Yukon News

Silver’s Liberals could blunt carbon tax rage by showing their work

EditorialChris Windeyer Wednesday December 21, 2016

Joel Krahn/Yukon News

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Premier Sandy Silver has promised 100 per cent of carbon tax revenues will be returned in the form of a rebate.

Libtard. Dumbass. God damn idiot (sic). And those are the comments we didn’t delete.

The coming of carbon pricing is not going down well among certain segments of the electorate. Large portions of the political right are having apoplectic fits over the prospect that gas prices will go up a bit. Some of that outrage finds a forum on our various comments sections.

Part of this is that carbon tax resistance has become almost a meme of the right, particularly in Alberta, where the collapse of oil prices has thrown thousands out of work and people are legitimately hurting.

But many have also been whipped into a frenzy by agitprop artists like Ezra Levant and in many cases legitimate criticism of Alberta’s carbon pricing plan has been usurped by vicious and sometimes violent sexism directed at Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and her government.

In the Yukon, we’re not quite there yet, although the undercurrent of anger is already starting to simmer.

Some people seem to think carbon pricing will lead to economic doom (it won’t). Some are incensed that government would implement any policy that would encourage them to change their behaviour, as through it’s their God-given right to idle their F250 outside Independent for a half an hour, even when it’s not -30. And others flat out refuse to believe that the Yukon government will return any or all carbon pricing revenue to taxpayers, as Premier Sandy Silver has promised.

That said, citizens have more than earned the right to be skeptical of government promises. And the new government has not done a particularly good job of communicating how Yukon’s implementation of the federal carbon tax is going to work.

Silver promised that “100 per cent” of carbon tax revenues will be returned to Yukoners in the form of a rebate, while the territorial and federal governments spend on renewable energy, building retrofits and other emission-reducing projects. That’s all well and good. Carbon tax or no, the Yukon needs to do more to help people use less fossil fuels.

The new Yukon government needs to be clear about some things, even if the details of how the carbon tax rebate will work are still be fleshed out. “Canada will be responsible for administering the tax,” a finance department spokesperson told me this week. “This means that many details must be clarified at the federal level before the territory can develop a process for remitting the associated revenue to Yukoners.”

While the exact revenue figures remain unknown, there’s nothing stopping the Yukon government from presenting different models for carbon tax rebates and testing the waters to see what people would prefer.

Many questions remain about how this is going to work. Will money be returned in the form of income tax cuts? Not everyone will get all of their carbon tax money back. High-consumption industries, like placer mining, are going to get nailed. What’s the plan to ensure placer mining stays economically feasible?

People in the communities, who generally pay higher gas prices, and who are much more reliant on personal vehicle use to travel, are going to feel the pinch. What is the government going to do to give people alternatives for getting around?

How is the rebate going to be structured? What is the government going to do to ensure lower-income earners, pensioners and the like don’t get unduly burdened by higher gas prices?

And Silver has said that Yukon will reap carbon tax revenue from Alaskan and other out-of-territory travellers passing through. Roughly how much revenue can the Yukon expect from this and how much will it offset what Yukoners have to pay?

Silver had no control over the timing of the federal-provincial-territorial meetings to hammer out the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. It is a huge file to be dumped on a new, incoming government. But that is no excuse for the Liberals’ approach so far, which has been, in essence, “Don’t worry, we’ll let the bureaucracy figure out the details and get back to you.”

That’s not good enough.

The Liberals won November’s territorial election fair and square, and two-thirds of Yukoners cast ballots for parties who supported some form of carbon pricing. Silver has a mandate to act on this.

But the premier would be well advised to level with Yukoners and explain in detail how this new system will affect them and to offer people different scenarios and explain their impact on personal incomes and the wider economy.

Doing so will not quell carbon pricing’s most vocal opponents, but Yukoners are entitled to see the government’s math.

Contact Chris Windeyer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

5 Comments

Riptide wrote:
1:35pm Friday January 6, 2017

Whether one agrees with global warming, or that we’re causing it or whatever, is largely irrelevant. Until we know more, a prudent move would be to find a way to limit or minimize the GHGs that humans are emitting into the atmosphere. I’m about as far from a tree hugger as one could be, but even I think that until we know more then we currently do, attempting to do this is a smart and rational move.

