Tag Archives: Green Shift

John McCallum: Tory emissions plan is all pain, no gain


With all the apocalyptic warnings coming from Conservative MPs about the Liberal Green Shift plan, it is eerie how silent they have been about their own plan — especially the part of their plan that will raise energy prices for Canadians.

The Conservative government’s greenhouse gas reduction strategy is included in their document, Turning the Corner. When it comes to energy prices here’s what Turning the Corner has to say: “Our modelling suggests that Canadians can expect to bear real costs under the Regulatory Framework. For the majority of individual Canadians … these costs will be most evident in the form of higher energy prices, particularly with respect to electricity and natural gas.”

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Liberal Party of Canada – Carbon Tax Plan


By Mike Moffatt, About.com
For a plan put together for political, rather than environmental or economic purposes it is rather strong. Overly timid and chooses progressivity over efficiency, but a solid plan nonetheless.

Basics of the Liberal Carbon Tax Plan

The Liberal plan is relatively straight-forward – a $40/tonne on carbon dioxide emissions, phased in over a 4 year period. This tax would replace a number of existing excise taxes on carbon based fuels. Since the existing federal gasoline tax is equivalent to the rate 42 dollars/tonne of carbon, gasoline taxes are not unchanged with this new tax.

Once fully implemented the carbon tax is expected to bring in 15 billion dollars. With this revenue, the Liberal plan is to reduce other taxes by 9 billion. The plan is to reduce both corporate tax rates (1 percent for both the regular and small business rates) and income tax rates (a 1 1/2 percent reduction in the lowest tax bracket, 1 percent reduction in each of the middle two tax brackets and no change to the top tax bracket).

The remaining 6 billion dollars is allocated to a grab-bag of tax rebates, largely aimed at low income families with children.

Strengths of the Liberal Carbon Tax Plan

There are a number of things to like about the Liberal plan.

  • The plan is revenue neutral, if one considers tax rebates equivalent to tax cuts. Even if you take the view that a tax rebate is a spending program in disguise (which I do), 60 percent of the revenue from the carbon tax is still allocated to tax cuts.
  • The two types of taxes being cut, corporate income taxes and income taxes are two of the most damaging taxes to the economy. Cutting these two taxes should largely offset the economic damage caused by the carbon tax.
  • Since this tax replaces a number of existing taxes, it may be possible to keep the administrative and enforcement costs of the tax relatively low.
  • The progressive nature of the plan and the fact that almost all of the benefits go to consumers (whereas much of the carbon tax will be paid by businesses) may make the idea of a carbon tax easier to swallow for consumers. Particularly if they realize that in the short-run the plan acts as a transfer of wealth from businesses to consumers.

Weaknesses of the Liberal Carbon Tax Plan

The plan is relatively timid – a higher carbon tax rate would allow for more dramatic cuts to corporate tax rates. The three most damaging marginal tax rates – the small business corporate rate, the regular corporate rate and the highest marginal income tax rate receive the smallest rate cuts (in the case of the top income tax bracket, it sees no cut at all). That, along with the tax rebates make the plan more economically damaging than it could have been.

Final Thoughts

It is far from an optimal plan, but as a plan designed to help win an election, it still contains a great deal of economic benefits.

Undemocratic Canada? Parties excluded and FPNP Challange the Democratic Process


Response letter to CTV New cast Sept 11th, 2008 Re: “Fringe parties excluded”

Canada

Canada

Dr. David Suzuki spoke on Canada AM Thrusday morning September 11th, to promote his new book on the enviroment. He was asked about the Green party leader, Elizabeth May, and her participating in the leader’s debate. To paraphrase Mr. Suzuki he stated that GREEN values should be integral in all political parties, and because it is not, we need the Green Party. With the Green Party included in the debates the environment will definitely be an issue during the leaders’s debate.

The First Peoples National Party (FPNP), Canada’s newest offical and federal party is also excluded from the debate. The FPNP ran 5 candidates in the last election with more votes collectly then most of the other small parties. When these small official federal parties are labled “Fringe” parties by the media and excluded from the debate where is the democracy?

