Sunday, May 04, 2008

"We Need To Put A Price On Carbon"

There has been plenty of speculation on whether or not Dion and the Liberals will present a carbon tax, as part of their environmental policy. Reading this interesting column by Dion today, it effectively puts the debate to an end. The Liberals will offer a carbon tax, of some sort:
We can talk about what the best model for putting a price on carbon across Canada might be, but the fact is we need to just do it...

We need to put a price on carbon. We need to make the costs of damaging our environment immediately visible and let polluters know they can't continue to dump pollution into our atmosphere for free. The price of carbon pollution must increase over time to encourage industry to change its behaviour and make greener choices so it can thrive in the 21st century.

I have never been a fan of the "three pillars" presentation by Dion, mostly because it might be too abstract to be understood. That said, I think he does an excellent job of presenting a coherent vision for the future, nicely weaving everything together to convey all oars in the water, towards a clear destination.

The political pitfalls of offering a new "tax", especially on a commodity which is already soaring, are obvious. You can already hear the Conservatives wailing, the attacks will effectively kill any substantive debate, just a question of defining the negative optics. On one level, Dion plays right into the Conservatives narrative, a tax and spend liberal. In the world of soundbites, Dion will lose everytime, because people need to engage to see the wisdom.

I assume that a spring election is off the table, judging from the recent comments. If that is truly the case, then Dion would be well served "selling" his ideas in the coming months. Not the barbeque circuit, but putting together a roundtable, enlisting expert opinion, to show that his ideas are economically sound, a tax shift, rather than a tax increase, a path that positions Canada well for the looming green economy. Dion can't sell this idea on his own, he needs allies, and the good news, they exist in spades, from surprising sources, from reputable, serious economists. The best way to present this controversial idea is Dion as the willing messenger, guided by expert opinion. In this way, Dion is somewhat insulated from the kneejerk Conservative attacks, in a best case scenario, he can counter that the government is out of touch.

Dion also has allies with provincial governments, in terms of policy. It is for that reason that the worry of political cost, in advocating a tax on carbon, can be offset by practical application. One of the great hypocritical positions of the Harper government, how they chastize Ontario's McGuinty for high taxes, yet they applaud British Columbia's Campbell for raising taxes that clearly impact industry. Blatant inconsistency aside, by all accounts the idea of a carbon tax is fairly popular in British Columbia, enough at least, that if Dion embraces the idea, there is no political price, potential gains. Ditto for Quebec, I don't see the risk, if anything Dion finds support through the provincial approach.

It would be a bold position, but in many ways Dion confronts his nemesis, the perception that he is weak. Presenting something, which at first blush might be unpopular, but has a real logic behind, it tells Canadians Dion is more concerned with getting it right, rather than scoring obvious political points. It's actually a nice contrast with the Conservatives, and it may well get Dion back to the fore on the environment, drawing some curiousity from voters who have drifted elsewhere.

58 comments:

liberazzi said...

I like your idea of instead of going on the (yawn) bbq circuit this summer and trying to promote the man (which will not work), lets promote ideas (what a concept) by creating a number of cross-country forums. Lets play on Dion's strength which is ideas, policy and determination. Dion certainly is not going to win votes with his communication skills or his charisma, so lets get him doing the things that he is good at and surround him on the tour with his stars.

Yes the Cons will brind out the tired tax and spend Liberal tag and the headlines will be especially in the Sun "Another Liberal Tax Increase". Yet climate change and pollution is too great a concern to be deterred by childish comebacks.

My biggest complaint of late is that the Liberals is of their abstentian stategy and that they do not appear to have a clear stategy or set of policies. What does this party stand for?

The Libs have a solid 30% voter base. Therefore, they need to attract another 5% to achive a minority and another 10% to achieve a majority. Obviously, the Libs are not going to gain votes from Con supporters, but historically they have gained votes from the Dips and the Greens. Policies like these will work towards attracting and or stealing votes from those two parties.

Finally, if we are not going to have an election this spring, then lets, as you have stated before, have a policy conference. Energize your base which is quite deflated at the moment. Instead of trying to gain cheap votes by focusing on scandals lets find out what we as Liberals stand for. How are the Libs going to run the country if they are elected? Yes, its great when the Cons stub their toe, but that is not going to win the election for the Libs.

Perhaps, we as members need to band together and demand a policy conference this summer?

The Grumpy Voter said...

