Home > BC Liberals, Federal, Liberals > Dion’s Carbon Tax Fails At Improving The Environment, But It’s Better Than Campbell’s

Dion’s Carbon Tax Fails At Improving The Environment, But It’s Better Than Campbell’s

June 19, 2008

The Federal Liberals finally released the details on their Carbon Tax, and while it is a little better than the BC Liberal Carbon Tax, it doesn’t really do much towards improving the environment.

First of all, the good points. I do like that the Federal Liberal Carbon Tax does recognize the situation of Northern and Rural Canadians and does give them a tax credit; however, I’m not sure if expanding the Northern Residents Deduction (NRD) is the most effective way to do this, as the NRD only covers the extreme North. I also like that the Federal Liberal Carbon Tax has a contingency fund to be used to offset any unexpected effects to charities and NGOs.

Now, the major negative point: the Federal Liberal Carbon Tax is not going to do much for the environment.  This is because of the whole revenue-neutral concept makes the tax into a shell game in which you take away money from the consumer when they use energy that creates carbon, then give it back to the consumer so that they can afford to pay the carbon taxes when they buy energy.

If the Carbon Tax is to be effective in improving the environment, some government investment is required to give individuals alternatives to their polluting ways. Right now, the Federal Liberal Carbon Tax places the onus on the individual to create their own alternatives. But can the average individual afford to replace their carbon-based heating system with, say, a geothermal one? Can the average individual develop municipal-wide recycling systems? No!

On a side-note, the Federal Liberal Carbon Tax does think that, while individuals don’t need government investment in changing their habits, businesses do. Businesses have the ability to apply for the Research and Development incentives, or the Green Capital Cost Allowance.

So in the end, I believe that the Federal Liberal Carbon Tax, as it stands right now, will be as effective at curbing pollution as the Mulroney Conservative Consumption Tax was at curbing Consumption.

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Categories: BC Liberals, Federal, Liberals
  1. June 19, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    There is an accelerated Capital cost allowance for business on green technologies and R&D incentives. It’s a start.

    We have to wait to see what the other Liberal policies will amount to before passing judgment. This group of policies in the Green Shift is not all that’s coming.

    There are hints that cap-and-trade will come about:

    “…more than two wasted years of Conservative government, combined with the message of urgency coming from scientists, means that we must put a price on carbon as soon as possible. Since a cap-and-trade system will take several years to build, we will start with a broad-based, revenue neutral carbon tax that can be implemented quickly and simply, that will cover approximately 75 per cent of domestic emissions.”

    This may also explain why the carbon tax itself is bit low. In of itself, it won’t make the needed impact. But if they plan to put in a cap-and-trade policy, they can’t do it on top of a huge carbon tax — that’ll bite us all too hard.

    A cap-and-trade is needed as there’s an international commodity market developing for offsets, especially with the EU having cap-and-trade (though it’s not working so far). It’s worth letting them figure it out first.

    I don’t expect any serious policy discussion from the Conservatives, but I hope that the NDP will at least lay out their plans for cap-and-trade at least as thoroughly.

  2. Tabby Cat
    June 19, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    a tax leading to cap and trade … like much of europe.

    I like it better than just a cap and trade, which could take years to implement and even more years to get right.

    I also like that there is so much in this plan for very low income families. Everybody is talking about the economic and environmental parts of this, but there’s a lot to be said for social justice imo.

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