossil fuels it only makes sense that it would need more of the carbon tax returned to it so it could deal with it's carbon foot print. Anything else is reverse robin hood green style and is in essence a back door cap and trade.

In a perfect world we would all be using the same amount of fossil fuels on a provincial PER CAPITA basis.

Wouldn't it make more sense to give the carbon tax back to the places where it would do the most good to reduce carbon and not Dions plan which is just another line in a national parties line of doing what's in the best interest of the majority of canadians ON/QU 66% to get elected.

NL-ExPatriate said...

Marc Francis Said look for local answers. Wouldn't that mean any carbon tax be used locally/provincially to rectify our carbon emmission problems?

In case your wondering where I got the NL'ians contribute 4 times more per capita to the national GDP than any other canadian comes from here it is.

Averill Baker is a prominant Lawyer in NL and regularly writes well researched articles on NL's place in the canadian federation.

And lo, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians led all the rest

Cross Examination by Averill Baker
The Charter
The last line in the poem Abou Ben Adam reads, “And Lo Ben Adam’s name led all the rest.” Amen.
Figures were released three weeks ago identifying the provinces that contribute the most to the Canadian economy in exports to foreign countries and lo Newfoundlanders and Labradorians led all the rest – again. But, this time, it’s in spades, as the gamblers say, with the one-eyed-jack-of-diamonds-and-the-devil-close-behind way.
Newfoundlanders and Labradorians now contribute more to the Canadian economy per capita than any other Canadians to such a remarkable degree that it makes one feel sympathy toward Canadians from other provinces.
Other Canadians who look at these recent figures must feel embarrassed that Newfoundlanders are, in economic terms, contributing so much more than they are to the Canadian economy.
Canadians in Ontario and Alberta must feel like they’re on unemployment insurance with Newfoundlanders paying the bill. Quebecers and Maritimers must feel they are on welfare with Newfoundlanders paying the bill.
In economic terms each Newfoundlander is now worth four Canadians from other provinces.
It’s becoming embarrassing.
And what is just as embarrassing is that historically, since 1949, this province, on average, on a per capita basis, has led all other Canadians in contributions to the Canadian economy.
Of course, the billion dollars of power that we export indirectly to the United States shows up as Quebec’s power on the official figures. That’s one billion dollars of exports that must be taken from the Quebec column and counted as coming from this province.
Oh yeah, says the economist, we lead every other province on a per person basis with just over a half a million people - of course Newfoundlanders and Labradorians lead the rest of Canada. Also we have always exported practically everything we produce - wood, pulp and paper, minerals, fish, and now oil. That is why we have always contributed more to the Canadian economy than any other Canadians on a per capita basis.
And that is why some people sometimes suggest that we would have been better off had we not joined Canada or if we were today to separate from Canada. On the economic yardstick this province is in a far better position to separate and print its own money – just like we did prior to joining Canada.
The Export Development Corporation in releasing its figures last month claimed that this province is now exporting about $4 billion of crude oil to the United States. It points out that Statistics Canada figures, used by the provincial government, are incorrect.
Those incorrect figures, used by provincial governments and Ottawa, show that most of our exports of crude oil are going to other Canadian provinces for refining. The Export Development Corporation claims in their end of July report that in fact most of our crude is being shipped to the United States for refining and not to Canadian refineries. I believe the Export Development Corporation.
Together with the power through Quebec, these adjustments are necessary to get to the truth about our exports to foreign nations.
Some of our offshore crude and all of Voisey’s Bay nickel are shipped within Canada for processing and cannot be counted in values of exports. Voisey’s Bay nickel and Duck Pond copper and zinc, and iron ore, will lead exports of minerals next year. Where is Duck Pond you might ask? It’s around Trout Pond, which is next to a smaller pond called Goose Pond.
The Newfoundland separatist makes a valid point in saying that if we were not a part of Canada all of our exports would be to foreign nations.
Then look at the fantastic economic position we would be in.
Maybe Major Peter Cashin and Malcolm Hollett were right in 1948.
The only thing missing today is the quality of politician we had years ago - from the records of the National Convention and Hansard, quality politicians like Peter Cashin, Malcolm Hollett, Gordon Bradley, Joey Smallwood, James Chaulker, Dr. Jim McGrath, Dr. Fred Rowe, Bill Rowe, Charlie Ballam, C. Max Lane, Ed Roberts, John Crosbie, James McGrath, Clyde Wells, Nathaniel Noel, Bill Marshall, Dr. Noel Murphy, Ambrose Peddle, Jack Pickersgill, Dr. Frecker, Tom Hickey, John Lundrigan, Jim Morgan etc. etc.
Yes, today we do have some outstanding politicians, like Danny Williams, but they are like hen’s teeth – they’re hard to find.

