A $190 million tax grab
Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner Dianne Saxe stated the following regarding the idea of adding an additional tax (commonly called the “road tax”) on farm/industrial diesel fuel:
“We in Ontario, according to the provincial budget, subsidize diesel consumption by $190 million a year. That’s not providing better outcomes, it’s not providing income support. It’s not targeted. Fossil-fuel subsidies do not reduce inequality, they increase inequality. Because most of the money goes to the betteroff.”
There are so many things wrong with that statement that I don’t know where to begin.
First of all, the Ontario government saying that the omission of a road tax from industrial diesel is a subsidy is like Al Capone saying he was subsidizing the small retailers from which he did not demand protection money.
The absence of a tax is not a subsidy, especially when that particular item has already been taxed at several levels in the form of extraction royalties, federal excise tax, and HST. The “road tax” simply does not apply to diesel generators and industrial/farm equipment because these vehicles do not use the road except when moving small distances from one work sight to another.
Secondly, Saxe stating that not applying the tax does not provide better outcomes is false.
Lower production costs of food, minerals, and forest products benefit all consumers in the form of lower prices, more jobs, less welfare and unemployment, and more taxes paid by profitable businesses and their employees.
Lastly, do we really believe that more and more and more taxes are going to reduce income inequality when the provincial Liberals have already demonstrated that the money would simply be used to fund votebuying in the form of relocated gas plants, secret payouts to public sector unions, and lucrative contracts for Liberal party insiders?
Make no doubt about it, this government is addicted to spending money, and like a crack addict looking for their next fix, they will stop at nothing to get their hands on more, and more, and more. This proposal is a $190 million tax grab, one that would take money away from businesses making them less competitive with their neighbouring jurisdictions and one that will kill jobs in rural and northern Ontario and funnel the money into Queen’s Park.