It will be very hard for Dion to sell a Carbon Tax during the summer months when voters are paying $1.50/litre or more at the pumps. It's only going to go higher and voters are only going to become angrier and angrier. Dion will wear this during an election campaign - Tories don't even have to offer to reduce the federal excise tax to reduce the price either - all they have to say is, "it's expensive enough to fill up your car and now Dion wants you to pay more."

I've said it before and will say it again now: the environment is a soft election issue. They support environmental policy provided someone else is doing the cleaning up and so long as it won't impact their pocket book.

wilson said...

Dion will have to explain why $2.25a litre is not high enough.

Dion will have to explain why any income tax reductions shouldn't kick in NOW to 'neutralize' these already high and still rising gas prices.

Dion will have to explain that to mcGuinty and Buzz

CIBC: Gas Prices to Spike
John Morrissy, Canwest News Global News
April 24, 2008

''Prepare for prices at the pump of $2.25 a litre by 2012 and crude oil at $225 US a barrel as scant supply growth delivers us into the "age of scarcity," says CIBC World Markets chief economist Jeff Rubin. "Our latest review of probable supply suggests oil production will hardly grow at all, with average daily production between now and 2012 rising by barely more than a million barrels
per day. "Despite the recent record jump in oil prices, the outlook suggests oil prices will continue to rise steadily over the next five years, almost doubling from current levels," Rubin said''

Anonymous said...

liberazzi said...
I like your idea of instead of going on the (yawn) bbq circuit this summer and trying to promote the man (which will not work), lets promote ideas (what a concept) by creating a number of cross-country forums.


Yeah that way people will know the Liberal Party and the pretencious leader are not out-of-touch with mainstreet Canadians.


BBQ's are sooooo boring.

Steve V said...

You guys offer the kneejerk, the easy Con talking point, which I've said must be addressed. That's why the debate needs to go beyond the soundbite, and the "forum" concept is a good medium. Is Charest taking heat in Quebec, is Campbell taking heat in British Columbia? Last thing I saw, voters were very supportive of the iniatives, so why then is it poison for Dion? Seems a gap in logic, which is why I think there is a counter to the easy retort offered here. That retort is also very narrow, because it fails to acknowledge a shifting tax base, not a grab, but overall neutral. It can be sold, not because of Dion, but because he has the expert opinion, economists on side. When a bank comes out in favor of a carbon tax, it has gone out of the realm of "leftie" nonsense, there is a sound economic argument.

Steve V said...

anon

BBQ's are great for the party faithful, but they do little to engage beyond that. It isn't elitist to use the expert opinion, engage in a townhall format. Yes, talking with voters, hashing out the details, how pretentious.

Anonymous said...

"The Libs have a solid 30% voter base. Therefore, they need to attract another 5% to achieve a minority and another 10% to achieve a majority. Obviously, the Libs are not going to gain votes from Con supporters, but historically they have gained votes from the Dips and the Greens."

What makes you so sure that 30% is the floor for the Liberals?? We know they salvaged that in 2006 when they were led by Paul Martin - who still had a lot of personal popularity - and when there was a lot of "fear of the unknown" regarding the Tories and Harper. There is no law that says that 30% is as bad as it will ever get for the Liberals. Maybe under Dion they will fall to 26% or less - who knows? After the 2004 election, people were claiming that 36% was the core Liberal vote and that it could never go any lower.

Why should the Liberals give up on trying to gain votes from the Conservatives?? There are still a helluva lot of Liberal/Conservative switchers in this country. In the 2006 election a big chunk of people who had voted Liberal in '04 swung over to the Tories. Don't you think that if the Liberals are ever to regain power - those are the people they need to win back???

liberazzi said...

Grumpy,

As Steve has stated, the Cons have alredy boxed themselves into a corner by supporting BC's carbon tax plan, which BCers support as well. If politicians continue to act on self-interest and not on long-term solutions then problems such as climate change will never be solved.

Having said that $2.00/L gas will probably make a carbon tax irrelevant. However, the Cons have greatly restricted the ability of future governments to generate revenue. Also, keep in mind the Libs are promoting tax shifting by reducing income taxes and increasing consumption taxes. Make sense to me.

Steve V said...

Just to add, wilson uses a link quoting Jeff Rubin, which is interesting, given the fact his an ally on putting a price on carbon. Thanks wilson, maybe Dion could invite him to a forum :)

Steve V said...