Anonymous said...

And please do not forget the other Newfoundland and Labrador resources besides the Hydro Energy such as Iron Ore, Nickel Ore and Oil which have graced the economies of the other provinces since we have been part of Canada; and then the renewable 'fish resource' which was held under Ottawa's control, which Ottawa saw fit to allot to foreign nations to abet international trade, instead of utilizing the fish resource right at home in creating a world class fishing nation in Newfoundland and Labrador, the province with the adjacancy to the fish resource.

Then they have the nerve to say that Ontario has kept Canada running. What a crock! It is the other way around, if the province of Newfoundland and Labrador had been given the assistance to develop its natural resources right here at home, TO THE SAME extent of the assistance that the other provinces had received, in the toeing of Newfoundland and Labrador's natural and human resources away from our province, resources which were utilized by others to create industries in their areas; the province of Newfoundland and Labrador would have been the most industrialized province in the nation.

And oh yes, I will not only blame the Federal politicians and the lobbyists for creating the economic mess, but our own provincial politicians had a hand into that deceitful process as well.

THE FEDERAL 'POLITICAL PATRONAGE' system, THE TOOL that ENTICED our politicians to do things that they probably would never of dreamt of doing and which caused the non-existant market economy in our province, when there were plenty of natural resources to have created the province of Newfoundland and Labrador into an economic Tiger, MUST BE ABANDONED.

Yes the political patronage system has to be abandoned. That tool, along with Newfoundland and Labrador's mere 2.2 per cent say in the Ottawa Parliament, will forever paralyze the province of Newfoundland and Labrador from becoming the economic force in nature that it is capable of becoming. The Federal Political Template SIMPLY HAS TO CHANGE .

Another way of having more clout is to vote in the NL First Party.

NL First Party please get your Act together, we need the party more than ever. Please get moving in that direction.

Anonymous said...

Wood isn't a fossil fuel and so wood isn't subject to any carbon tax.

Anonymous said...

Correct Anon, wood is not considered a fossil fuel and would not be subject to a carbon tax but what does that say about any of the plans government has? If you increase the price of furnace oil and electricity then more and more people will switch to burning wood. So much for cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions on that front. Fossil fuel or not wood is a major polluter of the atmosphere when burned and that's what a lot of people in rural areas will end up doing because they can no longer afford the other options.

Mark Francis said...

I thought it was Alberta which the most abused in Confederation? Go argue with them. They certainly have huge amounts of research supposedly proving that the Atlantic provinces are leeches.

I'm sure the Calgary mafia is spinning facts left right and center (though mostly to the right) on those points. What I do know is that even with a depressed economy, Ontario is still pumping out $20 billion/yr in taxes to the rest of Canada beyond what it takes in in tax benefits from the Federal layer. We also take in a huge number of immigrants, services for which are paid out of provincial coffers. When NL's population was clearly shrinking, quite a few from NL came to Ontario to work, sending cash back home.

This is all fine by me, actually. I invite immigrants from all over the world in with open arms, and am pleased to redistribute some of the wealth. And how could I, or want to, complain about out-of-province workers?

But I don't accept getting kicked in the face despite these investments in a nation.

That being said, Toronto is highly abused by Ontario. Even a good portion of our local property tax money is being redirected to rural Ontario. There remains a movement to make Toronto a province. Toronto's mayor is well known to be in that camp. So am I.

