If we want to avoid the worst effects of climate change, why do we think a puny carbon tax is the solution?
Starting next year, the Trudeau government’s national carbon tax is scheduled to be implemented across the country, regardless of whether the people of the provinces like it or not.
While some provinces like Saskatchewan and Ontario are taking the government to court on this, for the time being, it looks like the carbon tax is here to stay.
The rationale for this Canadian carbon tax from the Liberal government has been that climate change is a substantial threat to humanity’s future; the possible effects of global warming are dire and for the sake of our children and grandchildren, we need to do something about it.
The Canadian government’s first solution: a nationwide carbon tax
The best solution, according to the federal government, is to implement a nation-wide carbon tax that can be customized by individual provinces and would ideally be revenue neutral.
To reduce the cost for the average Canadian household and to help big corporations stay competitive, the government will provide rebates.
However, if big businesses and average taxpayers aren’t bearing the cost, this means small and medium-sized businesses will be left to shoulder the burden.
Regardless of who pays for it, the Prime Minister has made himself very clear on the matter, saying “The science is unequivocal: putting a price on pollution is one of the best ways to move forward.”
However, is that really the case? Is a carbon tax truly the best solution for reducing GHGs and fighting climate change?
Carbon tax pros and cons
British Columbia has seen some degree of success issuing a carbon tax in 2008 at $10 per tonne of carbon dioxide to $30 per tonne by 2012. While many businesses and individuals originally disapproved of the tax, by 2009 only 32% of voters opposed the tax.
Benefits included a 5-15% reduction in carbon emissions, and the British Columbia government was able to lower the corporate tax rate from 12% to 10% while offering generous rebates to corporations and families alike.
That being said, the carbon tax in British Columbia was not without issues. Even with one of the world’s steepest carbon taxes, B.C is projected to fall short of its goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by one third from 2007 to 2020 and is on track to fall short of its 80% greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2050.
While Dr. Lomborg has advocated for a carbon tax in the past, he has also warned of the pitfalls of an improperly implemented carbon tax.
According to Dr. Lomborg, in order for a carbon tax to be successful, it needs to be implemented evenly across all industries (a tonne of C02 is the same regardless of industry), prevent carbon leakage to other less regulated areas (ie. a global standard), and must be revenue neutral in order to be politically palpable.
The Canadian carbon tax fails on at least two of these accounts and is tottering on the third. It is set at different levels for different sectors and it fails to prevent carbon leakage, as a business seeking to avoid the tax can simply transfer to the U.S.
The political will, which earlier this year was much weaker, has improved thanks to the government’s announcement of the rebates for individual households. However, because it is not being substantially countered over the long term with a reduction in income or sales taxes, this current goodwill is certainly not a sure thing.
If the national carbon tax follows the path of the one implemented in B.C., pro-carbon tax politicians could soon find themselves in hot water as Canadians tire of this supposed revenue-neutral tax becoming just another avenue of government revenue.
What about reducing emissions?
But what about the GHG emissions? After all, that is the point of this tax. If it were to at least meet our targets set out in the Paris Climate Accord, maybe Canadians would accept it then?
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Neither Canada nor any of the other G20 nations have a climate plan strong enough to meet their Paris targets. Nevertheless, let’s extend some grace to the carbon tax.
Perhaps the Prime Minister is re-elected and continues with his plan to raise the cost of the carbon tax. Let’s assume that this is just enough to reach our Paris targets.
Even if Canada and every other nation who signed on to the Paris agreement met their targets, it would only be enough to reduce global temperatures by 0.048°C of the 2.7°C needed by 2100.
A better solution to the Canadian carbon tax
So if a carbon tax isn’t going to cut it, what will?
Well, according to Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Center, a think tank featuring 27 of world’s top climate scientist and three Nobel Laureates, in order to have the best possible chance at mitigating the worst effects of climate change, governments should invest in green tech R&D.
The Center found that for every dollar spent on green R&D, $11 dollars of climate damage could be avoided. For every dollar spent on emission reduction schemes like the carbon tax, less than a dollar of climate damage could be avoided.
As much as the Prime Minister likes to bemoan the Conservatives for not having a climate change plan, the problem in Canada is not political will. The issue is that we don’t have the technology to compete with carbon-intensive fossil fuels.
If Canada truly wants to be a leader in fighting climate change, we should put an end to our wasteful E.V. and fossil fuel subsidies, and focus on investing our valuable taxpayer dollars into something that will actually lead to results.
Beloved Canadian Mike Sloan, who made his fight with cancer public on Twitter, has passed away.
Sloan had been suffering from Stage 4 Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer, initially being given only six months to live, outliving the diagnosis by four months.
Sloan was known for his clever observations, which included everything from his cat to Canadian politics.
The deeply personal tweets gave insight into what it was like to stare death in the face, and the perspective of someone who knows their days are numbered.
The London, Ontario native was followed by several Canadian personalities and political figures, including This Hour‘s Rick Mercer, Arlene Dickinson, Bill Morneau, and Michelle Rempel.
