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In split decision, Supreme Court says the federal carbon price is constitutional

LittleBlackDevil

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I am strongly opposed to carbon taxes ...

But from what I remember of Constitutional Law in law school, Brihard is correct. I can't really argue with the SCC's decision.
 

Brad Sallows

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Why take it if it's just going to be given back? That seems like unnecessary work.

The idea is to change behaviour - to encourage people to spend less on carbon-intensive things without penalizing people financially.

Suppose Joe and Jim each spend $300 per year on natural gas for home heating (cost of fuel), and that a carbon tax is introduced at a 50%* rate so the cost to each becomes $450.

Joe keeps the thermostat where it is, at the end of the year gets a $150 rebate, and breaks even relative to the original $300 cost.

Jim lowers the thermostat by a couple of degrees and reduces his cost of fuel and tax to $400, at the end of year gets a $150 rebate, and comes out ahead by $50, which makes a small dent in the cost of the extra nose-and-throat misery mitigation compounds consumed by the family during the winter. (He also puts a brick in his toilet cistern to reduce water per flush, helps conserve water, and pays $150 for a Roto-Rooter service call to deal with the stoppage in the pipes of his old, designed-for-5-gallon-flush, plumbing.)

Of course it's more complicated than that. The first entities to feel the tax are corporations and businesses, which have a choice between passing the extra cost along (higher prices) or taking measures to reduce fuel consumption in order to reduce the tax burden and hold prices where they are. They don't get rebates, so they are forced to deal with the pressures of the marketplace (competition between those willing to try pass-along and those willing to seek a price advantage). They could also choose to pinch employee compensation, cut dividends, re-invest less capital, etc. We can be sure that whatever it is the mandarins seek to achieve is not the only possible outcome (consequences, unforeseen and sometimes unwanted or undesirable).

*From one Terasen bill in BC: Cost of gas $41.73, carbon tax $21.45.
 

Halifax Tar

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Considering most Chinese goods are made with carbon heavy electricity (coal) I saw we help the environment by levying taxes on Chinese Goods coming into the country.
Can Norinco be exempt ? I'm a sucker for their garbage guns and ammo ;)
 

Brad Sallows

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Hence my customary derision towards people who favour CO2 mitigation but work strenuously to avoid getting natural gas to tidewater and thence to Asia.
 

RangerRay

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Intellectually I get the case for the carbon tax as a market-based mitigation tool. Oddly, I take a Marxist view of it as something that penalizes lower income earners
than the middle and upper classes.

People in lower income brackets tend to own older, less energy efficient vehicles, furnaces and appliances. Those not in the larger urban centres don’t have access to public transit and possibly have older pick-ups that they need for work. Already, they find it economically difficult to pay for the energy they need and to upgrade to more efficient conveyances. Now with a carbon tax, they will be paying more tax for the energy for their old energy guzzlers, with even less money left to save for more efficient replacements. Even with the rebates, lower income people will have a tough time buying more efficient cars, furnaces and appliances.

Even as someone squarely in the middle, there is no way I can afford an EV or hybrid that is practical for my needs.
 

kev994

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Intellectually I get the case for the carbon tax as a market-based mitigation tool. Oddly, I take a Marxist view of it as something that penalizes lower income earners
than the middle and upper classes.

People in lower income brackets tend to own older, less energy efficient vehicles, furnaces and appliances. Those not in the larger urban centres don’t have access to public transit and possibly have older pick-ups that they need for work. Already, they find it economically difficult to pay for the energy they need and to upgrade to more efficient conveyances. Now with a carbon tax, they will be paying more tax for the energy for their old energy guzzlers, with even less money left to save for more efficient replacements. Even with the rebates, lower income people will have a tough time buying more efficient cars, furnaces and appliances.

Even as someone squarely in the middle, there is no way I can afford an EV or hybrid that is practical for my needs.
Manitoba (or rather the Feds on their behalf) has accounted a bit for the lack out transportation alternatives in rural areas, anyone living outside Winnipeg gets a larger refund than those living inside the city.
 

Altair

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Manitoba (or rather the Feds on their behalf) has accounted a bit for the lack out transportation alternatives in rural areas, anyone living outside Winnipeg gets a larger refund than those living inside the city.
It's almost like they tried to be fair about it while trying to influence behavior.

But to hear a certain party talk about it you would never know.

Although, to his credit, Jason Kenny did say the federal carbon tax was better than the made in Alberta NDP carbon tax because it went to consumers instead of going to green energy projects in Alberta. The first and likely last nice thing he will ever say about it most likely.
 

FJAG

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Does anyone else think that putting a tax on producers who merely pass it on to consumers who get the money back more or less through rebates and programs will influence absolutely no one but merely create one more department of civil servants to administer the program?

🍻
 

Good2Golf

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Does anyone else think that putting a tax on producers who merely pass it on to consumers who get the money back more or less through rebates and programs will influence absolutely no one but merely create one more department of civil servants to administer the program?

🍻
🤔

You don’t follow the Global Virtue Signaling League, do you?
 

Brad Sallows

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It might achieve some of what is intended.

The fundamental problem is that mitigation sucks up money that used to be spent on other things. Mitigation is good, but it isn't free.
 

Eaglelord17

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If they actually cared about the environment the first thing they would do is put heavy tariffs/ban the importation of any product not made to a similar environmental standard as what would be required to manufacture said product in Canada. How does it make sense that we have all these restrictions in Canada, yet allow products that would be illegal to manufacture in Canada the way they are elsewhere into the country?