NS is running ads in our subway for workers. I was very recently in La Have and have relatives there. Maybe I should move... but, wait, if and when the Greenland ice cap melts, much of what I visited in NS will be under the ocean...

Now, to this idea of keeping the carbon tax proceeds regional...

The more you emit CO2, the more money you should get? So all the work in my community so far to reduce CO2 emissions is to go unrewarded? Indeed, with the carbon tax pressing prices higher, we just pay, pay, pay, and never get reimbursed for all that work and investment we've already made to reduce our carbon footprint?

Ah, but if you haven't bothered yet to reduce your footprint, you'll get fiscal help then?

The tar sands in Alberta is to get even more money? I'm going to pay the carbon tax though higher prices in order to subsidize -- and that's what it is -- Alberta's economy so it can reduce it's carbon footprint? I am quite literally poor enough as it it. I can't afford that.

People who have already worked hard to reduce their carbon footprint should not be paying as much of this tax. That's very fair and very simple.

Arguing that polluters are to get the bucks isn't a tax shift, it's a tax shaft.

It's not that I refuse to see money granted to regions to reduce their carbon footprints on a project by project basis. But I refuse to pay additional taxes for it. As I said earlier in this thread, that has to come out of general revenue. I'm not paying any more for it.

Mark Francis said...

Burning wood is far better than oil.

Ditto with ethanol. <- Hint!

They both have their own problems.

I also hate nuclear power but prefer it to coal.

Anonymous said...

Mark, your comment at 4:57 proves the kind of circular thinking you are wallowing in. I'll tell you what, if you can figure out exactly how much of your personal money NL used in the past I'll be glad to write you a cheque for any amount that is beyond what portion of my tax dollars went to support Quebec. Let's see, NL will get 9 million in equalization this year and Quebec will get 8 billion.

You're an idiot my friend and your toronto centric BS is showing.

Calvin said...

Patriot, as you can see.No comment needed here from me.

More Central Canadain Propaganda.The War Machine heats up.

Time to bring back the buckets.

Patriot said...

true enough Calvin, when the truth is finally spoken they come out of the woodwork like termites trying to knock the house down.

Anonymous said...


......There are those who want a new world order and believe this is achieved by shutting down the industrialized nations. Chief among these is Maurice Strong who said in 1990 “What if a small group of these world leaders were to conclude the principal risk to the earth comes from the actions of the rich countries?...In order to save the planet, the group decides: Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring this about?” He told Maclean’s magazine in 1976 that he was “a socialist in ideology, a capitalist in methodology.” Presumably this explains the duplicity in making a great deal of money as an industrialist. He also warned that, “...if we don’t heed his environmentalist warnings, the Earth will collapse into chaos.” Unfortunately, the world listened and the chaos is being caused by policies that evolved from his actions.
But that aside for now, the question is how would you cause the collapse of the industrialized nations? An analogy is useful to understand how Strong and a few like-minded people did it. Compare the nation to a car and think about how you can stop the engine. You can squeeze the fuel line and starve the engine, however, if you did that in any country people would react quickly and negatively. Witness the public reaction to dramatic increases in gasoline costs. However, you can stop an engine by plugging the exhaust. Strong’s method is not a physical stop as you do with an engine, but a metaphorical stop. Show how one part of the industrial exhaust is causing catastrophic, putting the survival of the planet in jeopardy and you have your instrument.
Now you need a political vehicle to carry that instrument. It is almost impossible to convince all governments separately, as Kyoto and current climate negotiations prove. His experience told him the United Nations (UN) was his vehicle. Elaine Dewar, wrote about Strong in her book “Cloak of Green” and concluded that he liked the UN because, “He could raise his own money from whomever he liked, appoint anyone he wanted, control the agenda.”