However… I don’t think trying to tax people on an essential service is a rational way to go about it. You’re not going to lower demand for fossil fuels to northerner’s by taxing their usage of it. I still have to heat my home. Instead all you’re doing is increasing the price of everything, while doing nothing for the environment. Even if we lowered our GHG output by 10% (unlikely), that’s such a minuscule amount that on a global scale it’s meaningless. It’s like me giving you a penny and then bragging about how I gave you something because you’re now richer than you were before. Where as in reality it does nothing for you. Just like this will do nothing for the environment.

What the sad thing is, is even if Canada cut their GHG emissions by 100%, due to how little we actually contribute on a global scale, it won’t mean a damn thing.

Which means this whole exercise is completely pointless. We’re going to tax the rich for using fossil fuels, and we’ll give that money back to the poor in the form of a “rebate”. This isn’t going to do anything for the environment, but at least the government found another way to take from the rich to give to the poor. Yay Liberals, go pat yourselves on the back now for doing a great job with another feel good solution that accomplishes nothing.

north_of_60 wrote:
4:33pm Wednesday January 4, 2017

@Rationalist, if you have a problem with what’s quoted from the article then take it up with Forbes, that’s why the link was posted.  You’re shooting at a messenger who isn’t concerned with your opinion.  The fact remains: “many scientists dispute the asserted global warming crisis”, regardless of whatever libtard propaganda you wish to believe.

Rationalist wrote:
10:38am Wednesday January 4, 2017

north_of_60 - I suggest you actually read the details of this survey in Organization Studies, here is a link http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0170840612463317

The purpose of the survey was to understand the point of view of a particular group – namely, engineers and scientists who work primarily for the petroleum industry in Alberta.

So it would be more accurate for you to have said something like
“in a limited survey of Petroleum industry engineers and scientists in Alberta over half accept that humans are causing climate change but only 36% believe that it is a major crisis”

Do you think the figures might be different if the survey was done on geoscientists and engineers in some of the places most at risk from climate change?
Places such as Haiti, Bangladesh, Micronesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Papua, Honduras, Rwanda, Uganda, Congo, Liberia, Kenya, Sudan, Kenya, Chad, Yemen, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Bolivia, Eritrea etc. (you may have noticed that the list of countries that will suffer most are mostly the countries who are least responsible for the crisis)

north_of_60 wrote:
3:10pm Thursday December 29, 2016

Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) usually describes the effort to understand how the universe works through the scientific method, with observable evidence as the basis of that understanding.  It’s a way of understanding the world through thought and experimentation.  The true sciences tend to be positivistic in their approach to truth and knowledge based on natural phenomena and their properties and relations.  Theories are continually revised with real world data, science is never ‘settled’.

In contrast, the humanities tend toward relativism.  Relativism is the belief that there’s no absolute truth, only the truths that a particular individual or culture happen to believe.  Those opposing views of reality will always be in conflict, and it’s not surprising that they divide along political lines.

It is becoming clear that many scientists dispute the asserted global warming crisis, and these skeptical scientists may indeed form a scientific consensus. Only 36 percent of geoscientists and engineers believe that humans are creating a global warming crisis, according to a survey reported in the peer-reviewed Organization Studies.  By contrast, a strong majority of the respondents believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2013/02/13/peer-reviewed-survey-finds-majority-of-scientists-skeptical-of-global-warming-crisis/#23c5d885171b

So called ‘climate science’ is relativistic political ‘science’.  Those who continue to act like it’s 2006 and they just stepped out of AlGore’s popular docudrama, will find their beliefs increasingly marginalized as the wheels fall off the politically motivated GlobalWarmingClimateChange bandwagon. 

Scientific truth will prevail.  Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Max Mack wrote:
10:11pm Tuesday December 27, 2016

That ACGW is pretty much split along party lines should tell you that climate science is far from settled, and that this debate has more to do with political orientation than science. Windeyer effectively says this, but frames it in a way that blame lies with the political right.

He can’t see the basic truth which is staring him in the face.

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