In a tweet, it was announced that Sloan passed peacefully at 1:25 pm EST via MAID (medically assisted in dying.) His last words were “Tell Chub (his cat) I love him.”
A Saskatchewan judge has charged a man with fraud under $5000 as well as property obtained by crime. Andrij Olesiuk has been found guilty after he defrauded thousands of dollars from donors who thought the money was going to the victims’ families of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash of April 6, 2018.
Olesiuk set up a GoFundMe page entitled #PrayForHumboldt that was said to be crowdfunding for the victim’s families and raised approximately $3800. A separate GoFundMe page for the same purpose raised $15.1 million dollars according to Global News.
Olesiuk took just over $3700 from the GoFundMe account and transferred it into his personal account.
Andrij, also known as Jay Max Olesiuk represented himself during the trial and stated that he had no “ill intention” with the funds raised through his crowdfunding page.
He said he didn’t believe Olesiuk’s story about the woman at his door, saying no sensible person would’ve turned over thousands of dollars. He kept the Broncos money for his own use. Olesiuk stated in his testimony that a woman came to his Martensville, Sask. doorstep on April 24 to solicit donations for a Broncos charitable event. Olesiuk claims to have given the woman $4100 that day in cash, rather than donate his fund directly to the Broncos. The accused was unable to recall the woman’s name or organization she was purportedly with.
“It is too incredible a story to believe,” said Judge Brent Klaus.
Darren Howarth, crown prosecutor argued the “mysterious woman” didn’t exist and believed Olesiuk’s defence to be “ridiculous.”
Howarth presented a transaction log that showed Olesiuk approved a $3,300 payment from GoFundMe to his account one day before the woman allegedly appeared. Olesiuk received the payment on April 25, 2018.
“What are the odds…. that this lady just happened to show up in between the dates he initiated the withdrawal and received the money?” Howarth asked.
Olesiuk defended his story claiming to have been given a receipt from the woman days later in his mailbox. However, he was unable to provide the receipt or even a copy of one as evidence during the trial. Olesiuk said he lost the receipt in a February 2019 house fire.
The defence instead presented a thank you note as an exhibit, which Olesiuk testified he received from the anonymous woman immediately after his donation. He admitted that he hadn’t previously mentioned the note to the police or crown before during cross-examination.
Olesiuk assured the court that the note was in his garage, but the RCMP carried out a search of Olesiuk’s property on November 20, 2018 and said officers never found no such note.
Olesiuk is scheduled to be sentenced on March 3.
Former Conservative Party MPP for the riding of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Amanda Simard has announced that she will be joining the Liberal Party in a press conference today.
The announcement made Wednesday with Interim Ontario Liberal Party Leader John Fraser was that Simard left the Progressive Conservatives and served as an independent for the Eastern Ontario riding.
She was known for her opposition to the Progressive Conservatives’ francophone policies, which included the proposed cut to Ontario’s French language services.
As well as this, the PC government also moved to cancel the funding for a new French-language university earlier in their government, which she was similarly outraged by.
“We wish Amanda Simard well as she sits as an independent,” said a Ford party spokesperson. “It’s unfortunate that she chose not to work within government in service to her constituents.”Simard was rumoured to have been flirting with the idea of joining the Liberals.
Premier Doug Ford announced on Thursday that new scholarships would be provided in honour of the 57 Canadians who lost their lives on Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752. Ford called the leadership in Iran a “ruthless, evil regime.”
“Innocent lives got shot down by a ruthless, careless Iranian regime,” said Ford in a report by the Toronto Sun. “I want to send a message—and it may not get over there—I support the (anti-government) protesters that are out there. We believe in democracy here in Canada and we’d like to see nothing less than democracy in Iran.”
Some of the families that Ford met with expressed that they put the blame for the incident on the Iranian regime and are looking for justice.
Ford noted, “Nothing, nothing at all was more emotional than sitting down with five families and listening to their stories.”
“One gentleman told me how he lost his daughter and his granddaughter; another person lost their husband; another person lost their brother, sister and a wife and child,” he said. “It was absolutely heartbreaking.”
Ford expressed that he was happy with the way the Canadian government was able to respond to the families of the victims.
He also revealed that there will be 57 post-secondary scholarships created in Ontario to honour Canada’s victims.
The tragedy cost the lives of students in more than a dozen post-secondary schools in Ontario.
The new scholarships will be for the 2021-22 school year and the government will be distributing $10,000 for each.
The scholarships will be distributed with financial need and academic merit in mind. The schools will be working with the families of the victims to determine scholarship recipients.
Ford said, “They were smart, gifted people who had a bright future ahead of them,” and added, “In fact, 34 out of the 57 Canadians were studying — they were PhD candidates, professors, researchers, doctors.”
He also mentioned that a victim of the crash had been working on a new breast cancer drug therapy.
“We will honour their memories through these scholarships to recognize their incredible contributions to our communities,” said Ford.
The province will be distributing the scholarships to the schools that the victims were employed at or attending.
In the weeks to come, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities will be working with government, communities and schools in order to continue to develop the scholarships.