"What makes you so sure that 30% is the floor for the Liberals??"

Oh, I don't know, every poll that has consistently shown that is BOTTOM. If you think it goes lower, then you really aren't paying attention, or you're so drunk on con kool-aid, you don't understand the Liberal brand.

wilson said...

'..As Steve has stated, the Cons have alredy boxed themselves into a corner by supporting BC's carbon tax plan, which BCers support as well...'

That's right, PMSH wants the PROVINCES to decide their own plan of action, and not FORCE a solution that will not work in other provinces.
That is Conservative ideology that scares the crap out of Liberals.

That is also Dahlton McGuinty's position on a carbon tax.
McGuinty vs. Dion , who will win that one?

Maybe that is just too even-handed for you Libs to understand.

Steve V said...

"That's right, PMSH wants the PROVINCES to decide their own plan of action, and not FORCE a solution that will not work in other provinces."

Wow, you're a real asset this morning. Did you happen to catch the growing concern amongst industry representatives, who are worried that we have a fractured approach, which is counter-productive, a desire for national coherence. The Harper "hands off" approach is garnering more criticism, as stakeholders try to make sense of conflicting signals, depending on the province. There is a leadership vacuum, and provinces are forced to go it alone, nobody seems to see the benefits in that approach moving forward. Harper's policies don't have any support, outside of ideologues, who don't believe in the federal role, and of course Eddie Stelmach.

liberazzi said...

Anon,

As I have stated, the Libs need to attract another 5% in voter support to achieve a minority. Where are they most likely to get it from? In my opinion, it will be from the Greens and from the Dips. Con voters are pretty entrenched and seem intensly partisan. Furthermore, I am a progressive voter, so I do not want to see the Libs move more to the right to gain votes.

Also, you will see from one of the comments, Cons think the Libs are "pretentious" (note the spelling), so I think the Libs will have a hard time attracting those votes.

The Libs need to define their policies and fiercely defend them. Libs should also take note of what is going on between Obama/Clinton which for the most part has been about policy and less about mud-slinging.

Steve V said...

"Also, you will see from one of the comments, Cons think the Libs are "pretentious" (note the spelling), so I think the Libs will have a hard time attracting those votes."

The last thing Liberals should concern themselves with, is the opinion of hard-core Conservatives. Who cares.

wilson said...

p.s.
Feds give provinces, territories $1.5B for climate change plans
( Feb 2007)
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2007/02/12/qc-greenmoney20070212.html

Ontario got $586 m
Quebec got $350 m
BC got $199.3 m

Anonymous said...

There is a big difference between hardcore Conservative members and activists and people who always vote Conservative no matter what - and soft Conservative supporters who may have voted Liberal (or even for other parties) in the recent past. I don't think that the Liberals should waste their time on the former - but there are clearly a lot of people who voted Liberal as recently as 2004 and who went Conservative in 2006 (largely over ethical issues) - why not try to win them back???

BTW: I'm hearing a that a big backlash is building in BC over the Carbon Tax - esp. in the rural areas - it may yet turnout to bite Gordon Campbell in the butt.

Steve V said...

anon

I don't think the Libs should be worried about the "rural areas" in B.C.- if there in play, then we are on the verge of a massive Lib majority. You mention voters that are marginal Con, what about all the marginal center-left votes out there, which is much, much larger pool. If you look at the Green support, it's highest in B.C., particularly in regions key for the Libs. If you can siphon off a couple points with this policy, I see a net gain, with little real loss.

liberazzi said...

Wilson,

That money was a complete shell game by the Cons. They reintroduced Liberal policy which they originally cut. Please, lets have an honest discussion, rather than a bunch of Con bullshit.

Furthermore, throwing money at the problem is not the entire answer, we need to change our behaviour as individuals. However, sometimes human behaviour needs to be given a push such a carbon tax.

Steve V said...

" Please, lets have an honest discussion"

Asking the impossible, all you get from her is copy and paste from the Con website.

Anonymous said...

I'm not suggesting that the federal Liberals should hesitate about a Carbon Tax because they might not win seats in rural BC - I'm just pointing out that if you introduce a Carbon Tax right when gas prices are soaring to begin with and as the economy goes into the tank - there is a good chance that it will be very unpopular in all of rural Canada as well as in suburban areas (ie: precisely the areas where the Liberals LOST a ton of seats to the Conservatives in the last election).

