by Graham Lane
Published by the Winnipeg Sun, November 3, 2017
Well, it finally arrived.
The Pallister Carbon Tax was unveiled last Friday, along with the provincial government’s new “Green Plan.” Some media outlets positioned it as a plucky plan defying Ottawa. A supportive opinion from a so-called “clean energy” group predictably trumpeted that Pallister’s was THE FIRST Conservative government in Canada to introduce a carbon tax in the “battle” to stop climate change.
Premier Pallister’s spin is that his tax on carbon dioxide is better than having a worse one forced upon Manitobans by the Trudeau Government. It duly choreographed its faux displeasure (headline – Ottawa sees red over Manitoba green plan), claiming the tax was “too low.”
But this is a fake fight over a fake problem.
Computer models purporting to link CO2 to warming are full of errors: no basis for self-appointed green planners and lobby groups remaking the economy and taxing everybody to indulge their shaky orthodoxies. Indeed, Ian Plimer, an award-winning Australian geo-scientist, recently remarked that “doctored” climate change models were “a fallacy based on fraud promoted by fools,” being all about enabling politicians to control people’s lives.
The absurdity of all this faux posturing is mind boggling. Green central planning bureaucrats, and duped politicians, trying to “stop” climate change. How? By raising gas taxes and imposing a “climate change” tax on less “politically correct” natural gas heating in a freezing cold province where folks drive long distances?
What happens when Pallister’s tax raises our production costs while our main competitor, Trump’s U.S., is aggressively moving to lower American energy costs by dismantling Obama’s rogue climate change program? Simple answer: the Pallister Carbon Tax (PCT) will discourage investment and new jobs, making everyone poorer. Except, of course, for the thriving, energy-tax funded green planners and special interest groups.
That Pallister signed off on this interventionist policy boondoggle comes as no surprise — for two reasons. He isn’t a conviction politician, certainly not in the traditional conservative government sense of tending towards less government involvement in the economy, more private enterprise and lower taxes. He is simply following a now popular elite orthodoxy that claims raising energy taxes will, somehow, change the weather.
That orthodoxy stems from the second reason — his former campaign manager, the climate change whisperer David McLaughlin. He hails from Ottawa’s green tax and plan “priesthood.” Watch for him to become the CEO of Pallister’s very own green central planning crown corporation – the Orwellian-named Efficiency Manitoba, tasked with doling out assorted eco subsidies and other goodies.
Such green overreach will have electoral consequences.
Jason Kenney’s first priority, as Alberta’s new premier in 2019, will be to end Alberta NDP’s carbon tax. Ontario’s next government will raze Kathleen Wynn’s disastrous energy policies. And, Trudeau’s regime is increasingly at risk for fiscal profligacy, pandering to the diversity and victim industries, and its climate change obsession.
Here, Pallister’s rewarmed NDP-style “Green Plan” will bring a backlash from his business and rural voting base. As one rural pundit said: “I now understand where Steven Fletcher is coming from. While the NDP treated us like tenants of rural lands, this PC document reduces us to being serfs serving the needs of our urban betters.”
Time for another party?
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