Gonzo chats with Minister Catherine McKenna; Carbon Tax and the Environment

First off, I am not a climate change denier.

In fact, I don’t know anyone who argues that ‘climate change’ isn’t a thing.  Not a person, really.

I consider myself an environmentalist.  I am about as in tune with nature as – almost — anyone I know.

Being from Southern Ontario, we all can recall the days of backyard rinks, which have pretty much gone the way of the milkman and the blacksmith.

It’s even been noticed in Northern and Eastern Ontario, where the climates are typically much colder.

Anymore in the winter, the temps go up and down like a fiddlers arm.

Radical ups and downs.

We have to be a hardy lot around here as it’s not uncommon to see us having to endure a 40 degree temperature swing — inside a 24 hour period.

The data is empirical.

As I recently discussed with Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, it’s more of the ‘what and the why.’ 

This is where the discussion can branch off, and I really don’t think we achieve a damn thing by shaming anyone and calling them ‘flat earthers’ for asking questions on this file.

I believe the Liberal Government has come to this conclusion, and has consciously revamped their message to the minions.

Minister McKenna readily admitted that at this time, it’s fair to say that there’s only a 50-50 buy-in for Canadians as it applies to their ‘price on pollution’ plan.

“We have to do a better job of selling it.”

I doubt you sell any program by calling half the country stupid, although there are those who try, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be coming from Minister McKenna.

There is no question that Justin Trudeau and his Liberal advisers know that this could well become a wedge issue in the fall’s general election.

With that in mind, they are trying to get out in front of it, and you can bet that because of it, you’ll be seeing Catherine McKenna’s ubiquitous visage pretty much everywhere, and everyday right into the fall.

She will be here, there and everywhere to spread the message and SELL this PLAN!

Here is my discussion with Minister McKenna, on the Liberal Plan to put a ‘price on pollution.’

Listen to FULL interview HERE

Catherine McKenna, who gets called a lot of disparaging names on Twitter, is a person who is easy to have a conversation with.  Other than spinning into the obvious pre-ordained loops of messaging when challenged by a hard question; she has a breezy, approachable air about her.

She’s a new-age politician.  She certainly seems like a ‘people person.’  She easily offers up her natural sense of humor and seems to relish illustrating her pitch with little asides and anecdotes that offer us all a glimpse of the real Catherine.

Adversaries may call her ‘climate barbie,’ but you won’t catch me saying that.

If she wanted to discuss this over a beer, then the answer would be yes.

“I’ve been known to enjoy a beer,” she pipes up.

In fact, she offered to come to talk about this ‘price on pollution’ plan with the guys at my Wednesday night hockey league.

And she was serious about it too!

I envisioned getting hacked and tripped for weeks after that, and quietly let that offer pass.

I guess it’s why the Liberals want McKenna’s energy and effervescence on this file.  They are banking on her to bring it to the people ‘where they are’ and sell it.

Certainly, much of the data aligns for the basis of a great argument; our average global temperature is rising, and many other places have had success with the taxation of emissions (while some others have not).

The weather is about 1*F warmer, over the past 100 years, and that melts ice at the polar caps and raises the temp and the water levels of the oceans.

We’ve been adding about 3mm’s of water per year to ocean and sea levels over the past 20 years.

Warmer water also creates more storms, as we’ve seen, with warmer water and air meeting cold fronts in the Fall and Spring.

The average global temp is sitting at about 15*C right now.

Since 2000, we’ve had most of the hottest years since we starting mapping weather 130 years ago.  And that’s year after year, so that’s a definite trend.

So, why isn’t everyone buying in?

And will shaming Canadians into it actually work?

Back to Minister McKenna trying to sell this program without the Gerald Butt’s-styled shame.

In our efforts to try and save the rest of the world, will we be freezing our seniors and low income home owners out?

Will transportation costs rise to the point where getting groceries puts us in an untenable position where poverty grows?

Let’s not forget, we already have 1 in 7 Canadians living in poverty.  That’s almost 5 million Canadians.  Is making everything more expensive not a concern?

Clearly there’s no dispute about global warming, or at least I hope not, but even our experts are forced to guess about the weather.

We have been wrong about weather even before we started jotting it down and trying to predict it about 130 years ago.

Data gathered from geological core samples tell us that the earth has warmed and cooled many, many times before.  This is why some feel that this is a naturally occurring earthly cycle.

Like it or not, there ARE two sides to this debate with smart people on both sides.

So cause and effect, and how much will this cost us, and what will we be accomplishing?

As I mentioned, I consider myself an environmentalist and have thought long and hard on this for many years.  As a person who’s used solar for over 12 years, I view political policy that only ‘green washes’ the environment as detrimental and counter intuitive in the long-term.

Many believe that the Wynne Government actually set the environment & energy file back in Ontario, with the “Green Energy Plan.”

We chased businesses away.

How long will it take our Province to catch up to that?

Unfortunately, one of the same architects of the “Green Energy Plan” has his finger prints all over the “Price on Pollution Plan” also.

