Thursday, June 19, 2008

Shift Happens Today

CBC (and one presumes Elections Canada) seem to have most of the details in advance, but Dion will be making the official carbon tax announcement this morning. I’ll update this when he does but, for now, you can read the rumoured details here.


UPDATE: The Green Shift website is now up and running, with the full plan details. Like all Canadians, I will be sure to read the 48 page handbook once I get an opportunity to but, for now, I will say that the "savings calculator" is a good way to simplify a colossally complicated plan. Knocking people up for donations is also a smart move.

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41 Comments:

  • So Dion's going to sell the idea of higher propane prices on the BBQ circuit?

    By Anonymous Frank, at 10:25 AM  

  • I like it. No one knows what Dion stands for and now they will. Use policy to turn the focus away from the "not a leader" issue.

    It's bold and controversial. That's good. The best ideas often are. If it gets Canadians talking about the environment, then Stephane should win this election - maybe even a majority.

    By Anonymous AC, at 10:36 AM  

  • Completely insane is right. This will be a disaster waiting to happen. I feel bad for any Liberal caucus member in a vulnerable seat. It looks like most Liberals are not even onside with this policy.

    By Blogger Darryl, at 10:39 AM  

  • A 48-page handbook? How environmentally friendly.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:39 AM  

  • "CBC (and one presumes Elections Canada) seem to have most of the details in advance..."

    And, surprise, surprise, the Liberals seemed to have the inside scoop on this as well. Something shifty going on here. :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:06 PM  

  • Interesting isn't it, that a carbon tax might make carbon products more costly. Imagine the irony?

    And the Green green shift is out too... well... has been out for years.

    By Anonymous Saskboy, at 12:12 PM  

  • This plan does not figure in the increasing costs on other items that will occur as a result of a carbon tax that do not occur with an income tax or other taxes.

    Also, never trust a "revenue neutral tax" promise (its just an excuse to raise again later), a promise to "not cut your taxes, but not raise taxes either, or a promise that a tax is a temporary measure.

    By Anonymous tjk, at 12:23 PM  

  • Conservative slogan for the next federal election: Liberals full of shift.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 12:47 PM  

  • nuna - And you can bet Pat Martin is hard at work coming up with "shift" puns to use when attacking this plan.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:46 PM  

  • Anonymous said...

    "A 48-page handbook? How environmentally friendly."

    Are you suggesting they come out with a policy that fits on a postcard? The entire handbook is available in electronic format on the website... nice try though.

    http://www.thegreenshift.ca/pdfs/green_shift_book_en.pdf

    By Blogger MERBOY, at 2:08 PM  

  • I don't know if the calculator was such a good idea. I surely have my price, but it is not 19 freakin' dollars a month.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 3:40 PM  

  • All the calculator tells me is that I need to have A LOT more kids if I want to get anything back from this piece of shift plan.

    By Anonymous Craig, at 4:37 PM  

  • According to the Handbook, the Liberal Policy will fail miserably in its stated goal of reducing pollution.

    It lays out the large increases in the cost of necessities such as home heating oil and diesel fuel (while suggesting the new carbon tax will add only a small additional fraction). But the handbook also claims that these price increases have failed to curb emissions.

    Do the Liberals think that Canadians can't read?

    And that's ignoring the suggestions that at best, the plan is designed to eliminate your motivation to change your behaviours: it will take hundreds of dollars out of your pocket to heat your home in winter, and claims that it will put those hundreds of dollars back into your pocket in tax cuts.

    But 1.5% of one's income (15% -> 13.5%) does NOT put back the money the Liberals are taking from low-income Canadians on their home heating bills. And on their food bills (as diesel costs drive up the cost of transportation for all goods). And on the cost of other goods, as stores and governments also have to pay more to heat their buildings in the winter.

    What a farce.

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 4:39 PM  

  • And I *love* the calculator. Just try to find a single Canadian who actually pays more (i.e. negative benefit) as a result of this plan.

