It’s obvious why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doesn’t want to release federal government estimates of the cost of his carbon pricing plan to Canadians.
Historically, polls show that when the public is reminded that “carbon pricing” means higher taxes and/or prices for most goods and services, public support for the idea roughly shifts from two-to-one in favour to two-to-one against.
That’s why politicians who support carbon pricing always talk, misleadingly, about “making polluters pay”, as if the cost is going to be paid by corporations instead of the public, as these corporations pass along their increased costs to us.
It was disappointing to see the other opposition parties join the Liberals last week in defeating a motion by Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre calling for the release of figures contained in two federal finance department studies on the financial costs of carbon pricing for Canadians.
Trudeau has decreed the provinces must introduce a carbon price of at least $10 per tonne of emissions starting next year, rising to $50 per tonne by 2022.
Predictably the provinces have also been less than forthcoming with their own estimates of the cost of carbon pricing.
Ontario, for example, has said its cap and trade plan, implemented on Jan. 1, will cost the average household $156 more this year, due to price increases on gasoline and natural gas used for home heating fuel.
This ignores the fact cap and trade increases the prices of almost all goods and services and that the increase in natural gas prices alone is already up to 34% higher than the government initially claimed.
No government in Canada (B.C. comes closest) plans to introduce a 100%, revenue neutral carbon price in which the government lowers other taxes to make up for the increased revenues it gets from carbon pricing, so that the government’s net revenue remains the same.
This means carbon pricing, aside from being regressive because it disproportionately impacts poor and low-income workers, also won’t be effective in lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and is really just another government cash grab masquerading as an environmental policy.
Small wonder, then, that the Trudeau government doesn’t want to release even its own estimates of the cost to Canadians.
Toronto Sun by Sun Staff
March 12h 2017