Monday, February 25, 2008

Conservatives Reject "One Of Canada's Best Economists"

Remember last year, when John Baird appeared before the Senate, armed with a scathing report that projected economic ruin should Canada implement Kyoto? Remember which economist the government hired to make the case? This is what the Conservatives where saying about economist Mark Jaccard at the time:
John Baird called Jaccard “one of Canada’s best economists outside of government” and by his parliamentary secretary as a “well-respected expert on environmental issues.”

When Jaccard agreed with the Conservatives, he was lauded, Baird quoted his conclusions often in hearings. The bright light has now become a dull bulb:
The Harper government has rejected a new report that calls for the introduction of a levy on pollution to be coupled with a 50% income tax break for the average Canadian.

The report, released on Monday by environmentalist David Suzuki and economist Mark Jaccard who heads a consulting firm that conducted the study, suggests that a levy on greenhouse gas emissions -- also called a carbon tax -- could be phased in, generating between $53-billion to $103.1-billion in new revenues without increasing the tax burden of the population.

One of the sharpest analogies I've heard, that completely nails the simple logic:
"While most Canadians have to pay about $90 a tonne to dump waste at their local municipal landfill, anyone can dump thousands of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere absolutely free of charge," said the report. "The bottom line: we must stop using our atmosphere as a free dumping ground."

That Mark Jaccard, he used to be such a economic sage, now he's all washed up, pretty much clueless.


Tomm said...


Great catch!

I noticed the economist but not the link to last year. You've caught the government in a little sleight of hand.

I'm guessing this means no new carbon taxes tomorrow.


Steve V said...

There does seem to be some pressure mounting on carbon taxes. The idea looks a lot more attractive when you enact offset tax reductions. The taboo idea is gaining steam.

MarkCh said...

How about a carbon tax, but the carbon tax revenue from a province is offset against income taxes only in that province? A massive tax like this one, at say $50 billion total revenue at the low end, would cause every Albertan's tax burden to rise by about $5,000 per year, or $20,000 per year for a family of four, after netting out the income tax reduction. Since this would lead to immediate Alberta separation, there would be no benefit.

But, if we ensured that revenues stayed in-province, it would still encourage shifts away from carbon emission. Can we all agree on that?

Red Tory said...

Steve — The government here in B.C. included a carbon tax in its budget that was announced just recently. It's a bit of a muddle, but perhaps a step in the right direction.

Steve V said...


That is part of what I meant by "pressure". Now that BC has leaped into the practical, it tends to diminish all the fear mongering.


I'm not sure of your math, unless you assume Alberta consumes all of their output, which they don't. Besides, last time I checked oil company revenues were beyond obscene, which speaks to plenty of room, without the depression their lobbyists argue. It's hard to swallow the "woe is me" nonsense, when the profits are higher than the GDP of half the world's countries.

Steve V said...

I thought this story was just amazing. Stelmach is behind the curve, even when it comes to the oil companies. I didn't think that possible...

Steve V said...

Red Tory has a great video of Jaccard explaining why we need a carbon tax.

MarkCh said...

Steve, it is pretty well known that Alberta has about 10% of the population and about 30% of the CO2 emissions. The oil sands only contribute about 2-3 of those 30% - the bulk is because Alberta uses coal for most of its electricity, having little hydro power and not having gone nuclear.

Oil companies are making big profits, sure, but if Ottawa uses that as a justification for a big tax which gets most of its revenue in Alberta, it will be described as NEP II, and they will be gone.

Of course, that might not actually worry the Liberals too much: take 28 Conservative seats out of Parliament, and things start looking up. :-)

Red Tory said...

Thanks for the link Steve.

Mark... good point. TransAlta Utilities is a big offender in the CO2 department and that frequently gets overlooked. I'd hasten to add in that regard that they do try to minimize their emissions as much as possible (certainly in terms of the particulate output), but it is coal after all, and at present there's only so much that can be done to reduce the GHG output.

wilson said...