The challenge was two fold. Advance the political agenda and provide the scientific evidence to provide legitimacy. Organization of and appointment as first Secretary General of the United Nations established in 1972 provided the political platform. Out of that agency and in conjunction with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was formed to provide and advance the scientific evidence. This is the group touted as the consensus on climate change research. It is anything but, and has been a political agency from its inception, but it has convinced the public that humans, especially their CO2, are causing climate change by continuing to publish periodic reports. We will examine their work in the next article.
Other events were providing the fertile social and political ground needed to further the goals. Anything that would suggest human activities and particularly industry were causing environmental problems became a focus. The Club of Rome was formed in April of 1968 and led to the publication of the book “Limits to Growth”. Paul Ehrlich’s “The Population Bomb” published in 1968 added academic legitimacy to a major fear. A report Strong commissioned for the first UNEP conference and prepared by Barbara Ward and Rene Dubos titled, “Only one Earth: The care and maintenance of a small planet” essentially became the first state of the environment report. It reinforced the shrinking planet perspective provided by the photographs taken by 8 astronauts.
Wonderful political catch phrases appeared, such as Dubos’ “Think globally, act locally” or the Brundlandt Commission’s “Sustainable development” which were widely disseminated and adopted by the public. The latter phrase was a typical vague political statement. It meant everything to everyone, but nothing to anyone. Development had come to mean constant growth and in that context was clearly not sustainable. It was an oxymoron that prefaced a series of such contradictions about to emerge as politics and emotion overtook science and logic. It also gave the moral high ground to the extreme environmentalists, a position from which they could bully society and suppress scientists who dared to question.
These groups were provided a world platform and ascendancy by receiving Consultative Status at the 1992 conference Strong organized and chaired in Rio de Janeiro. The idea of Consultative Status was resurrected along with the concept of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) from original ideas incorporated in the UN Charter. The conference was dubbed the Earth Summit, but as with the current debate large segments of society including industry and business were essentially excluded. They were subsequently given token status by establishment of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBSCD), but who has heard of them? One critical piece was established at the Conference to further Strong’s agenda of controlling through politics; the Climate Change Convention out of which the Kyoto Accord was to emerge.
Now everything was in place to control the science and further the political agenda. Now policies could evolve, but because they were based on incorrect science would have devastating consequences. Now the challenge was to perpetuate the misinformation and divert scientists who despite personal attacks, denial of funding, and exclusion from national and world level conferences continued to pursue the scientific method.

Where is Mo Strong now? He is hiding out in China since his buddy Tongsun Park implicated him in the Iraqi oil for food program. Seems the US government has quite the interest in Mo. (http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1126198672832_8/?hub=Canada)

Seems old Mo still has a capitalist penchant for acquiring wealth since he is a proponent and investor of the coal-fired-generating-station-per-week-turn-key-operation in China as well as the financial backer behind the Chinese car maker Cherry QQ. Over there he is known as Chairman Mo. This is the same guy who went around and bought out the oil companies in AB for a premium during the National Energy Program and started what became Petro Canada. Good buddy of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and than finance minister Marc Lalonde. They paid him millions to go around and pay more for the evil American owned oil companies in AB than they were worth. Nice gig if you can get it.

Sorry Mark Francis, we wont bend over and lick the boots of those from upalong this time. Nice effort on the talking down to us though, but this aint the 60's, 70's & 80's and we aren't our parents & grandparents. Your handouts built a great education system down here. Thanks.



Mark Francis said...

Let me get this straight. If I lived in NL, my position that I refuse to pay another tax so that industries can get (my) money would be valid, but because I don't live in NL, it isn't?

Where I live is irrelevant. Wherever I go, I live a low carbon lifestyle. I've made sacrifices. I fail to see why I should be subsidizing wasteful industry anywhere in Canada, be it Ontario, Alberta or NL.

This is perfectly logical.

The purpose of a tax shift is to reward those who live in a low carbon manner. It doesn't matter where they live.

CO2 and the climate change it causes pays no respect to our borders.

"Mark, your comment at 4:57 proves the kind of circular thinking you are wallowing in. "

Not at all. If you want to make a point, you need to go beyond making unsubstantiated assertions.

