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Carbon tax ‘cudgel’ made of Nerf foam

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Carbon tax ‘cudgel’ made of Nerf foam
Ken MacDougall

Were you to walk through any of the pubs in Prince Albert and ask each patron what they consider to be the most concerning of items in their lives at the moment, you’d probably get a list that would include inflation, supply management – and “maybe” high taxes.  Missing from this list are the issues that almost everyone I know considers to be their personal “downers” approaching Christmas:

– Getting back to a “normal” life and relief from this Covid-19 pandemic, 

– The increasingly violent effects of climate change, 

– Thinking about not returning to your $7.00/hr job in the tourism industry, which offers neither security nor benefits, 

– The price of gas, when last year it was at $0.68/ liter in Rosthern, 

– Housing prices increasing so rapidly that your landlord is considering evicting everyone in the apartment complex and turning the units into condos, or 

– The cost of protein products doubling at any and all grocery stores.

Missing from that list: That “illegal and unconstitutional attempt by the federal government led by Justin Trudeau to impose a CARBON TAX upon Saskatchewanians”….

Scott Moe’s favourite cudgel swung in the last two provincial elections – the “carbon tax” – has turned out to be made of Nerf foam. By doing nothing to change the economic modeling for this province, the Saskatchewan Party has simply forgotten that Economic models follow the same principles as do chemical or physical reactions, namely, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. In effect, what this means is that for our economic environment to be stabilized, we can no longer expect a life of “normalcy”. 

When you pursue policies that embrace past tense practices, nothing is ever going to change for the better. However, that’s a fact that so-called “think tank” or “citizen groups” embracing the “libertarian”, right-wing extremities of American billionaires such as Charles Koch want us to ignore.

The Fraser Institute and Canadian Taxpayers Federation are two such entities advocating the policies of denialism by downplaying the need for society finally embracing “green” technology initiatives while promoting the ideals of unfettered capitalism and laissez-faire business practice.

CTF Director Franco Terrazzano recently offered up a December 4th Op-Ed piece in the Herald laden with the disinformation and manipulation of fact necessary to allow the public to wholeheartedly endorse reactionary public policies. In this article, Mr. Terrazzano’s tone appears sincere critiquing of Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole’s strategy for fighting inflationary trends our current economy is exhibiting, noting that pursuit of such strategy would be like “using gas to put out a fire”. By noting that the Conservative leader’s first priority would be to see an O’Toole-led government borrowing still more money beyond the 300% asset increase to the Bank of Canada’s vault that has occurred under a Trudeau government primarily interested in fighting the spread of Covid-19 variants, he subliminally stirs the emotional juices of “anti-Justin” sentiment. He then picks up the Premier’s Nerf cudgel, and tells us that O’Toole even wants to INCREASE the carbon tax that would, by his figures at least, add $0.27/ liter to the already too-price of gas. 

Both critiques of O’Toole’s proposals lack any form of touchstone to reality, but Terrazzano already knows that. This is why in one of his examples, he only highlights the potential for the carbon tax, in BC, no less, to increase costs for soccer moms driving mini-vans.

Terrazzano’s message may sound like sweet music to Scott Moe or Jason Kenney having grown fat on petroleum royalty colostrum, but British Columbia only recently elected an NDP government that campaigned heavily upon a promise of aggressively tackling the issue of climate change. Voters, probably already tired of fighting fires during the summer months, listened. Thus, when shortly after coming into office the NDP increased an already high “carbon tax” on fossil fuel consumption, soccer moms filling up their mini-vans became part of the public voice saying “It’s about bloody well time,” reinforcing their message by a commitment of over 50% of new passenger vehicle purchases in the province being either electrically powered or hybrid.

Even Mr. Terrazzano’s attempt to compare the recession-pocked decades from 1970 to the 1990’s as being “better” than Trudeau’s reliance on borrowing from the Bank of Canada is totally absurd. My personal fiscal memory of the 1980’s is of my bank manager trying to extort 21% interest on my federally guaranteed student loan at 5.8%. Personal, corporate and farm loans were also being issued at this usurious rate or higher.

So, here’s my question: Who is Mr. Terrazzano trying to snow by maintaining that a 21% “vigorish” imposed by our already profiteering national banks WASN’T as “inflationary” as is the current practice of increasing debt now being pursued by a Liberal minority government, or an O’Toole led government following the same pathway – especially given the negative influence the 1980’s Bank of Canada policies it eventually had upon housing costs? 

Please, Mr. Terrazzano, can we get back to reality here? Some of us actually REMEMBER the past.

Mr. Terrazzano completely abandoned the principles of “supply and demand” that accompany “free market” conditions he advocates in other articles. Farmers at least know that when crops fail, or livestock are drowned and hundreds of thousands of hectares of farmland are covered with water and soil eroded, that’s when farm productivity staggers, and prices go up. So, whatever you think of the amount your smaller Christmas turkeys cost this year, commodity price inflation has been caused by climate change, NOT governmental mismanagement of the economy.