And how long would it take for this carbon tax cash cow to sit in general revenues, and bank roll 'other' election promises?
It would be soooooo easy for a majority government to use the money to stay out of deficit, and abandon the environment.

Yup, Dion should get behind Jaccard on this. On the election trail he can explain to Canadians what a great idea it is for the price of gas to increase by a $1.60.
And he can explain to the Ontario manufacturers that their overhead costs will jump up , but don't worry, just install those windmills in the parking lot with this tax credit,
no one can afford to drive anyways, the lot will be empty, and all will be well.

And the price of food increase due to huge transportation costs? Organic gardening on your roof, next to your solar panels!!

Just like the bio-fuel answer to global warming that Suzuki was pushing in the early Kyoto talks, it will prove to be a disaster, somewhere.

wilson said...

Why McGuinty is against a carbon tax:

''For example, the study found 44 percent of the employment generated by oil sands investment is outside of Alberta,
with 16 per cent of the jobs in Ontario.
The CERI study shows the largest percentage of the government revenue (taxes and royalties) accrues to the Federal Government, not Alberta.
Over the 20-year study period, CERI estimates the total government revenues at $123 billion dollars (income tax, royalties, corporate tax, provincial sales tax, GST, property tax, etc.) as a result of investment and development in oil sands.
The government shares of the revenues are:
federal 41%,
Alberta 36%,
and other (provincial )governments and municipalities combined 23%.''

(google CERI report, oil sands)

wilson said...

ps...'Alberta Oil Sands – Enormous opportunities await Ontario manufacturers'
from the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade:

Ontario needs Alberta.

Red Tory said...

I see Wilson has got all her talking points from Party Central... Way to go, Wilson! (And she still can't figure out how to make a link. Go figure.)

wilson said...

Just a bit of reality RT.
But if you can prove me wrong, we're all listening.

Ontario benefits big time from the Alberta's oil sands, both in manufacturing jobs and provincial revenue, present and future.
And so does Quebec.

And don't think for a minute that Alberta's oil and gas companies would not retaliate against a NEP2, by pulling out of the East.
Oil/gas co's jumped into BC/Sask this winter, for exploration drilling, in reaction to Stelmach's royalty increase.

Be careful what you wish for.

wilson said...

(And she still can't figure out how to make a link. Go figure.)

So, how do you do it?

Red Tory said...

Wilson — Okay, first to the link thing. You do it like the following:

(a href="">the text you want your link to read goes here(/a)

Replace the parenthesis shown with < and > however. I can't use them in the example here or Blogger will read that as HTML and just show the link.

Here's a tip. Keep the code in a text file and then replace the particulars as required. That way, whenever you need it, you don't have to bother trying to remember the proper syntax.

Hope that helps!

Red Tory said...

Ontario benefits big time from the Alberta's oil sands, both in manufacturing jobs and provincial revenue, present and future.

How so, exactly?

Sorry, I can't "prove" you wrong, if I don't understand the basis of your assertion.

Steve V said...

Wilson just parrots what Stelmach said about Ontario, to justify NO action whatsoever. The impact is minimal in Ontario, it takes a combination of ignorance and arrogance to try and sell the tarsands as a boom for Ontario, in fact it's a joke. Sure it puts money into the federal coffers, which in turn is spent in other provinces, but then again Ontario could use the same argument, given its have status all these years. And, the funny thing, nobody was spouting off about that here, it was simply seen as Canadian fairness, now we get all this nonsense from these narrow tribalists, under some illusion that they are different.

Steve V said...

Maybe big oil could just transfer the money they waste on lies over to a carbon tax, with little consequence.

Red Tory said...

Having in past times lived in Alberta for a decade, I'm pretty familiar with the mantra, but I never really bought into it. I'd still like to see "Wilson" attempt to spell it out for us. Perhaps the story has changed in the last 20 years or so...

Red Tory said...

Seems "Wilson" has nothing to back up her bullshit. She's busy retailing the Party Line about the gun registry over at Jason's place. What a busy little bee she is! I hope she gets paid well for her efforts.