    Apparently this plan creates BILLIONS of dollars of benefits with no cost whatsoever to anyone!

    Can it get any better than that?

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 5:03 PM  

  • Well. I tried their "calculator". It said (without asking heating, oil, electricity costs, etc ... which includes increased PST & GST on higher fuel costs through this wonderful Green Shaft Tax) my "benefit" would be $50/month.

    But if you click on the "what would it cost me" tab, Dion and the tax-and-spend Liberals are much less forecoming. And their figures are suspect.

    Doesn't anyone realize that their plan can't be "revenue neutral for consumers? $15 billion in new taxes to be paid by consumers (after all, they are the ultimate payers directly and via corporate pass-throughs) versus only $11.5 billion paid back to them?

    All a pack of lies. Like all Liberal "promises".

    (signed) An ex-Torontonian who was promised a Waterfront Renewal Project 5 times by Chretien and Martin, and actually got the square root of zip.

    Fool me once, but after that I don't believe Liberals.

    By Blogger burpnrun, at 5:09 PM  

  • First off, Liberals are mainly assholes who could give a fuck about the environment until they're sadly desperate for votes. The Liberal Party of Canada is NOT a green party.

    But, that said - I'm really glad to see Dion taking a stand and presenting a bold, even controversial, idea. Harper did a big turnaround from snide opposition to leader - maybe Dion's turning a similar corner. I hope he keeps this more aggressive stance up - it's nice to see him coming out of his shell a bit.

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 6:04 PM  

  • On the environment, you have a choice - screw poor people and save the environment, or don't screw poor people and screw the environment.

    This plan does a bit of both - first, it is overly generous to people with kids (ie. the people screwing the environment the most).

    Secondly, it does nothing to ease the burden ON THE PRODUCTION side. If carbon-intensive products become more expensive, yeah, consumers have to pay more, but the people that get really screwed are the newly unemployed workers in carbon-intensive industries. You can't initiate the kind of economic dislocations a carbon tax would induce without massive job retraining, etc.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 6:37 PM  

  • Wow, something has got to give here. In order for the benefits and costs to even out, you have to be single and have a low income. As a grad student I supposedly lose 26 dollars from the whole arrangement according to Dion - probably less because my energy consumption is low.

    So lets say I have 2 kids and get married - surely increasing my carbon imprint. Well the average family pays $250 more, and... I get $2,090 back in taxes. These special allowances aimed at easing the burden of the tax make it perversely counter-intuitive as a "green shift" much of the time.

    Actually I played around with it - the only people net paying this tax are single people with incomes between 17,500/year and 22,500/year. Considering that other reports show that Canada's tax system is REGRESSIVE as it is (when you account for all taxes - sales, liquor, etc.) I don't think these are the folks one ought to be taxing.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 6:46 PM  

  • "Knocking people up for donations is also a smart move"

    I don't that's the "move" you meant--try hitting them up for donations. . . .

    By Anonymous ace, at 7:16 PM  

  • Oh and remember all that good press Gordon Campbell got about his green tax Machiavellian master-stroke? Well, not so much. 59% disapprove.

    http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=0329b877-e8a6-4883-b313-b143edd401e0

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 8:17 PM  

  • From the policy...

    "New tariffs on goods imported from countries that have no carbon taxes, as a way to even out higher costs for similar goods produced in Canada."

    I am pretty sure this violates WTO regulations.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 8:27 PM  

  • Any website that has autostart music sucks eggs in my books.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:27 PM  

  • hey grit,

    apparently, I'm going to save quite a chunk of cash.

    somehow - the calculator doesn't tell me - putting a price on carbon is going to SAVE me money.

    I don't see how I can describe that as anything but, well, retarded.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 9:07 PM  

  • For the first time in living memory my overall taxes are coming down, not by much mind you but it is noticeable and is helping me get my debt load down as I watch my expenses.

