An Ontario grain elevator operator was incensed when he complained about his electricity costs and an Ontario Hydro representative told him to use less electricity. Only a government-regulated monopoly would try to solve a customer’s problems by telling him to “stop buying so much of what we sell.”
It’s one more example of why government should stick to making the rules and avoid running things as much as possible. But even when it comes to making the rules, farmers and small business operators are frustrated. The problem is red tape and taxes. Survey after survey in Ontario lists bureaucracy and taxes as the biggest small-business headaches.
No matter how you stab it, an increase in bureaucracy and taxes almost always leads to less productive businesses. The more money you take away from businesses and the more burdens you put on them, the fewer resources they have for investing and expanding and hiring.
Now the federal government is on the verge of introducing the carbon tax on April 1, another job-killing idea that was already tried in Australia. After two years they dumped it. Earlier this year, the French went wild over a carbon tax and President Macron backed down.
But Prime Minister Trudeau is bent on a carbon tax ($20 per tonne now and $50 per tonne in 2022), based on his fixation that without the tax, the world is going to end.
Trudeau told a town hall meeting that manmade global warming would destroy the planet if we don’t act now. “This is the first generation that knows how to solve this problem and this is the last generation that is actually going to be able to do anything to solve this problem and save the ecosystems and the planet that we have,” he said.
I thought scaremongering was the work of extreme environmentalists. But our prime minister really believes this. He also believes we’re going to work together to reduce the global temperatures by 1.5 degrees Celsius. Except that isn’t going to happen. No matter how much money we throw at the problem, Canadians aren’t going to change the temperature because Canada only emits about 1.6 per cent of the globe’s carbon dioxide (CO2). We are also not going to change things with the help of other countries because about half of all CO2 emissions are pumped out of India and China and there are no signs there of easing up on that love affair. Both countries are building more coal plants. There is also no certainty that reducing carbon dioxide emissions will have any significant impact on the earth’s temperature.
But Trudeau is so sure of himself, he is willing to die on his sword at the ballot box over this issue at the fall election. What he is not so sure about is how much the tax will cost the average Canadian.
He was asked the question about 50 times but wouldn’t answer. He changes the subject. On one occasion in the House of Commons he replied: “As I have crossed the county, I have heard from Canadians who have suffered from the wild fires, from the droughts, from the floods, from the heat waves, that Canadians have been suffering because of the increase in extreme weather events. Canadians know we need a plan to fight climate change and we need to make it affordable for regular people and that’s exactly what our plan does. We put a price on pollution.”
Great spin. Yes, let’s tax pollution. But a lot of things sound good until you get into the details. I have a guaranteed weight-loss program to lose 2 lb. in the first hour. Now for the details: Give me your clothes.
There is also no increase in wild fires, floods and droughts. The United Nations global temperature watchdog, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in a recent report said that there is little evidence to suggest there is an increase in extreme weather events. To say that there are more extreme weather events and that they are caused by CO2 emissions is going way out on an extremist limb.
Trudeau eventually called the carbon tax revenue-neutral, saying that from the money he raises, he will write cheques to Canadians to cover cost increases incurred by the new tax. British Columbia called their tax revenue-neutral for a few years, then gave up and used the extra income to finance new spending. The Fraser Institute, ranked as Canada’s top think-tank, figures that over the next five years, the carbon tax will cost a family of four more than $1,100 per year.
According to the Fraser Institute, the “introduction of the carbon tax could be the last straw that pushes Canada into recession.”
Consider that the United States is easing environmental restrictions and lowering taxes. We’ve already lost most competitive advantages, except for the exchange rate. At best, the carbon tax is part of a grand experiment but I think we already know it`s just going to make things worse.
Patrick Meagher is editor of Farmers Forum. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.