Conservative leader Stephen Harper, in a brazen example of unexpected hyperbole, has played the National Unity card, claiming that Liberal leader Stephan Dion's carbon tax plan will threaten nation unity. He says that "by undermining the economy and by re-centralizing money and power in Ottawa, it can only undermine the progress we have been making on national unity."
Even if Harper is right, hating Ottawa can only bring the the rest of the country closer together.
But seriously, what Harper never discusses is how much the economy will be undermined if we do nothing about climate change, which seems to be Harper's idea. How much of an economy will we have when there's 1,000,000 refugees from Vancouver because their expensive condos are under a rising sea?
And in an unexpected case of politics making strange bedfellows, NDP leader Jack Layton joined Harper in blasting Dion's plan. This is twice this week that Layton had been on the same side of an issue as Harper, the first being the question of whether the Green Party should take part in the televised debates. Layton sided with Harper to not allow the Greens, until the Canadian public reminded Layton that the "D" in NDP stood for Democratic.
Will Dion's plan cause economic havoc? Not according to Matthew Bramley of the sustainable energy think-tank Pembina Institute, who says, "Mr. Harper and Mr. Layton's opposition to carbon taxes is contradicted by leading economics and business organizations who say taxing pollution is a good way to harness market forces to fight global warming. There is no evidence to support Mr. Harper's claim that a modest carbon tax would cause a recession. In fact, Mr. Dion's proposed tax would need to be further increased to enable Canada to meet science-based targets for greenhouse gas reductions."
CTV.ca reports that both Norway and Sweden have had a carbon tax plan since the early 1990s, and according to an April 29, 2008 Guardian article, Sweden cut its overall carbon emissions by nine per cent between 1990 and 2006. Its economy grew by 44 per cent in that period.
CTV also reports that John Williamson of the Canadian Taxpayer's Federation said on CTV Newsnet Thursday that Dion's plan was not truly "revenue neutral."
"This is a fiscal transfer from taxpayers to low income Canadians. That is not the definition of a tax neutral plan."
Yes, god forbid that low income Canadians should ever benefit from the tax system.
Let's end with this insightful piece describing Harper's blatant "Republican"-styled campaigning and dirty tricks. That crap doesn't play well north of the border. If he keeps it up, he may be in for a surprise in 33 days.