I am speaking of the Prime Minister Trudeau’s now former main strategist Gerald Butts, who recently resigned from the PMO and is now embroiled in a whole new scandal that has rocked the Liberal Party and the Canadian political landscape. (SNC Lavalin)

I am not a fan of Gerald Butts, but I think we’ll be hearing his name a lot over the next little while.

Gerald Butts was one of the masterminds behind turning down cheaper Quebec generated hydro so that they could force-feed Ontarians the aggrieved “Green Enery Plan” which ostensibly plagued Ontario for almost a decade.

I fear he was at it again, and seemed way too comfortable conducting the shamers with divisive tweets and elitism at its finest.

It is widely believed that Gerald Butts over zealousness has actually harmed the environmental first in Ontario and now possibly in Canada.

It is amazing that only one person is serving time after all of those emails were deleted from another scandal known as the “Gas Plant Scandal.”

Count the scandals as we go.

When the Environment Minister uses well placed scare-words (words like flood, tornado and forest-fire) she isn’t accounting for what many consider a natural cycle in weather.

Canada is essentially carbon neutral.  We account for 1.6% of the world’s carbon emissions, and we have 7% – 10% of the world’s trees.  Trees are the earth’s natural air filters and they thrive on CO2.  And because we have laid off of our reliance on coal, we have more trees than we did a century ago.

Smog and pollution is indeed a problem that exists for areas plagued with over-population that still rely on coal.  Methane can also be an issue but these are two problems Canada really doesn’t have, and if we don’t get the main offenders on board then all of this really won’t amount to much.

The Prime Minister has admitted as much himself.

Furthermore, I simply don’t like tax on tax.  Besides all these scandals, I think it’s a scourge and a wonton blight on modern democratic governments.

Now the opposing Science.

Ice core samples show that the earth warmed 110-thousand years ago, 225-thousand years ago, 300-thousand years ago and 400-thousand years ago.

There’s also a theory that there was ‘a medieval warming period’ roughly about 1,000 years ago, followed by a mini-ice age.

In each case temperatures responded by dropping substantially.

The earlier cases didn’t include people of course, and there obviously weren’t any cars or fossil fuels at that time.

Again this data is also backed up by geological, sediment samples.

Now that seems like a long, long time ago, but this earth has been around for a long, long time.

5 Billion years, so it would seem that history would be very important piece of any discussion like this.

So the question remains, if we start paying a ‘price on pollution’ will it improve anything here or around the world?  Will it hurt our economy?  Where’s the Mendoza Line on taxation vs. economic growth?

Why are they suggesting they take the money from us, and give it back?  How will that be managed?  How expensive will that process be and why even do it then?  Why do we put tax on tax?

Currently 4 Canadian Provinces have aligned against it (Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Manitoba).  It may soon be 5 if Alberta joins in after their Provincial Election early this summer.

That’s half the country!  That half-thing again.

Another big thing to consider; China, India, the USA and Russia account for almost 60% of the world’s carbon emissions.  We account for 1.6% with 10% of the world’s trees. Without the worst offenders onboard then we will accomplish next to nothing except to (once again) make things more expensive here in Canada.

We are essentially carbon neutral in Canada and ask yourself; should necessities like heating your home (in our Canadian climate) be taxed AT ALL?

What will it cost?  The Parliamentary Budget Office says it’ll cost Canadians 10 Billion Dollars by 2022.

It doesn’t take a shaman to see that when Governments impose taxes, they aren’t temporary.  They only grow.  And grow they will.  Do you really believe we’ll always be getting anything back?

From the National Post;

In a report to the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, University of Calgary economics professor Jennifer Winter revealed the bottom line of a $50-per-tonne carbon price.

Using energy-consumption data from Statistics Canada, and imputing prices from average household expenditure on transportation fuels and provincial gasoline prices, Winter calculated the impact of a a $50-per-tonne model of a carbon tax on a typical Canadian household across different provinces. Far from being painless as advertised, the costs to households will be significant.

Three provinces — Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia — will be hit with more than $1,000 of carbon tax per year to comply with the $50-per-tonne carbon tax Ottawa has mandated for 2022. Nova Scotia ($1,120) and Alberta ($1,111) will have the highest bills, followed by Saskatchewan ($1,032), New Brunswick ($963), Newfoundland ($859) and Prince Edward Island ($788). The average household in Ontario will pay $707 a year to comply with the carbon tax once it’s fully implemented.

Who gets the lowest bill? British Columbia ($603 per year), Quebec ($662) and Manitoba ($683). Simply put, households in provinces with the lowest bills will pay just a bit more than half compared to households in the hardest-hit provinces.

But it gets worse, since most experts say carbon prices must continue to increase sharply to effectively lower emissions. At $100 a tonne, for example, households in Alberta will pony up $2,223, in Saskatchewan they’ll pay $2,065 and in Nova Scotia, $2,240. In fact, at $100 a tonne, the average price for households in all provinces is well north of $1,000 per year.

So there you go.

Personally, I would put all that money into improving our waterways which are now filled with sewage and plastic micro-beads from detergents and I would see that we stopped building landfill filled with plastics that take up to 1,000 years to decompose.

But that’s just me.

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