COULUMN: Goldstein – Mulcair’s green plan will hit Canadians in the wallet

- May 22nd, 2012

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.

Categories: Contributor Columns

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3 comments

  1. Jen says:

    Isn’t this always been the NDP mantra: ‘to hit you right at the wallet’

    In other words, ‘Redistribution of wealth”

    Why didn’t the media warn canadians of the ndp intentions before the election in 2011; had the public known of this mostly likely the NDP would have remained in third place. But no, instead the media including SNN went into a trance with the ‘ORANGE CRUSH’ .

    Goldstein, the ndp will bring back the kyoto, shut down the oilsands, put moratorium across canada; regulate the media(SNN better be in their best behaviour or else the NDP will shut you down). There is more and the strangest thing, not many canadians know of their ndp, plan. UNTIL IT IS TOO DAM LATE.

  2. Brian Lilley says:

    Jen, I don’t know what we at SNN have done to so greatly disappointed you but to once again claim that we do not and we did not report on the NDP’s aims prior to the election is just not believable.
    You’ve heard of the 45 day work year? The Conservatives took that from me after I pointed out that the LPC, NDP and Bloc plan to reform EI would amount to working for 45 days and then collecting pogey for a year. That was talked about on SNN prior to the election. We talked about their environmental plans, their economic plans, their socialism.
    And yes we also talked about the Orange Crush, a term that I was the first to use in relation to their rise in the polls in Quebec. And speaking of Quebec we talked about their strange form of federalism that requires centralization for all provinces except Quebec.
    Again, I don’t know why we are such a disappointment to you, perhaps you don’t watch, but if you want to complain then please complain about something we are doing but shouldn’t be or something we are not doing but should be.

  3. Ken Petkau says:

    Lorrie says it well.

    Jen is just expressing her frustration that there does not seem to have been enough exposure of the NDP’s agenda. Maybe she does not have access to Sun News.

    BTW Brian, Sun News needs to have a store where viewers are able to support the station by purchasing coffee mugs and other paraphernalia.

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