Steep carbon tax could actually stimulate economy: report

It’s not every day you read a glowing news report about the Green Party in the National Post, but we live in interesting times. The story in yesterday’s paper has the same headline as this blog entry, and begins as follows:

OTTAWA — It was denounced by Environment Minister John Baird as “the mother of all taxes,” but a new report for the federal government says a $50-per-tonne carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas pollution would do little harm to the Canadian economy.

The study – titled “Cost Curves for Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction in Canada: The Kyoto Period and Beyond” – was submitted to the government in January.

Green party Leader Elizabeth May said it proves the Conservatives knew the top experts were urging them to accept her proposal of a $50-per-tonne carbon tax as the most effective tool to fight global warming.

“The Canadian public can conclude that the Harper government is deliberately misleading them when they claim that a carbon tax does serious damage to the economy, because they know it’s not true,” May said at a news conference.

In an analysis of carbon taxes ranging from $10 per tonne up to $250 per tonne, the report, obtained by May through an Access to Information request, concluded that the $50-per-tonne carbon tax could even have a positive effect on the economy by 2015. The Green party has proposed a tax shift by transferring revenues from the new carbon tax to reductions in payroll taxes for companies and in income taxes for individuals.

Mark Jaccard, whose consulting firm produced the study and who has been recognized by senior government officials as “one of Canada’s top climate policy experts,” went on to say, “if we’re serious about reducing greenhouse gases, we have to have a carbon tax or its equivalent. So in fact, Elizabeth May is the only politician who’s being honest to Canadians right now.”

In summary, our government has had a report in their hands since January, from one of their own trusted experts, that says they’re wrong and we’re right. They tried to keep this report secret, and we only now know about it because Elizabeth May obtained it through the Access to Information Act.

They know it’s not true that action on climate change would cripple the economy. They know that a carbon tax is needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change. They know that the Green Party’s “tax shift” idea (reduce income and payroll taxes, add carbon and pollution taxes) could actually stimulate the economy.

Faced with those facts, they decided the best thing to do would be to try and keep this information from Canadians. Honestly, what kind of mind works like that?

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