    Now this guy comes along and wants to raise my taxes and is practically bragging about it? Look it's not even 24 hours and Dion has all but admitted that this tax is not revenue neutral.

    Repeat after me: not revenue neutral. This guy wants to raise my taxes and my blood is boiling.

    Paul Wells seems to think that people don't mind tax increases but he must be on easy street with no sense of how the struggling middle class lives. The struggling middle class, you know the one that decides elections in this country.

    By Anonymous jarrid, at 9:54 PM  

  • Anyone want to bet that a number of Dion's caucus colleagues will be hedging their bets and will be giving the leader ample room to sell this Carbon Tax plan to the nation by his lonesome this summer.

    I doubt we'll see Rae or even Iggy (he supported the concept before Dion) on the frontlines on this.

    By Anonymous blue liberal, at 10:00 PM  

  • jarrid said...

    "Now this guy comes along and wants to raise my taxes and is practically bragging about it?"

    So the billions in income tax cuts won't apply to you because you have your money in offshore accounts or something?

    "Look it's not even 24 hours and Dion has all but admitted that this tax is not revenue neutral."

    Really... where did he say that exactly?

    By Blogger MERBOY, at 10:06 PM  

  • Just think,

    the colder the winters are, (and the more we'll have to heat our homes)

    the higher our taxes will be.

    Will the tax rates go down on especially cold winters???

    What if home fuel prices go down, and the taxes thereon go down, will they cut the tax reductions?

    If the seemingly simple task of registering gun numbers ended up costing billions more than anticipated,

    what do you think the cost (and bureaucratic nightmare) of the complex task of continually matching a variable cost with tax rates will be?

    Where will the massive cost to administer this fall on the tax/cut balance sheet?

    Gotta love easy utopic solutions put forth by out of touch academics.

    By Anonymous mitch, at 10:17 PM  

  • Blue Liberal - good point, let's see if the Liberal caucus comes out swinging for the tax in the media, and more importantly, who doesn't.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:51 PM  

  • Anonymous said...

    "Blue Liberal - good point, let's see if the Liberal caucus comes out swinging for the tax in the media, and more importantly, who doesn't."

    With the surplus almost eliminated completely by the useless GST cuts... it will be interesting to see the Conservatives come up with even one remotely interesting policy.

    By Blogger MERBOY, at 11:59 PM  

  • One other thing - lets say this carbon tax worked, and use of carbon dropped... Wouldn't Dion then have to raise taxes? I just really don't see how this can work in the long-run.

    I am the kind of guy who wouldn't trust the NDP to run a lemonade stand, but what manner of bizarro world is this, where they have by far the sanest plan on the environment (their unrealistic pledge to meet kyoto aside).

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 2:12 AM  

  • Merboy, Don Drummond, Chief Economist at the TD Bank said it wasn't. It's almost too obvious for words.

    But leaving that aside, let's be honest, this is an overly ambitious program being touted by a party that as recently as three years ago was mismanaging things like the gun registry which are nothing compared to this experiment, although just as pointless. Politically this is just not going to be the panacea that the Liberals are looking for. They have to start appealing to more mainstream Canadians than they currently are.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:09 AM  

  • Anonymous said...

    "Merboy, Don Drummond, Chief Economist at the TD Bank said it wasn't. It's almost too obvious for words."

    Maybe you could provide some quotes... here are some Don Drummond quotes I found at the end of an Edmonton Sun article... sounds like he kinda likes the idea.

    -------------------------------
    Don Drummond, chief economist for the Toronto Dominion Bank, welcomed the proposal as a good way to begin the debate about pricing carbon and green policy.

    "In the context of the growing acceptance of putting a price on carbon, of the growing desire to do something about climate change, this was a good start," he said.
    -------------------------------

    "But leaving that aside, let's be honest, this is an overly ambitious program being touted by a party that as recently as three years ago was mismanaging things like the gun registry which are nothing compared to this experiment, although just as pointless."