I have never argued in favour of ending equalization, only that there are limits to how far I think it should go. That appears to be the same argument I'm hearing from other commenters here.

But if I were to pay a carbon tax without a tax shift granting me a tax cut and tax credits, I would be subsidizing polluters. Not only can I not afford to do that, it is not at all fair. I've done my bit.

Likewise, if carbon taxes were to stay regional, which would penalize low carbon emission regions (they still get hit by higher prices caused by wasteful emissions elsewhere, and will still suffer under climate change, but get no real cash to deal with either), why not also argue that all taxes collected from each region from every level of government should stay in that region? That would put Ontario $20 billion ahead every year, which would pay off our deficit in 6 years or so, and then land every family in Ontario an average $4,000/year thereafter. I don't think that's good for the country, but it's where the logic leads.

"You're an idiot my friend and your toronto centric BS is showing."

Not at all. And you're breaking the rules of this blog:

"4) No personal attacks please"

Anonymous said...


On another thread an anonymous poster accused me of spreading lies with regards to the intentions of the Dion carbon tax plan. I have been saying the same thing for the past month or so, with regards to the implementation of a carbon tax, that the tax will be about taking money out of the oil producing provinces and returning it as income tax relief to all taxpayers, the majority of which reside in ON and QUE.

Well folks, here it is right from the horses mouth...

Dion's plan targets oil-rich provinces
Tax to hit Alberta, Saskatchewan hard

From Friday's Globe and Mail

June 27, 2008 at 4:00 AM EDT

TORONTO — Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion says 40 per cent of Canada's carbon emissions come from Alberta and Saskatchewan and the two western provinces will have to do the most to change their habits under his new green plan. But he said it will be good for them(HAHAHA) - and he's taking that message to the Calgary Stampede next weekend.

"If we do this plan, Alberta and Saskatchewan will be better off 10 years from now than if we don't do this plan," Mr. Dion said. "Their economies will be more diversified, their universities will be at the centre of something big happening around the world, and investments will grow."

He rejected the notion that the two highest polluting provinces having to contend with a greater carbon tax burden could result in Western alienation.


I'll give Dion credit though, at least he is being honest about his intentions. Screw the West and Atlantic Canada to ensure ON and QUE remain relevant.

This just in, while I am writing this Ed $telmach came over the radio and couldn't even get his words out to form a sentence he was frothing at the mouth so bad. The oilsands/tarsands produce 1/6th of 1% of world emisions was all I understood.

Dion wants to flip pancakes at the Stampede next week. Security should be pretty tight. Are Canadians really this dumb?

Scratch that.

Remember folks, stay vigilant!

Mark Francis said...

Necessary Objective: Reduce CO2 emissions due to global warming.

Solution: emitters must reduce output of CO2.

Problem: Alberta and Sask are greatest polluters of CO2 in Canada.

Well, regardless of what you do, if the goal is to reduce emissions, then they are going to get hit the hardest.

There's a really simple way for AB and SK to avoid paying so much of the tax: Reduce emissions.

It's not as if they haven't seen this coming for years.

They have to do it anyway. The US is likely going to start applying tariffs unless AB gets with the cap-and-trade program the US will roll out next year.

By the way, cap-and-trade, which all the parties want to implement, would also penalize AB and SK for the same reason. Both those provinces would end up purchasing carbon offsets from provinces with lower emissions, such as... Ontario and Quebec.

Of course, Ontario has lower CO2 emissions in no small part due to our nuclear plants... which we are still paying for with a tax on our hydro bill.

Anonymous said...


AB already has a cap and trade and CO2 emissions tax and that money is collected and put into a fund (Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund) which is to be used to fund research and development into alternative energy sources and into means of actually reducing CO2 emissions within industry and residential in AB. The target is 14% below 2005 levels, or about 200 megatonnes by 2050. 70% of this target will be made through Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology, 18% through clean energy and technologies such as bioenergy,wind,solar power, hydrogen and geothermal energy, and the final 12% through conservation and energy efficiency. The big push with CCS is its ability to be used as a means of injection into other older formations which will be used to bring up even more oil, much the same as water flood technology currently is being used. AB and SK are also looking at nuclear reactors as a means of providing power, one proposed for the Peace River area and the other on the SK side of Lloydminster. The industry and energy providers will pass on these costs to the people of AB and due to our higher average incomes will pay the money, knowing that it is STAYING in the province. Also, with our surpluses rebates will be afforded to those less fortunate.

