Fight against car­bon taxes pol­icy bat­tle of our lives

Winnipeg Sun - - COMMENT - CANDICE MAL­COLM @Candicemal­colm

The fight against a na­tional car­bon tax is the pol­icy fight of our life­time.

Every tax­payer in the coun­try, and es­pe­cially every con­ser­va­tive who be­lieves in the prin­ci­ple of lim­ited govern­ment, should do ev­ery­thing they can to stop this dev­as­tat­ing tax grab.

Make no mis­take, the car­bon tax ini­tia­tive is not about pro­tect­ing the planet.

It isn’t de­signed to lower pol­lu­tion lev­els, en­able so­called green in­no­va­tion or even to curb car­bon emis­sions.

The car­bon tax is de­signed to give the govern­ment more power, more money and more top-down con­trol over the econ­omy.

Car­bon tax ad­vo­cates, in­clud­ing a hand­ful of mis­guided con­ser­va­tives, typ­i­cally rely on one core ar­gu­ment to pro­mote this tax.

They say that car­bon taxes use free mar­ket prin­ci­ples to change con­sumer be­hav­iour so that we con­sume less and pro­duce fewer emis­sions.

If car­bon is more ex­pen­sive, it will en­cour­age you to drive less or to put on a sweater in­stead of turn­ing up the heat.

The prob­lem with this line of rea­son­ing is that it re­quires a tax rate dras­ti­cally higher than any­thing be­ing dis­cussed or pro­posed to­day.

The Ecofis­cal Com­mis­sion, an Ot­tawa-based or­ga­ni­za­tion that sup­ports a car­bon tax, ad­mits the car­bon tax rate would need to be sig­nif­i­cantly higher to have a real im­pact.

Trudeau’s car­bon tax was in­tro­duced in 2018 at a rate of $10 per tonne, and yet, Ecofis­cal economists project that even if car­bon taxes were raised to $200 per tonne it still would not be enough to meet Trudeau’s tar­get of cut­ting emis­sions by 30% by 2030.

Even if Trudeau’s tax was 2,000% higher, it still would not be enough.

A $200-a-tonne car­bon tax would, how­ever, take more than $100 bil­lion out of the pri­vate sec­tor and into the cof­fers of the govern­ment.

A mas­sive trans­fer of wealth away from the in­no­va­tive, cre­ative and pro­duc­tive part of the econ­omy, and to­wards a grow­ing govern­ment bu­reau­cracy will not help the planet.

In­stead, it will en­able a mas­sive tax grab de­signed to for­ever in­crease the size and scope of the govern­ment.

We’ve seen this movie be­fore. In the 1980s and 90s, the GST was in­tro­duced and sold to Cana­di­ans as a “more ef­fi­cient tax.”

Big govern­ment ac­tivists de­signed the tax in­ten­tion­ally to appeal to free mar­ket con­ser­va­tives and economists.

They made the ar­gu­ment that peo­ple should be taxed on the things they con­sume rather than the in­come they earn.

And yes, in the­ory, the op­ti­mal tax wouldn’t pun­ish peo­ple for work­ing more, but rather, would tax peo­ple when they spend rather than save their money.

Of course, the big lie in all of this is that the fed­eral govern­ment never planned to in­tro­duce a cor­re­spond­ing cut to in­come taxes.

In­stead, we’re stuck with both a puni­tive con­sump­tion tax and a puni­tive in­come tax.

They take our money when we earn it and they take our money when we spend it.

And now, the same brigade of govern­ment-knows­best ac­tivists have schemed to­gether to in­tro­duce an­other ver­sion of the GST, wrapped up as the green, eco-friendly, think-of-the­p­lanet car­bon tax.

And worse, by sell­ing this as a mar­ket-friendly mea­sure they’ve man­aged to per­suade some oth­er­wise ded­i­cated con­ser­va­tives.

It doesn’t mat­ter who pro­motes this idea. Whether it’s com­ing from Pre­ston Man­ning, Pa­trick Brown, Justin Trudeau or Rachel Not­ley, a car­bon tax is not what it seems, and it’s not the right path for Canada.

Cana­di­ans from coast to coast should unite in fight­ing against it.

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