Canadian Support Waning on Cap-and-Trade Plan

The Toronto Sun writes that polling across Canada shows support for carbon pricing has plummeted now that reality has set in, leaving Prime Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to wonder what went wrong. The Sun notes that last year, amid great, self-congratulatory fanfare, Wynne imposed a cap-and-trade scheme—another name for a carbon tax—on Ontarians, one reason she’s poised to lose her job in the province’s June 7 election. Her Liberal government trails both the Progressive Conservative Party and the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the polls.

Polling reveals that more than seven in 10 eligible Ontario voters believe carbon taxes are just an excuse by government to grab more money, with 68% calling them mere symbolism. Albertans appear to agree, with polls indicating a likely ousting of Alberta Premier Rachael Notley, whose NDP government introduced a carbon tax last year and is now trailing far behind Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party in public support.

A survey for the CBC found nearly seven in 10 Albertans want Notley’s carbon tax scrapped. Further, most Canadians, 56%, oppose Trudeau’s national carbon tax, with majorities against it in every province surveyed except Quebec. “It’s all evidence of growing skepticism about carbon pricing as Canadians increasingly realize that when Trudeau and Co. talk about ‘making polluters pay’ for carbon emissions, they really mean making us pay,” the Sun observes.

The newspaper adds that having followed polling on carbon pricing and climate change for more than a decade, the rule of thumb is this: “Ask people if they support efforts to combat man-made climate change and most say yes. Ask them if they support having to pay for it and most say no.” That’s because no government in Canada has instituted the most effective, open, and transparent form of carbon pricing—a 100% revenue-neutral carbon tax in which all the money is returned to the public in broad-based income tax cuts—verified by the federal and provincial auditors general.

Asserted is that the reason no government in Canada has adopted a transparent, revenue-neutral plan is that officials don’t want to decouple the raising of government revenues with schemes that purport to reduce industrial carbon dioxide emissions.

“The fact is that to significantly reduce emissions, carbon taxes would have to be set so high today—hundreds of dollars per ton of emissions, as opposed to Trudeau’s price of $50 per ton by 2022—that, without revenue neutrality, the only reason emissions would drop would be due to a massive national recession.”

The Sun maintains that what Trudeau and others are doing is nickel and diming Canadians through carbon pricing, putting a permanent drag on the economy without provoking a full recession, while hoping Canadians won’t notice as the costs increase over time, with little impact on emissions. “What the polling on carbon taxes shows is that Canadians are coming to the correct conclusion that our carbon emperors have no clothes.”

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, June 4, 2018)