I predict that it won't even impress people thinking of voting Green. They are rallying to an international brand and NOTHING that the Liberals or the NDP promise will ever get them to stop believing that a party with the word "green" in its name is ipso-facto the last word in environmentalism.

Anonymous said...

BTW: If the 2006 election really marks the lowest that the Liberal vote can ever go in a federal election, how do you explain Liberal support dropping in 7 out of 9 federal by-elections since 2006 (and remaining unchanged in 1)? Isn't the usual pattern for the official opposition to GAIN ground in by-elections not lose it?

Who knows, maybe Dion will propose a Carbon Tax and it will be so popular that it will catapult the Liberals to a majority government. Anything is possible. But you have to concede that the Liberals could lose even more ground compared to 2006.

liberazzi said...

Annon,

A carbon tax/tax shifting is an old Green Party idea. However, the Greens have no chance of ever implementing those policies. Therefore, if the Libs make this a part of their next Red Book, then I think it has a good chance of attracting Dip or Green votes. Obviously, it is a tricky strategy given what is happening, but it would be a bold move and something that would get me behind Dion. Hell, it would impact my pocketbook, but sometimes we need to look beyond our own self-interest. We need to change.

The Right is Where its At said...

If a province like British Columbia wants to have a carbon tax fine with them. What the liberals want is to have it for the rest of the country.

Here in Montreal yesterday I paid a littre of gas $1.33. My heating oil this past winter was $1 a littre.I will not give you an exact amount of what I paid in heating oil this past winter,but I could say that it was in the thousands of $$.You people are asking Canadians to pay more! Are you people out of your collective minds?

Oh this would really play well in an election campaign.

liberazzi said...

What is the real dollars that we are looking at here? Say gas goes up to $2.00/L, then an avg 50/L tank will cost $100 (wow). Add in a 3% carbon tax, then you are paying an extra $3 a tank. Thus, if you fill on avg 3 times per month, then it is going to cost an extra $9 per month/$108/year.

Then, if you cut the tax rate to 14%? for example then if you make an average of $30,000 a year then you would save approximately $300 in taxes. Therefore, a net gain of around $200/year? Am i correct? I know it is not that simple, but just an example.

Anonymous said...

"A carbon tax/tax shifting is an old Green Party idea."

That may well be, but you're assuming that more than a teeny fraction of people who currently say they would vote Green are even aware of that idea in the first place?

If the Liberals come out with a big Carbon Tax proposal - here is what I predict will happen:

-The Tories will attack the Liberals for wanting to raise taxes right when the economy is in trouble - and this will gain them votes from "Blue Grits" in rural and suburban areas.

-The NDP will attack the Liberals for making "ordinary working people" who are struggling to make ends meet pay the price of global warming - when instead the rich and the big industrial polluters ought to pay - this will gain them votes among blue collar and low income people and destroy any Liberal hope of winning back any seats in places like Hamilton etc...

liberazzi said...

the right:

If you want to reduce your heating costs, turn your heat down. If you want to save money on gas, don't drive so much or move closer to work etc etc.

liberazzi said...

I believe Green voters are quite in-tune with their policies, as that is what's attracting them to the Green Party.

The Right is Where its At said...

Liberazzi:

"What is the real dollars that we are looking at here? Say gas goes up to $2.00/L, then an avg 50/L tank will cost $100 (wow). Add in a 3% carbon tax, then you are paying an extra $3 a tank. Thus, if you fill on avg 3 times per month, then it is going to cost an extra $9 per month/$108/year."

We are talking about gas going $2.oo plus/L without the carbon tax.

Now you talk to people who use their cars to go to work and tell them its nothing. You tell the airlines that it is nothing. You tell the cab drivers that it is nothing. You tell the rest of the transportation that it is nothing. Talk about being blinded to realty. Lets us talk to people in B.C. what they thing about adding a federal carbon tax on top of their own carbon tax that they have. Let us see what they thing about that eh?

Anonymous said...

"I believe Green voters are quite in-tune with their policies, as that is what's attracting them to the Green Party."

I disagree. I think most know nothing about specific policies (just like most Canadians as a whole could tell you next to nothing about the specific policies of the parties they support until you get to the final days of an election campaign) - they just like the word "green" and/or their are undecided and parking their votes for now.

liberazzi said...

the right:

However, you in-turn reduce income taxes and perhaps give rebates to those industries that are impacted.