Canada’s First Peoples are the only ethnic group governed separately then the rest of the Canadians and under the responsibility of the federal government. Therefore, the First Peoples are Canada’s unifying element. The Bloc Quebecois on the other hand are a non-federalist political party with a goal to separate from Canada. They will be included in this debate.

Canada’s First Peoples are not part of the political system and is the reason why the First Peoples National Party (FPNP) was formed. Any country that excludes its indigenous peoples from its political system is a colonial society.

Inspired and formed by Canada’s First Peoples the FPNP is the only party that can be truly called a National Federal Party yet we are left out of this national debate. The First Peoples values of inclusion is the reason why Canada exists today. It is this value of inclusion that guides the FPNP and our policies.

Just as Mr. Suzuki suggested of the Green Party, the FPNP has the MORAL RIGHT to be included in the national leader’s debate. Only then would the centuries old injustices be addressed and healing for all Canadians can begin.

The First Peoples National Party is putting people first, giving voice to all people. No other federal party can say that. Until those voices are heard by all Canadians we don’t live in a democracy.

Will Morin
Eastern Director FPNP
Offical FPNP Candidate, Sudbury, Ontario
1-705-561-8004, toll free: 1-877-248-4133
email: willpower@ontera.net
http://www.fpnpoc.ca

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Will Canada’s oil boom be an environmental bust? The new global wasteland?


Alberta the new oil wasteland

Alberta the new oil wasteland

FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta (AP) — The largest dump truck in the world is parked under a massive mechanical shovel waiting to transport 400 tons of oily sand at an open pit mine in the northern reaches of Alberta. Each Caterpillar 797B heavy hauler — three-stories high, with tires twice as tall as the average man — carries the equivalent of 200 barrels.

Shell, which has 35 of the massive loaders working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, has ordered 16 more — at $5 million each — as it expands its open pit mines. And it is not alone among major oil companies rushing to exploit Alberta’s oil sands, which make Canada one of the few countries that can significantly ramp up oil production amid the decline in conventional reserves.

Shell, Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Canada’s Imperial and other companies plan to strip an area here the size of New York state that could yield as much as 175 billion barrels of oil. Daily production of 1.2 million barrels from the oil sands is expected to nearly triple to 3.5 million barrels in 2020. Overall, Alberta has more oil than Venezuela, Russia or Iran. Only Saudi Arabia has more.

High prices — a barrel reached almost $150 last month and is around $115 now — are fueling the province’s oil boom. Since it’s costly to extract oil from the sands, using the process on a widespread basis began to make sense only when crude prices started skyrocketing earlier this century.

But the enormous amount of energy and water needed in the extraction process has raised fears among scientists, environmentalists and officials in an aboriginal town 170 miles downstream from Fort McMurray. The critics say the growing operations by major oil companies will increase greenhouse gas emissions and threaten Alberta’s rivers and forests.

“Their projected rates of expansion are so fast that we don’t have a hope in hell of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Dr. David Schindler, an environmental scientist at the University of Alberta.

Oil sands operations, including extraction and processing, are responsible for 4 percent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, and that’s expected to triple to 12 percent by 2020. Oil sand mining is Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gases and is one reason it reneged on its Kyoto Protocol commitments. Experts say producing a barrel of oil from sands results in emissions three times greater than a conventional barrel of oil.

Worries about environmental damage have gotten enough attention that even the oil industry realizes it must tread softly on the issue. “Industry has to improve its environmental performance,” Brian Maynard, a vice president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said recently.

Questions about developing Alberta’s oil sands have seeped into the U.S. presidential campaign and the debate in Canada and the U.S. over keeping down the price of gasoline while still protecting the environment.

The Bush administration sees Alberta as a reliable source of energy that will help reduce reliance on Middle East oil. U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins said the oil sands will define the relationship between the two countries for the next 10 years.

“We are blessed by the fact that our friend and neighbor is also our number one supplier of foreign oil,” Wilkins told The Associated Press.

However, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s top energy adviser said oil sands emissions are “unacceptably high” and may run counter to Obama’s plan to shift the U.S. away from carbon-intensive fossil fuels.

