by Rex Murphy
Everyone to their cost knows Canada has been more or less shut down for over two months. Hardly any part of business or industry has been spared.
I read somewhere that the talismanic barometer so beloved by the Greens — our so-called “carbon emissions” — is expected to be down by eight percent globally this year.
It sounds right. Countries idle. Less energy burned. Less CO2.
What then was the logic in the midst of the pandemic, when almost all the motors that drive industry in Canada were virtually turned off, for the government to hike its so-called carbon tax?
Oil prices were already at rock bottom thanks to the Russia-Saudi Arabia forced glut, gasoline cheaper than any time since Noah got off the Ark and started the first motorboat. So from the point of view of revenue collection, the timing was certainly off.
Regardless, with so many people out of work and with personal budgets strained, more than a million jobs disappearing but still rents to be paid and bills to be met, it was not a time to raise a tax.
And recall there were still some “essential services” — farming and trucking to name the two most obvious — that would require energy, fuels, to provide the rest of us with necessities like food.
The government in every other way was throwing billions of dollars out the Cottage door, but it still wanted to ping Canadians with the global-warming tax.
What was it thinking? Perhaps it was on the advice of its best astrologers that it selected April 1st, that being an auspicious day, to make the bizarre announcement.
Still, the announcement itself, as I shall demonstrate, contributed more fog than daylight to the prime minister’s decision to go ahead with it.
Justin Trudeau: “Our plan on pricing pollution puts more money upfront into people’s pockets than they would pay with the new price on pollution. We’re going to continue to focus on putting more money in people’s pockets to support them right across the country.”
Give that a read. Now please explain what the first sentence can possibly mean. Let’s take it apart. Pricing pollution? What does that mean?
Well, we know what “pricing” means. In Trudeau-speak, pricing means “to put a tax on, to make more expensive, to enlarge the cost of any and all industrial activity that uses oil or gas as its necessary energy.”
And now “pollution.” We all know what pollution is. It’s sewage dumped into lake and harbor, poisonous chemicals sluiced into pristine streams, mounds of rotting garbage on any city outskirts. We are, alas, familiar with pollution.
But is carbon dioxide, part of our life-giving air, a pollutant? Well, if Mr. Trudeau says he’s “pricing pollution” and if it’s carbon dioxide he’s pricing, then Q.E.D., it’s a pollutant. Probably right up there with that other hell gas, oxygen.
The rest of us, however, are open to the question: when did life-animating carbon dioxide, without which there would not be a green tree on the planet, not a blade of grass, not a flower with its blossoms or bee to visit it, join ranks with industrial effluents, garbage, and human excrement?
CO2 is the very Santa Claus of gases, it puts the green in our green planet. I’ll bet you didn’t know this: when roses hear carbon-dioxide is wafting by, they smile and blush and lay on the perfume.
Thus, when Trudeau talks of “taxing pollution” in his peculiar vocabulary, meaning carbon dioxide, he is not only mangling language, he is maligning one of nature’s most beneficent miracles.
If carbon dioxide was a person, it would sue him for misrepresentation.
Now let us get back to the first sentence as a whole:
“Our plan on pricing pollution puts more money upfront into people’s pockets than they would pay with the new price on pollution.”
I am tempted to offer any reader who can decipher this all the Canadian Tire money I have in the home safe. And all the Air Miles, now that the planes are not flying, I have collected at Sobeys.
Does it say anything, does it bump into coherence, even by chance, at any point? Is this some form of code?
He goes on. “We’re going to continue to focus on putting more money in people’s pockets to support them right across the country.”
And how do you keep “putting money in people’s pockets” by imposing a tax hike on those people?
A tax — here’s an insight — takes money out of people’s pockets. It cannot be passed back to them in a greater amount than it takes out, or it is a subsidy.
If that was the way taxes worked, that you got more back than you paid in, well, in the words of the world’s most illustrious economist — “Hit me baby, one more time.”
The logic, rather the illogic, of the announcement was at one with the utter illogic of the ill-named carbon tax itself.
Why during a period that is witnessing a historic downturn in almost every sector of the economy, does the government of Canada increase a tax on the energy needed for the very few, but absolutely essential services, that keep us going?
An increased tax on those who produce it, and those who have to use it, if our country is to continue to operate during a crisis.
The only answer has to be, that even during this most exceptional of crises, the government will not, for a second, abandon its obsession with the global-warming cause.
It is that same obsession that makes it a condition for large industrial concerns applying for emergency relief “to demonstrate some degree of environmental commitment and vow to report annually on its climate and sustainability initiatives.”
Why is the government’s climate-change agenda being imposed with such rigor, and being made a condition of emergency support, during a crisis? That is a good question. And if we had a Parliament in Canada maybe someone would ask it.
It was folly to hike the tax on fuel six weeks ago. It is a kind of extortion to demand subservience to a climate-change agenda as an entry condition on a decision whether a company will live or die.
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