The money isn't collected to be spent in other provinces as a means to fund Liberal "social justice" programs, i.e. National Daycare and rebates to the less fortunate (vote buying, brown envelopes), as the Dion program purports. Dion's program is about wealth distribution from the petro provinces to the others.

If the goal was to reduce CO2 emissions, why is gasoline exempt? Wouldn't it make sense to tax the tail pipe? Ah but there's the rub. Gasoline is already over the top in cost, adding to it would be political suicide in ON, QUE and BC. In the GVRD in 2004, 84 per cent reported their main transportation mode as the car; six per cent used transit; 10 per cent walked or cycled. In Greater Toronto, 79 per cent reported using the car, motorcycle or taxi; 15 per cent used transit; six per cent cycled or walked. I couldn't find stats on Montreal but it is probably in the same range of %'s. Those areas are hotbeds of Liberal seats as compared to the blue swath which reaches across AB and SK. Tsk tsk on you and your fellow urbanites for not utilizing public transportation, provided by ALL Canadian taxpayers, and saving the planet.

That's quite the reformation you've gone through in the past week, from supporting Dion's Green $haft to now promoting cap and trade. Looking to Amerikkka no less for direction as well is quite the contrast for Canadian progressives. Your other assertion that AB and SK are the greatest "polluters of CO2" is also false. ON also is a massive polluter but the "per capita" emissions are lower due to the population. The unnecessary car volumes in the GTA alone equals enough CO2 emissions as one oil sands (you probably prefer tar sands) development. Check out these other facts:

Nanticoke Generating Station, Ontario Power Generation, Ontario
14,715,952 tonnes CO2e

Lambton Generating Station Ontario Power Generation, Ontario
7,208,141 CO2e

Dofasco, Hamilton
4,863,485 tonnes CO2e

Algoma Steel Inc., Sault Ste Marie
3,893,110 tonnes CO2e

INVISTA (Canada) Company, Maitland
3,549,230 tonnes CO2e

These are just the bigger ones. What about all the other manufacturing and industrial emissions located in the economic engine of Canada?

You have a tell Mark. You seem to be more concerned about punishing AB and SK (&NL) than actually helping the environment.

Necessary Objective: Reduce CO2 emissions by reducing the amount of non-renewable fossil fuels being used and by growing other means of energy sources. Globull warming has nothing to do with it.

Some interesting quotes

Bill Graham, who served as interim
party leader, foreign affairs minister, defense minister and five-term
MP for Toronto-Centre-Rosedale said "What does revenue-neutral mean? It sounds nice when you say it, but it will create winners and losers. Who's going to win, who's going to lose and who's going to pay?"

Greg Weston Toronto Sun "In Ontario, for instance, government figures show Dion's plan would add at least 20% to the overall annual cost of generating electricity across the province. The impact would be as bad or even worse in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and much of the Maritimes, regions with generating stations powered by fossil fuels -- coal, oil and gas. As a result, Dion's scheme would slap a whopping tax of $1.1 billion just on those five power stations, increasing the cost of operating them by a staggering 80% or more. The latest figures we have show Nanticoke alone belched over 16 million tonnes of emissions into the air in 2006, roughly the equivalent of half of all the regular cars in the country.

Mark, I have enough faith in mankind to believe that we will find a way to evolve out of this situation with regards to our dependency on fossil fuels. Capitalism and free market forces work and will lead to the technology and alternative developments needed as well as adjustments to society. (See GM closing truck and SUV plants and the growth of small fuel efficient vehicles, that's the marketplace at work) Government should only be there to round out the sharp edges of the market, speculation & manipulation, other than that Govt. interference is just that, interference.