I manage a department of over 70 people. They come to me constantly with one problem or another, but rarely they come to me with a solution. So I say to them, in jest, so I guess we'll all just go home then. Silly.

We have a problem with high fuel costs. Why, because we are too dependent on oil and supply is running out. We have a problem with a high level of pollutants in the atmosphere, which cause all sorts of health problems, due in part to too many cars on the road. Oh ya, climate change. We need to change, so lets think of some ideas to fix it, instead of "lets all just go home".

RuralSandi said...

As I understand it, carbon tax for revenue and reduce taxes in other areas - what's so hard to understand about that?

In the end, there will be tax reductions - it's not like the CPC are trying to portray it.

liberazzi said...

Annon,

You discredit Green members by saying that. Members of the Green party are very passionate about their party for the most part understand what their party stands for. Tax shifting has been a key fundamental of their platform for years. I have a hard time believing you would vote for the Greens simply for the hell of it.

On the flip side, Con, Lib and Dip voters tend to vote for them strictly based on their value system or by default.

Steve V said...

"As I understand it, carbon tax for revenue and reduce taxes in other areas - what's so hard to understand about that?"

The carrot and the stick is something that you can explain, however, people like "the right" are irrelevant to the discussion. I'm really not concerned what people with Stephen Harper photos on their bed stand think.

One thing that nobody has really mentioned, and that is the Americans are moving toward a carbon tax. Whether it be McCain, Obama or Clinton, the next president is on board, which is another compelling reason for Dion to map out the future, working in concert with our partners. The days that Baird and company can hide behind Bush are quickly coming to an end.

Steve V said...

lib

Anon is revealing the bias here, which can't acknowledge that the Liberals have the potential for growth with soft supporters of other parties. If you look at the high Green support in B.C., and you realize what drives that, it seems completely reasonable that a Liberal Party which puts forward a bold and progressive environmental package would have some appeal, certainly enough to POSSIBLY expand. I saw possibly, because I don't want Green supporters to think this is some Liberal arrogance, that just assumes voters will easily move, only that many came from elsewhere, so it isn't inconceivable to win them back.

Anonymous said...

"Members of the Green party are very passionate about their party for the most part understand what their party stands for. "

MEMBERS maybe, VOTERS no. The two or three thousand people in all of Canada who are actual card-carrying members of the Green Party may very well be passionate about their party and its policies - but they only represent 0.0001% of the population. I'm talking about prospective VOTERS.

One of the most annoying things in any of these political blogs is the way that people tend to talk about supporters of the parties as if they are the same thing as the teeny-weeny minority of people who are party members and hard-core activists. They aren't.

For example, while it's true that card-carrying, convention-attending, hard-core Conservative activists are very unlikely to wake up one morning and decide to become Liberals - there are plenty of people who might have voted Conservative in 2006 - who may or may not do so next time.

Repeat after me - there is a huge difference between party members and party voters. HUGE! HUGE!!!

Anonymous said...

"Anon is revealing the bias here, which can't acknowledge that the Liberals have the potential for growth with soft supporters of other parties."

No, I totally acknowledge that the Liberals have the POTENTIAL for growth from soft supporters of other parties (including soft Conservatives!). Sure, anything is possible!

But you also have to acknowledge that there is also a possibility and potential that the Liberals can lose their own soft supporters to the other parties.

Who knows what the next campaign will bring.

Steve V said...

"MEMBERS maybe, VOTERS no. The two or three thousand people in all of Canada who are actual card-carrying members of the Green Party may very well be passionate about their party and its policies - but they only represent 0.0001% of the population. I'm talking about prospective VOTERS."

So, now you are arguing that the Liberals could pry voters from the Greens? Interesting, if not consistent.

The Right is Where its At said...

Governments people will never reduce other taxs to the same level that they raised it in other areas.

I will give you an example here. It has been done under the liberal governments and now the Conservatives government.
We have the employment insurgence program that is overflowing with billions of $$. This program is for the working people why aren't we getting the extra cash back? Get the picture?

My point is when government raise or bring new tax's they never use 100% of the amount raised for the program that it was originally for.

What about this if you guys say that they should reduce tax's in other areas. Then why don't you use the tax's that you would reduce in other areas instead of putting a carbon tax?

How about that for a solution!

