Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

‘Validators’ endorse Liberals’ tax bill even before public sees it

with 3 comments

Vaughan Palmer is getting a bit annoyed about the Liberal legislative process – or rather that he got some press releases from interest groups about the Carbon Tax Bill before it got to the house. Now it happened that one of my pieces yesterday was about this same issue and positive, but I want to assure you that I was not being lined up by Campbell’s spin doctors. It was conincidence. But it was driven by my irritation at the rural and northern mayors who “believe what is consistent with their self-interest, not with the evidence.” Nic Rivers has been doing some research which shows that people who live in small towns in the interior tend to commute shorter distances than those who live in the Lower Mainland. Which is really no surprise at all.

Currently the carbon tax is in for a round of mock indignation and parliamentary show boating. Debates in the leg are not about making the Act better, or discussing issues in the hopes of finding solutions. It is for sound bites and bits in the constituency newsletters. Vaughan Plamer is right to be irritated by the process, but that is how he makes his living. I am certain that more people read his column than read Hansard or watch the leg on tv. And the nitty gritty of parliamentary procedures and details of sub section 95 paragraph 1 c are not exactly gripping stuff.

The Liberal’s Bill is a small start. It is far from perfect of course. But we have to start somewhere. For one thing climate change is producing a shortage of hops. But someone is going to have to tackle the fact that as things stand our school boards are going to be giving back to the province money that should be going to educate our children but will instead be spent on carbon tax. Expect howls from the colleges, universities and hospitals too. And, of course, in a monument to bureaucracy that only Carole Taylor could be proud of, transit will also be hit by both higher fuel costs and carbon taxes, as well as loss of revenue as gas sales fall, at the very time when transit service is more desperately needed than ever.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 29, 2008 at 10:53 am

3 Responses

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  1. I just have this ‘gut’ feeling that Campbell’s carbon tax is in reality a SkyTrain tax, to fund SkyTrain or metro expansion. Campbell has got himself in a jam building with the very expensive SkyTrain and now needs the tax funds to pay for $125 million/km to $250 million/km. or more SkyTrain lines.

    Calling the carbon tax a SkyTrain tax is a no go, but calling a SkyTrain tax a carbon tax, well that’s a different kettle of fish, everyone jumps on the band waggon.

    Malcolm J

    April 29, 2008 at 11:15 am

  2. It is more than just SkyTrain, Malcolm. The credit crunch means that many of their favourite P3s are no longer fundable. The right has always favoured expenditure taxes over income taxes – because they hurt the rich less. And anyway its all “revenue neutral” – so that’s all right isn’t it? 😉

    Stephen Rees

    April 29, 2008 at 11:30 am

  3. The editorial fails to mention that part of the shortage of hops is due to ethanol subsidies in the U.S.


    April 29, 2008 at 12:03 pm

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