Harper on gas prices and carbon taxes

2008-05-21

in Canada, Economics, Law, The environment

One thing for which you need to give Stephen Harper some credit: unlike the American presidential candidates, he is willing to admit that the government cannot do much to reduce gasoline prices. Unfortunately, he is also using those high prices to oppose carbon taxes, probably the most economically efficient economy-wide mechanism for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

. May 23, 2008 at 10:02 am

Layton raises carbon-tax alarm
Globe and Mail – 5 hours ago
OTTAWA – NDP Leader Jack Layton launched a vehement campaign against carbon taxes yesterday and was quickly accused of alarmist pandering by prominent Canadian environmentalists.

. May 23, 2008 at 10:03 am

“Environmentalist Stephen Hazell, executive director of Sierra Club Canada, said Mr. Layton’s comments are regrettable because a strong climate-change plan would include cap-and-trade measures as well as carbon taxes.

“The carbon tax has a huge advantage over cap-and-trade in that it can be put in place very quickly and deliver results very quickly, whereas cap-and-trade, it’s taken Europe decades to get that one figured out,” he said. “It’s just regrettable that he’s focusing on the negative.”

Mr. Hazell said there are ways to ensure low-income people receive assistance so they are not hurt by carbon taxes.

“It just seems a little bit like pandering to us,” he said. “They’re pandering to people who are afraid about rising gas prices, the folks who would typically support the NDP. But we think it’s alarmist and it’s not helpful.”

Mr. Hazell’s comments come on the heels of remarks from environmentalist David Suzuki, who told CTV’s Question Period last Sunday that he was “shocked” by the NDP’s opposition to a carbon tax.

“I thought that they had a very progressive environmental outlook,” Mr. Suzuki said. “To oppose [the carbon tax plan], it’s just nonsense. It’s certainly the way we’ve got to go.””

. May 23, 2008 at 11:41 am

Friday, May 23, 2008
Nationalize the Oil Industry?

The thing is, I can only see these calls for nationalization gaining in popularity. Our government – if it behaves in the predictable fashion that I have come to expect – is incapable of stopping the climb in prices. Long-term, prices are going higher – and oil companies will benefit. Even as oil majors struggle to replace their reserves, oil prices are rising at an even faster pace. Thus, the value of the oil that they do produce more than offsets those declines. So what I expect to see is oil companies become more and more profitable as oil prices continue to climb. The only things our government can do to stem the pain are things they can’t collectively agree to do. What they can collectively seem to do is offer pandering solutions that appease the public’s anger by “sticking it to the oil companies.”

. June 9, 2008 at 8:49 am

We don’t need more tax pain

GWYN MORGAN

Globe and Mail Update

June 9, 2008 at 6:00 AM EDT

When Canada signed the Kyoto accord in 1998, gasoline pump prices averaged 65 cents a litre. One can well imagine the public outrage had the Liberal government combined that signing with announcement of a carbon tax that would double fuel prices. Yet, as a result of rising oil prices, average pump prices have more than doubled since 1998 to over $1.30 a litre. If the road to meeting Canada’s Kyoto targets was to be driven by an unthinkably huge carbon tax, world oil prices have instead more than obliged and analysts are predicting that prices will keep on obliging without any help from government.

. March 29, 2010 at 10:26 am

“The chill came in the afternoon, when panelists, egged on by former Toronto Star columnist David Crane, told the gathering that the most sensible way to green the Canadian economy was to impose a carbon tax.

It was exactly that proposal that many blame for the defeat of the Liberals in the last election. It would be a courageous party, in the Yes Minister sense of the word (i.e., politically suicidal), to propose it again.

After a jittery opening day, participants here are feeling better about the forums and discussions. Most of the real idea-swapping happens in the antechamber outside the ballroom, where the speeches and panels take place. Inside, things are often pretty dull. Outside, the discussion is lively.

If the people here have any say in the matter, the Liberal Party will seek to redefine itself as a party committed to social policy and the environment. There is nary a word about the deficit, about keeping taxes low, about fostering international trade.

The question for Michael Ignatieff and his team will be to what extent the party sticks to that platform going into the next election. To the extent it does, Canadians will be offered a clear choice: focusing on getting the books back in balance, or focusing instead on new investments to make the population healthier, better educated and more secure.”

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