Steve V said...

anon

I honestly don't see much more room for the Liberals to "lose" voters. The party is clearly, and consistently, at bottom in Quebec. Ontario supports the Liberal brand, a certain degree of that in the east. We are really only talking about B.C and to a lesser extent Man. One of the clearest things we see in the polls, is that the Liberal brand is resolute, despite the perceived drag of Dion's leadership.

liberazzi said...

Annon,

I'll say this again, Con, Lib and Dip voters, tend to vote for them out of habit. Greens are increasing their base because they are offering something different and they are not tied to the unions such as the NDP. I believe the Greens true base is 8%, with another 4 to 5% that shop around. That base is quite clear on what their party stands for. On the Dip side, their base is around 15%, with another 5% that shop around. It is those shoppers that the Libs can attract with bold and progressive policies.

It is also quite possible to attract/erode some of the Green base to the Lib side, if they promote ideas such as tax shifting.

This country is truly being run by a minority, because at least 65% of the voters in this country have a progressive viewpoint. It it up to the Libs to attract those voters in that range.

Anonymous said...

"I believe the Greens true base is 8%, with another 4 to 5% that shop around. That base is quite clear on what their party stands for. On the Dip side, their base is around 15%, with another 5% that shop around. It is those shoppers that the Libs can attract with bold and progressive policies."

Considering that the Greens only took 4% of the vote in the last election, I'd like to see them get 8% or more of the national popular vote in a few actual elections - not in polls - before I would consider 8% to be their "unshakeable base"

Isn't it also fair to say that the Conservative "base" in Canada is probably about 27/28% and then another 6/7% shop around? If so why don't the Liberals try to reel those people in? The Liberals won three straight majority governments by being fiscally conservative, pro-business and by giving a high profile to people like Paul Martin and John Manley. Why not return to that old "business Liberal" formula. let the Tories go after the "Tim Horton's crowd" while the Liberals put forth a pro-Bay St., pro-free trade policy designed to appeal to upper middle class professionals. Why not use the Free Democrats of Germany as a model (often nicknames "the party of doctors and dentists") and put forth a mix of social liberalism plus free-market, free-trade fiscally conservative policies?

liberazzi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
liberazzi said...

the right:

Tax shifting:

1. Lower income taxes, revenue neutral
2. Encourages conservation, which it-turn should reduce gasoline consumption

If airline and transportation industries are affected, then maybe they need to look at purchasing more fuel efficient vehicles, using bio-fuels etc. Provide incentives, rebates and so on. Airlines in fact are one of the worst emitters out there, so they need to change.

Tax cuts cannot be the solution to every problem.

liberazzi said...

Annon,

I agree, socially progressive, fiscally prudent is the way to go ie. the Chretien days. However, the Libs cannot return to the wishy washy Martin days. Keep in mind, Chretien won with the help of a divided right (not entirely, but to some degree). Now, we have a pool of about 15% that can be attracted by progressive, fiscally prudent policies. Whether they are soft Greens, Dips or Cons it doesn't matter, but I think you have a better chance of winning if you focus on the soft Green and Dip votes. The 32%/36% of Con support, seem to have drank the Kool-aid and might be tough to budge.

Josh G said...

There is one big problem with the concept of a carbon tax - oil prices are already going through the roof, and if the doubling or even tripling of gas prices in the last several years is not enough to change behaviour, nothing will. So what exactly is the point?

A better idea would be to tax people who choose to drive cars with excessively high fuel consumption at the point of purchase, and start trying to shift our transportation networks away from individual cars and transport tracks to rail and buses. If you want to discourage energy waste, it makes sense to encourage energy efficiency at all levels; crude priced at $120 per barrel is doing half that job already (and if it's not, I fail to see what a carbon tax will accomplish apart from hurting those who can least afford fuel price increases).

wilson said...

'...However, you in-turn reduce income taxes and perhaps give rebates to those industries that are impacted...'

liberazi,
and this is where the carbon tax idea 'starts' to fall apart.

What industries get the rebates so as not to destroy their business?

The one's already suffering due to the high dollar and US slump and the price of fuel, of course.

Which also happen to be the largest fuel/energy USERS and ghg spewers which CAN NOT reduce their use of fuels and still operate a business.
So how would a carbon tax reduce ghg emmisions from the largest emmitters, industry?

Trucking industry, farming, auto industry, manufacturing, refineries....

The high and climbing higher gas prices are already getting ordinary people to cut back, but industry can not cut back, they pay and pay. How can they go green in these economic times?

Why has Dahlton McGuinty said NO to a carbon tax?

RuralSandi said...

