This Magazine Staff
The Liberal and the Green party share at least one thing in common this election: they both have carbon-tax plans. The specifics, of reducing income taxes and increasing taxes on fuel and other carbon emitters, are almost exactly alike. Well, except for Elizabeth May’s superior presentation. Speaking of Stephane Dion, she says: “I can explain it better than he can.”
But we should not forget that carbon-taxes have been implemented before, primarily in European countries. And we would do well to survey the various incarnations of this globe-trotting plan; forming an evaulation of the Liberal/Green proposal(s) in this light.
So, to begin, Finland started this eco-conscious trend in 1990 with its carbon-tax plan. As of January 2008, Finland has increased its tax by about 9.8% and exempted taxes on biofuel. In the UK, after including a Fuel Price Escalator, by which the tax would gradually, but inexorably, increase, there were public revolts. People were simply paying too much. The increases have since ended. British Columbia already has a carbon-tax plan and Stephane Dion, for one, has stated he would not exempt it from his national plan: effectively taxing its residents twice.
Questions also arise concerning how efficient carbon-taxes are, assuming people can even afford them. Is it true they require heavy government subsidies? How does it remain a self-sustaining way of taxing the bad things in our environment if these subsidies must be made?
I for one believe our environmental problems can be solved, in part at least, through economic means. The carrot and stick of economic incentives are quite persuasive. I just wonder if our national leaders have found the precise way of getting us on the right track.