Manitobans don’t want a carbon tax

By -- Todd MacKay – CTF Prairie Director —— Bio and Archives--January 3, 2018

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Manitobans don't want a carbon tax
An Insightrix survey asked 603 Manitobans a simple question during December: Do you support or oppose a carbon tax in Manitoba? Fifty per cent oppose a carbon tax while 31 per cent support it and 19 per cent are unsure.

Here’s the reason for that opposition. A carbon tax will cost Manitobans $260 million per year, but there’s no evidence it will stop global climate change. In fact, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation analysed Manitoba’s performance on indicators cited in the province’s Climate and Green Plan. The numbers show that even without a carbon tax, Manitoba is already outperforming the nation generally and even British Columbia with its carbon tax.

Unfortunately, the province is unswayed by facts.

“While CTF goes to great lengths to conclude our province is already a clean energy leader, this report continues to dismiss the reality that the federal government can impose its carbon pricing plan,” Sustainable Minister Rochelle Squires told the Winnipeg Sun.

It’s notable the province didn’t contest the numbers in the report.

More importantly, other provinces are increasingly dismissive of the federal government’s threats.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is leading the charge against a carbon tax. He’s stepping down, but all five candidates campaigning to replace him are committed to continuing the fight. Gord Wyant is one of those candidates and the CTF asked him how confident he is that Saskatchewan can beat the feds in court.

“I have a constitutional law background,” said Gord Wyant, who formerly served as Saskatchewan’s attorney general. “The precedents that have been set in terms of interpreting the constitution puts us in a pretty good place.”

Wyant is more than a lawyer with constitutional expertise, he also carried a federal Liberal membership card for decades.

Liberals in New Brunswick are also undaunted by federal threats.

“The goal is not to ask more from taxpayers,” said Environment and Local Government Minister Serge Rousselle when that province unveiled its climate change plan.

New Brunswick’s Liberal government is simply re-naming 2.33 cents per litre of its existing gas tax as a carbon tax and dedicating it to green initiatives. In effect, New Brunswick is saying no to new a carbon tax.

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna panned the plan because it wouldn’t send the “price signal” she deems necessary in a carbon tax scheme, but New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant isn’t backing down.

“We will stand up to somebody that would say that we’re not fulfilling our requirements,” said Gallant in response.

New Brunswick already has highest provincial fuel excise tax in the country. Minister McKenna doesn’t care how high the price at the pump actually is—she just wants a carbon tax to make it higher. It’s an absurd position she’s not in any hurry to defend as she has now delayed any threats of federal enforcement until the end of 2018.

That delay is part of a pattern. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared the last election would be the last one fought under the first-past-the-post system, but utterly abandoned elector reform. Finance Minister Bill Morneau tried to hike taxes on small businesses, but reversed course in the face of a withering backlash. Now Minister McKenna is delaying her carbon tax deadline.

There’s another number in the Insightrix poll that government MLAs should consider carefully. A whopping 76 per cent of Manitobans who plan to vote Progressive Conservatives in the next election oppose a carbon tax. MLAs can lose their jobs in two ways: they can lose elections; or, they can lose their nominations if they break faith with their base. That 76 per cent number shows that second risk is very real.

Ottawa is giving Manitoba government the gift of another year to carefully consider its position on carbon taxes. The Pallister government should take that year. It needs to reconnect with a simple fact: Manitobans don’t want a carbon tax.

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Canadian Taxpayers Federation -- Todd MacKay – CTF Prairie Director -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Canadian Taxpayers Federation

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