Monday, July 14, 2008

"Green Shift" quickly shifting from shift to shaft

As kit pointed out over at Spink About It, last week Ontario Liberal MP Ken Boshcoff was on record wherein he admitted that Dion's carbon tax, or as his boss calls it 'Green Shift', was anything but an environmental policy, but rather "the most aggressive anti-poverty program in 40 years," which would ultimately "transfer wealth from the oil patch to the rest of the country."

And as National Post columnists Lorne Gunter demonstrates, Boshcoff sure wasn't kidding when he said "transfer wealth from the oil patch":
Two weeks ago, Mr. Dion intimated that while Alberta and Saskatchewan have just 13% of the national population between them, their economies could -- should -- pay up to 40% of the cost of his carbon tax because they produce 40% of Canada's carbon emissions.

At about $16-billion a year in new carbon levies, the Green Shift would cost each Canadian about $500 a year -- just under $2,000 for a family of four. Mr. Dion has promised to return that amount in the form of income tax cuts and subsidies. His proposal would "shift" part of Canadians' tax burden from income to energy consumption.

But if won't shift it evenly across the country. By aiming his taxes at producers, rather than consumers, Mr. Dion clearly means to extract more of his new revenues from some provinces than others -- not coincidentally the provinces that seldom elect Liberal MPs.

The share of the green taxes he wishes to impose on Alberta and Saskatchewan would work out to nearly $1,500 per capita, or $6,000 per family. In the rest of the country, the load would be just $325 per person or $1,300 a family.

And it's not as though Albertans, in particular, aren't making a disproportionate contribution to federal finances already.

In addition to fuelling the federal budget surplus, Albertans contribute about $4,000 more per person to federal finances than they receive back in federal program spending. By comparison, the fiscal deficit Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty frequently speaks of for his province is just over $1,500 per person per year, and Green Shift wouldn't raise that to $2,000.

Add together what Albertans are already contributing to Confederation with the green surcharge Mr. Dion is proposing, and Alberta families would be kicking in more than $20,000 extra per family if the Liberals are ever returned to power.
No wonder it's being deemed the Green Shaft. Because it really is! And trust me, it really must be bad if Harper's cowboy outfit got runner up in the news [today] because of it. Though I have to admit, this outfit sure beats the 2005 version he wore during the barbecue circuit.

Update: Phil (aka Voice of the Association) has an excellent post on how Dion's 'Green tax' is not an environmental plan, but an economic plan that redistributes wealth to areas that are generally more vote-rich for Liberals. Give it a read.

Related: Harper ridicules Dion proposal as 'green shaft', Green shift gives life to Dion, Will Canadians support a hard-nosed approach to climate change?, Hot and bothered over climate.


At Jul 14, 2008, 11:51:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I noticed that PMSH stuck it to Liberal Leader Stephane Dion's carbon tax proposal calling it "the green shaft" and little more than a wealth transfer disguised as an environmental policy.

He may be right, but I'm not sure he wants that as a referendum in the next election. It could cost him his job as I believe such an election strategy would return a minority government...possibly even a Liberal one.

At Jul 14, 2008, 7:48:00 PM , Blogger Iain G. Foulds said...

... It is odd, that of the hundreds of present policies of forced economic re-distribution, we are suddenly outraged by this proposed one.
... Will our Liberal-lite PM now come out clearly against the principles of economic intervention by the state?
... Right...

At Jul 15, 2008, 9:57:00 AM , Anonymous bill said...

It could be risky strategy anonymous, but at least we know that Bill Casey and Danny Williams will have less of a negative impact on the next general election since both Nova Scotia and NL's economies are headed in the right direction due to offshore oil revenues. People seem to have more REAL hope under the Harper administration.

At Jul 15, 2008, 10:04:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all that cash cominginto Nova Scotia ($870 million over 15 yrs. to be exact), the smartest thing that Rodney MacDonald's government can do is pay down that debt. The goal should be to make it a zero balance equation. Then we should focus on developing businesses that can stay and grow in the province. Removing burdens that give us nothing (debt) is the only way we are going to have affordable health care, top notch education and solid economic growth.


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