    How many balanced budgets did the previous Liberal governments bring us? How much did they pay down the debt? How much did they lower taxes? Oh wait those are MUCH bigger issues... yeah we probably shouldn't take a balanced view... it's so much easier to point at one screwup and scream complete incompetence... nice try though.

    By Blogger MERBOY, at 8:18 AM  

  • I urge everyone one to read Chantal Hebert's analysis which you can read on National Newswatch.
    It sets out the high political stakes that Dion has embarked on.

    If Dion is able to get elected with this as the centrepiece of his campaign, which, as Chantal says, it will be, I will eat my shirt!

    We've got an eco-freak as leader of the Liberal party, and the continuation of, to quote the Star's Jim Travers, the Montreal Mistake.

    By Anonymous blue liberal, at 8:29 AM  

  • Well remember, blue liberal, Dion's aim politically is to galvanize the left. The Liberal party has long thrived as an amoeba that engulfs the policies of smaller dynamic parties - the Progressives, the CCF/NDP, the Reform party and now the Greens.

    This may have positive long term political ramifications for the Liberals if it can throttle the Greens in their cradle (something Elizabeth May wouldn't mind - is it too much to ask of a party leader that they... you know... support their own party?).

    At the same time, the way this issue is framed ("pro-green shift" = love the environment) drives a wedge into the NDP. The NDP opposition may be interpreted by some to reflect an anti-green stance (although the NDP cap-and-trade would have a similar effect to a $35 carbon tax - which they anticipate will raise far less than 15 billion in auctions - is nearly as stringent as the green tax shift). And the NDP lacks the resources to clarify, and point out that they are the only party addressing the dislocations of the green shift.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 8:59 AM  

  • Iggy was the one who got the ball rolling on this during leadership, and Rae wrote the platform so, whether they like it or not, they're tied to the policy and I'd expect them to be selling it hard.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:52 AM  

  • "Iggy was the one who got the ball rolling on this during leadership, and Rae wrote the platform so, whether they like it or not, they're tied to the policy and I'd expect them to be selling it hard."

    Well, if Rae wrote the policy then I feel much better about it already.

    By Anonymous Forgetful Ontarian, at 3:29 PM  

  • cg, Iggy and Rae want the carbon tax to galvanize the left, while at the same time, losing Dion the next election (but holding the Conservatives to a minority). That way they get to campaign with an essentially compliant left (where the Green Party is a non-entity, and the NDP is weakened), that will allow them to drive to the center. Plus, young people are cuckoo for coco puffs over environmentalism, so demographics are on their side (and the millennial generation - of which I am not sure if I am a member - actually votes unlike its cynical predecessors).

    At the same time it gives the Liberals an activist base that they were clearly lacking, such that they can ease their fundraising gap. Dion saw how Obama tapped youth, and would like to do the same.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 4:08 PM  

  • Well, if Rae wrote the policy then I feel much better about it already.
    -- Forgetful Ontarian

    Ha! Nicely done. :)

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 9:42 PM  

  • The Invisible Hand said...

    Well, if Rae wrote the policy then I feel much better about it already.
    -- Forgetful Ontarian

    "Ha! Nicely done. :)"

    Yeah we should all consider ourselves lucky that our current government is filled with ministers who have little or no actual governing experience good or bad... it's like winning the lottery really.

    By Blogger MERBOY, at 10:53 PM  

  • Yes, if only the Liberals would Rule Canada Forever, so we wouldn't have that problem...

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 10:00 PM  

  • The Invisible Hand said...

    "Yes, if only the Liberals would Rule Canada Forever, so we wouldn't have that problem..."

    If the Conservative party was more centrist they probably would have attracted more candidates who served in previous federal and provincial PC governments... not to mention they would probably have a majority government right now.

    By Blogger MERBOY, at 10:07 PM  

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