Monthly Archives: August 2008

Innocent oversight

Dear Rodney,

Thank you for placing a carbon tax estimator on the Progressive Conservative Nova Scotia Caucus website. As someone like you who is engaged in our democracy, I always appreciate it when our elected officials make an effort to educate the public about their various policy choices and what the impacts of those choices could be.

It’s in that spirit that I draw to your attention a critical missing component of your carbon tax estimator. As you know, the Liberal Green Shift plan, as well as the more detailed and aggressive Green Party “green tax shift” on which  it is based, both hinge on a carbon tax being offset by reductions in other taxes, primarily payroll and income. Your carbon tax estimator attempts to tell people how much they would pay in carbon taxes, but does not also allow them to calculate how much they’ll save in reduced income and payroll taxes (what someone more clever than I has called a “tax cut on everything”).

This oversight, which I’m sure is innocent and accidental, inadvertently gives Nova Scotians a very inaccurate impression of what a green tax shift would actually mean for them. I trust that you’ll address this error promptly now that it has been brought to your attention.



Propane vs. Uranium

The images of yesterday’s propane depot explosion in north Toronto are shocking, with one observer saying the explosion was “like an atomic bomb.” And while we can be thankful the casualties weren’t worse (the area “got off very lucky” according to one Toronto Fire Division Commander), my thoughts go out to the families of the two individuals reported missing and dead. It’s a real tragedy.

Residents have now expressed anger that such a potentially dangerous facility was close enough to a residential area to cause damage and death. Of course, they have a point. In response, “Toronto is launching a review of all areas that could pose a potential hazard to nearby homes” in order to “identify any other facilities that may be operating close to residential communities.” I humbly suggest they not forget to consider Pickering and Darlington in their review, especially considering recent nuclear safety developments.

Saturday night as Toronto went to bed, an explosion like the one we saw Sunday morning was unthinkable to most. Tonight as we go to bed, a nuclear accident will be just as unthinkable. As unlikely as such an accident (hopefully) is, it would be terminally devastating. No one wants to have 20/20 hindsight on an accident like that.

Harm Reduction

Following yesterday’s reports of Health Minister Tony Clement’s ignorant comments about safe injection sites like Vancouver’s Insite which “left officials from the [World Health Organization] flummoxed and red-faced,” my father has this useful observation printed in today’s Globe and Mail letters:

Brantford, Ont. — In view of Tony Clement’s embarrassing performance in Mexico, John Baird’s embarrassing performance in Bali and Stephen Harper’s embarrassing performance practically everywhere, I have a modest proposal for harm reduction.

Well put, dad.