NDP green plan bad news
By Lorrie Goldstein
Thomas Mulcair’s so-called “solution” to the “problem” of the oil sands artificially inflating our dollar and gutting Canada’s manufacturing sector is to take billions of dollars more out of the pockets of ordinary Canadians.
That’s because the federal NDP leader’s proposed “cure” is a cap-and-trade market on steroids — far more massive in scope than the existing one in Europe.
That’s scary because Europe’s cap-and-trade market, the Emissions Trading Scheme which was created in 2005, has (a) failed to lower greenhouse gas emissions (b) sent electricity prices skyrocketing (c) driven millions of people into fuel poverty, meaning they spend more than 10% of their incomes just heating and powering their homes and (d) is ridden with multi-billion dollar frauds.
Mulcair says his “cap-and-trade” plan will enforce the “polluters pay” principle.
But cap-and-trade has nothing to do with enforcement.
It’s a carbon tax by another name, in which the government auctions off a gradually decreasing number of pollution permits to industry, who pass along these added costs to consumers.
The main winners are: The government, which receives billions of dollars in new revenues from these auctions to spend on anything it likes; giant energy companies, who control the buying and selling of these pollution permits for profit; and speculators, who make money by trading the permits, called carbon credits, as they would any stock.
The big losers are consumers, who pay more for pretty much everything.
Europe’s multi-nation cap-and-trade market, which has been a disaster, covers 12,000 major emitters — including hospitals and universities that ended up having to buy carbon credits instead of hiring nurses and professors.
By comparison, Mulcair’s plan would dramatically expand the NDP’s previous policy under Jack Layton to apply cap-and-trade to Canada’s 700 largest emitters, to include what Mulcair describes as “all major sources of climate change pollution.”
It’s unclear exactly what Mulcair means, but it clearly means his cap-and-trade program will be massive in a Canadian context, far beyond what was done in Europe.
Further, NDP (and Liberal) policy is to implement cap-and-trade in Canada regardless of whether the U.S. does, where the enabling legislation for it is permanently stalled in Congress.
Proceeding with cap-and-trade in Canada, without the U.S., which accounts for 75% of our exports and more than 50% of our imports, would be the equivalent of Canada voluntarily signing an economic suicide pact, given that it would increase the price of Canadian goods and services.
The reason there’s no interest in cap-and-trade in the U.S. is that it would raise consumer prices for American consumers in the middle of their struggling economy.
Indeed, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, an early supporter of regional cap-and-trade with the U.S., has abandoned the idea, admitting he couldn’t find any state governments as willing partners.
Mulcair says he would use some of the new government revenue generated by his cap-and-trade plan to: Lower greenhouse gas emissions; repair environmental damage; retrain workers who lose their jobs as a result of it; develop renewable energy; help consumers make their homes more energy efficient and help the poor cope with the added cost-of-living.
But we all know once any government of any stripe gets hold of a massive new revenue stream from taxpayers, the tendency is to put it down the sinkhole of general government revenues for its own pet programs.
The one part of Mulcair’s plan that makes sense is ending $1.4 billion annually in government subsidies to the hugely profitable oil and gas industry.
But the problem with Mulcair’s “Dutch disease” theory — that high western Canadian oil and gas prices have gutted eastern Canadian manufacturing — isn’t just that it’s simplistic, incorrect and divisive. It’s that his “solution”, cap-and-trade on steroids, is NDP code for higher taxes and bigger government.
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