“The amount of energy that you have to use to get that oil out of the ground is such that it actually creates a much greater impact on climate change, as well as using much more energy than even traditional petroleum,” Obama adviser Jason Grumet said.

Mining oil sands also was criticized by American mayors in a resolution adopted at their annual conference in June urging a ban on using oil sands-derived gasoline in municipal vehicles. They alleged the oil sands mines damage Canada’s boreal forest — boreal refers to the earth’s northern zone — and slows the transition to cleaner energy sources in the U.S.

John Baird, Canada’s environment minister, warned that Washington would lose energy security if it doesn’t take Alberta’s oil.

“If American mayors want to send their money to unstable, undemocratic countries in the Middle East instead of to Canada, that will be their call. If they want to pay a premium for Iranian, Saudi, Iraqi oil that will be their call,” Baird told the AP.

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Why the Conservatives and the PM need an election now to save themselves.


Elections for Canada - October 2008

Elections for Canada - October 2008

Some high profile Conservatives are not seeking re-election. Do they see the title wave coming? Are they afraid? The real reason the federal Conservatives are calling for an election now is that they really do not have a choice. What do I mean by that? Let’s make just a few points.

  1. The longer they wait, the better chance they will loose even more seats next year, pending the coming downturn in the economy. In case your head is stuck in the sand somewhere, the economy is not doing well.

  2. The numbers for the Conservatives are still strong in Quebec and they have a chance to grab some seats in Ontario. The election may affect the Liberals more than the Conservatives.

  3. The Honourable Stéphane Dion polling numbers are not strong. However, that is slowly changing and they need to go to the polls now, rather than later. The longer they wait, the more “sympathy” for Dion. I believe that the Conservatives will stay away from poking fun at Dion, because this stragedy does not help. They will will HAVE TO focus on making the PM more personal to win.

  4. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is betting that their low-profile governance will help them at the polls. To be honest, there is not much news and “substance” to go on. People tend to figure, if it is not broken why fix it, to be frank.

  5. The overall view is, when the economy is in a downturn, you need a “fiscally conservative” approach. That is a perception that has not changed much. This is probably what did in the government of Bob Rae in Ontario, leading to the extreme right in the Harris “common sense revolution. Again, I have already said it, but the PM does not want to have the stain of being the government that caused a ressession. Even though it would not be true, it does not really matter. Its all about perception.

  6. The western provinces are doing well, so “milk it while we have a chance to”, because the Greens are coming!

  7. The George Bush factor! Need I say more, as November approaches? If people believe that they have become a bit too “neo-conservative”, than the Conservatives are in trouble, especially in Ontario and Quebec. So go now while we are “a sleep at the wheel”.

  8. The PM needs an election fast, before the historic election in the U.S. It is a fact the a huge amount of Canadian’s are watching the American election. No matter what you think the Conservatives “DO NOT” want to be caught in the “change title wave” that is approaching. If they do, they will basically drown in the possible Obama factor, no matter what side of the fence you are on.

The fact is the only point the Conservatives are riding is the fact that they can say “the Green Shift is not a prudent policy for the coming economic downturn”. While, offering no option of their own, they are “fear mongering” people into thinking that this is all about raising taxes. This is a dangerous gamble, seeing that people list the environment as an important factor, despite economics. Now make no assumption, I am not a Liberal member. To be honest, if there was a viable Libertarian Party I would go down that route (albeit I do like the Greens a bit). But that is besides the fact! There is a burning ship in parliament, and the Conservatives are doing what ANY party would attempt to do. Get a few more years and hope, you can ride the possible recession out. Maybe even a possible Liberal, NDP leadership review and like magic call another election. We will probably see another Conservative minority. Who really knows? This election may end up hurting the Liberals, more than the Conservatives and the NDP or Green Party may make substantial strides in politics this time around. The question is, at who’s expense? What will happen if Canadian’s want change? Can any leader capitalize on this? Or is this a bit of Russian roulette? I welcome your comments!

By Andy MJ
a.k.a the G.T.A Patriot