I know everyone has a point of view, but some of the criticism directed towards the Liberals yet to be released plan is just over the top, bordering on absurd. I guess, in the end, it will come down to how serious a debate we have, in that sense reservations are entirely justified. The accurate reality, nobody really knows how this plan will fly with the public, there are conflicting signals, and in the end, a lot will depend on events not yet realized. Pre-judging at this point is really just handicapping.
If it's all cartoons, fear mongering and soundbites, the plan will be a disaster. If it's a serious debate, that actually engages people, then it's entirely feasible. The unknown, and the critical factor, we just don't know which path wins the day.
On the serious debate side, it's interesting to read some of the expert opinion, which offers a stark contrast from the superficial. I was reading these comments from Jock Finlayson, vice-president of policy for the Business Council of B.C, who also sits on the Bank of Canada board:
the Business Council of B.C., which had been lukewarm, said the tax will not be hard to bear.
"Households in the province should not be worse off economically," said Jock Finlayson, the council's executive vice-president of policy.
"In fact, I think a lot of them are going to be better off, marginally, with the carbon tax.
"I don't think that message has gotten out, and I say that as somebody who was not a huge proponent of even doing this."
I searched for some other opinions from Finlayson, to see if he really wasn't a "proponent" of the carbon tax. The interesting part, it would seem Finlayson's earlier concerns revolved around the idea that a carbon tax disporportionately punished big industry. Don't tell the NDP:
"The concern we have is that although it's revenue-neutral to the government, it will have a fairly significant impact on some major trade-exposed industries," said Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president of policy at the Business Council of B.C., which has led the industry protest efforts.
Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president of policy at the Business Council of B.C.
These are industries that are involved in international business trading, exporting primarily, and they have very limited capacity to pass on higher input costs to their customers," Finlayson said.
The council has calculated that the carbon tax will cost those "trade-exposed" sectors more than $500 million a year once the tax reaches $30 a tonne.
As it is currently structured, 70 per cent of the tax will be paid by businesses, but only 30 per cent will be returned through corporate tax cuts; the rest will go to individuals in the form of personal tax cuts.
Well, isn't that just the argument of the other parties, that it's better to go after the big polluters, rather than target the consumer? Finlayson's criticism is that industry takes the hit under the carbon tax scheme, which is a strange departure from all the political rhetoric we hear. Finlayson also says the average person would be "better off", which again doesn't quite jive with the hysteria.
Again, the only real question, will informed opinion such as this be heard through all the NOISE.