June 19th, 2018

NDP on correct economic course

By Letter to the Editor on April 18, 2017.

Re: “No carbon emissions problem in Canada,” April 11

Referencing Mr. Motz’s letter, Mr. Taylor infers that Mr. Motz presents a strong case against the carbon tax, yet the only information he provides from Mr. Motz’s letter are two insubstantial details, “the carbon tax is a bad idea” and “there is a cover-up of the cost to taxpayers.” Mr. Taylor unwittingly supports my concern that Mr. Motz’s original letter lacked information to conclude that a “carbon tax is bad” and worse yet provided no plan for meeting emission reduction targets proposed by Harper’s Conservatives in 2015.

Regarding the “cover-up of the cost,” the best estimate for the cost of the carbon tax is from the provinces not the federal government. This is because the provinces implement the tax and handle the revenue. On their web page, the Alberta government provides direct and indirect cost estimates as well as revenue usage.

Mr. Taylor challenges the government’s indirect cost estimates but doesn’t provide his sources.

Mr. Taylor also states that there is “no tie between” the carbon and small business taxes. But there is a tie as both are expenses for small business. To offset the carbon tax the Alberta government decreased the small business tax.

Mr. Taylor provides no basis for his statement “rebates are roughly one-third of what the tax will take from people.” Rebates shown on the government webpage slightly exceed the estimated direct costs and cover about 85 per cent when indirect costs are included. The direct cost estimates are reasonable for natural gas consumption for an average sized home and for gasoline consumption for typical yearly mileage.

In his claim that “we (Canada) absorb more carbon than we emit,” Mr. Taylor doesn’t provide the sources of absorption. If he is considering CO2 consumed by forests via photosynthesis, the Government of Canada website actually indicates Canadian forests are now net emitters of carbon dioxide, due to the increased number of forest fires and deforestation due to insect outbreaks.

Mr. Taylor does support the development of green technology but fails to acknowledge the NDP government is doing this under their Developing Renewable Energy plan.

Finally, Mr. Taylor refers to Alberta falling “on our economic sword,” presumably due to the carbon tax. Short term, the biggest impact on the Alberta economy is the price of oil. If prices increase the economy will improve. And, as long as the world consumes oil, Alberta will produce oil (including from the oilsands), which is the position of the NDP government. Long term, world oil consumption will decrease. Alberta will need to transition to a more diversified economy, which the NDP government are pursuing.

Denis Hoffman

Medicine Hat

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