Perhaps, if oil prices are up and there is a carbon tax - people will drastically cut down on driving, etc. - then oil would have to come down in price to get it sold.

Happens in other retail areas - when sales are down - they have sales price reduction plans.

Brammer said...

So, we hear nothing from Dion for a year and his first media appearance is to introduce a new tax?

The timing sucks. I also question the validity of a carbon tax. It sure as hell won't stop people who can afford gas guzzlers from filling them up. It will however have a huge impact on the working joe who is forced to drive to work everyday.

Congratulations Dion. You have just given the Cons a way to change channels on their problems and a new weapon to beat you over the head with.

Steve V said...

josh

" oil prices are already going through the roof, and if the doubling or even tripling of gas prices in the last several years is not enough to change behaviour, nothing will. So what exactly is the point?"

Yes, but the big polluters get off scott free, in fact their profits soar. The carbon tax introduces accountability for everyone, rising gas prices just punish the consumer, while the supplier has no incentive to change habits.


anon

" I'd like to see them get 8% or more of the national popular vote in a few actual elections - not in polls - before I would consider 8% to be their "unshakeable base""

I guess you missed the last Ontario election where the Green vote was exactly what the polls showed. Concrete enough?

Darryl said...

In addition to what's already been posted, a carbon tax will spawn another round of Alberta separatism a la the NEP from the 1980's, another Liberal brainchild. Is Dion really that stupid?

Möbius said...

He's right that a carbon tax, and tax-shifting is the right direction to go.

Let's see him try to sell this to the great unwashed public, paying $1.20 plus per litre of fuel.

Möbius said...

Happens in other retail areas - when sales are down - they have sales price reduction plans.

It does happen in industries without price collusion, i.e., OPEC-like behaviour.

The oil industry is not one of those.

Steve V said...

"Let's see him try to sell this to the great unwashed public"

As I said earlier, it doesn't matter what the Conservative base thinks ;)

Anonymous said...

"I guess you missed the last Ontario election where the Green vote was exactly what the polls showed. Concrete enough?"

a. The polls had them as high as 12% in Ontario - they dropped to 8% on election day

b. That was Ontario only - across Canada they would get dragged down due to very low support in Quebec and the Maritimes and Man/Sask. If we want to look at provincial elections as a guide to what actual Green support there is - let's look at Quebec (3%), Manitoba (2%), Saskatchewan (2%), New Brunswick (0%), Nova Scotia (1%), Alberta (4%)

c. You were talking about "core" support. If a party gets 8% at the on Election Day we have to assume that some of that might be "core" and some might be a segment of the swing vote

bigcitylib said...

I actually liked Dion's piece today. The issue will be can you make the "tax shift" work for people who basically have no choice but to drive--rural, surburban, Tory-ish voters. I think I've noted this with a couple of Lib enviro proto-initiatives. Can you mould some policy that will get the city folk on-side (where public transit and etc. are real options) while getting some traction in areas that won't vote Lib anyway (drive up their drive up their gas bills).

bigcitylib said...

Whoopsie! Wrote:

"...while getting some traction in areas that won't vote Lib anyway (drive up their drive up their gas bills)."

meant:

"...while getting some traction in areas that won't normally vote Lib (by not driving up their gas bills)."

Steve V said...

"a. The polls had them as high as 12% in Ontario - they dropped to 8% on election day"

Well, that's just not true. The average of the polls was 8%, they received 8%. That was one of the main themes coming out of the election, the Greens didn't fade, they held.

As for the rest, you really seem to be offering an argument for why the Liberals can siphon off support.


BCL

I think the only way that works with those voters, if you can articulate the other side. There is the tax shift, but there is also real incentive (not the Con failure) to rebate a change in behavior. If you phase something in, like they are doing in B.C., then you give everyone an opportunity to move, without hammering them immediately.

Anonymous said...

"you really seem to be offering an argument for why the Liberals can siphon off support."

Maybe, maybe not. In the last BC election when Green support collapsed it went largely NDP and not Liberal. Ditto in Man/Sask. In Ontario they got a lot of support from Tories who wanted to eliminate all Catholic school funding.

If there vote tanks federally, its anyone's guess which party will be the beneficiary - or whether they will simply stay home.

We know from a recent Environics poll that when Green party supporters are asked who would make the best PM of Canada - Layton is number 1, followed by May, followed by Harper and then Dion is dead last at just 10%.