It is pretending to do something well in reality creating more emissions as the same goods need to be made, just now less and less of them are being made in countries with stringent controls. It is farming out the emissions/pollution to other countries and pretending that we have reduced our emissions despite using their products, shipped across the world on monstrous containerships (which up to last year was burning enough fuel for about 1 billion vehicles on the road per year, on top of the fact they were burning the worst of the worst fuels, bunker fuel). This is a global issue, pretending to reduce our emissions locally yet doing things that increase them globally isn't solving anything and realistically is just making things worse.

Pretending this rebate is here to stay is laughable. Every time the government creates a new tax they start with a 'rebate'. Over the course of several years they always slowly decrease it until your paying for all of it but the anger has subsided.

This is about pretending to do something because it is easier to pretend than actually do what needs to be done, and taxing Canadians more. I am all for environmental controls, but this isn't one of them.
 

Altair

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Pretending this rebate is here to stay is laughable. Every time the government creates a new tax they start with a 'rebate'. Over the course of several years they always slowly decrease it until your paying for all of it but the anger has subsided.
Cross that bridge when we get to it.

So far it is here, which makes most talk about how it's gouging the consumer a bit disingenuous.
 

RangerRay

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When the BC Liberals brought in the carbon tax, I had the same concerns as I do now. At least then, they made the tax revenue neutral (income taxes were reduced as carbon tax revenues increased). Then when the NDP came to power, they stopped making it revenue neutral, putting all revenues into “green initiatives”, a slush fund for whatever politicians want to spend that has the veneer of being “green.
 

Altair

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When the BC Liberals brought in the carbon tax, I had the same concerns as I do now. At least then, they made the tax revenue neutral (income taxes were reduced as carbon tax revenues increased). Then when the NDP came to power, they stopped making it revenue neutral, putting all revenues into “green initiatives”, a slush fund for whatever politicians want to spend that has the veneer of being “green.
The liberals have always been the centralist party.

NDP in BC and Alberta, non revenue neutral carbon tax.

Liberals in BC and Federally, revenue neutral carbon tax.

Conservatives in large part, no carbon tax.

The good news here being that the NDP has never won at the federal level. The bad news here being that if the NDP wins at the provincial level they will likely put in their own version of the carbon tax that would not be revenue neutral.
 

FJAG

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I've been following the comments and see that most of them deal with the regional differences and the various parties' approach to climate change.

My concern is more constitutional and I'm very much on board with the minority opinions of Côté, Brown and Rowe.

Like Côté, I believe that the legislation in itself is bad as it provides an unfettered power in the governor in council to vary the law in ways that would ordinarily require a return to parliament for legislative approval. These ways are far beyond the ordinary delegations that parliament gives to agencies through regulation making powers.

Over and above that I agree with Brown and Rowe, that there is a clear division of authority as between the federal and provincial governments as to the subject matter of regulating an industry within a province falls clearly and unquestionably within the domain of the provinces. That was accepted by all the judges, but the majority fell back on the catch-all "peace, order and good government" provisions of the Constitution in order to give the Feds an overriding power. IMHO the issue is not one of such "national concern" that the POGG provisions should be attracted. One doesn't have to be a climate change denier to see that whatever actions the provincial or federal governments take, in the big picture, such actions are but a drop in the bucket when one considers the size of Canada and its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions in respect to the rest of the world's outputs.

The majority, in this case, have greatly extended the circumstances (which have been narrowly allowed by numerous court rulings in the past) within which the Feds will be granted POGG powers to override provincial authority. This should be a concern to all of us who consider this country a confederation of provinces rather than a monolith central power.

🍻
 

Altair

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I've been following the comments and see that most of them deal with the regional differences and the various parties' approach to climate change.

My concern is more constitutional and I'm very much on board with the minority opinions of Côté, Brown and Rowe.

Like Côté, I believe that the legislation in itself is bad as it provides an unfettered power in the governor in council to vary the law in ways that would ordinarily require a return to parliament for legislative approval. These ways are far beyond the ordinary delegations that parliament gives to agencies through regulation making powers.

Over and above that I agree with Brown and Rowe, that there is a clear division of authority as between the federal and provincial governments as to the subject matter of regulating an industry within a province falls clearly and unquestionably within the domain of the provinces. That was accepted by all the judges, but the majority fell back on the catch-all "peace, order and good government" provisions of the Constitution in order to give the Feds an overriding power. IMHO the issue is not one of such "national concern" that the POGG provisions should be attracted. One doesn't have to be a climate change denier to see that whatever actions the provincial or federal governments take, in the big picture, such actions are but a drop in the bucket when one considers the size of Canada and its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions in respect to the rest of the world's outputs.

The majority, in this case, have greatly extended the circumstances (which have been narrowly allowed by numerous court rulings in the past) within which the Feds will be granted POGG powers to override provincial authority. This should be a concern to all of us who consider this country a confederation of provinces rather than a monolith central power.

🍻
Ah, but that is where you are blurring the lines.

The red portion is not about the constitutionality of a carbon tax, but the effectiveness, which the court was not out to judge.

If climate change is a national problem, can a national strategy be put in place that enters provincial jurisdiction was the question put before the court. Not whether or not it is the right strategy.
 
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