Sorry, George. I support the carbon tax and cannot support your leadership.

Post by Mike Klassen in ,


George Abbott wants to put the carbon tax to a referendum – photo: Vancouver Sun

This week I returned from a lovely vacation with family members to a sunny clime. I think the last time I left town while the Christmas lights were still hanging was 1994, so you can probably guess all-inclusive vacations are not something we budget for often. The beauty of it was that my communications to and from back home were hacked back to almost nothing.

When I finally did get back online on Wednesday I caught bits and pieces of a "policy announcement" from one of the five (now six) declared BC Liberal leadership candidates. I have to confess I have profound respect for George Abbott. Before I left on vacation I had a conversation with relatives which led me to think he might be a good choice among the current field of candidates.

However, George did something that surprised and disappointed me when he proposed that we put BC's carbon tax to a referendum ballot. It smacked of desperate politics aimed at currying favour with the tax's critics. There are just so many things wrong with Abbott's proposal I almost don't know where to start, but here goes...

  1. Note to George: we already had a referendum on B.C.'s carbon tax – it was the 2009 election campaign. I was immensely proud of that electoral victory because of two things. First, the BC Liberals refused to "go negative" during their campaign. This is almost unprecedented in modern campaigns. And second, we got a majority government with the carbon tax as a ballot question. There were many who wanted to kill that tax, but they lost.
  2. Tax policy by referendum ballot has been the ruin of California. It's expected that the Golden State may go bankrupt in 2011, thanks to the ill-considered use of so-called 'direct democracy' when setting tax policy.
  3. British Columbians income taxes are lowered, and northerners get additional credits to offset the costs of that carbon tax. Are we going to increase personal income taxes, or are we going to use a progressive consumption tax to help us to reduce energy consumption?
  4. Cap and trade is coming, but it's a much more clumsy tool for reducing energy consumption. Yes, other jurisdictions are looking at other methods for putting a price on carbon, but they are also looking at British Columbia's leadership to see what happens here.
  5. The carbon tax will give British Columbia an important international advantage as energy prices skyrocket. The carbon tax will also get businesses, organizations and local governments to sharpen their pencils to find ways to reduce energy consumption. For the tiny amount which the carbon tax adds to the price of energy it has a big impact – why on earth would we want to challenge that?

Now, to be fair to Abbott, he does say, "I believe we should retain the carbon tax. The issue is ... should we be contemplating beyond July 1 of 2012 additional incremental increases to the carbon tax when the rest of North America is not dancing with us on this important issue?"

George, it's called leadership and you know that British Columbia has done many things to innovate our economy. It's the reason we're viewed with envy by many other parts of the globe. There is a clear future here thanks to our investments in built infrastructure, health, pre & post-secondary education. The carbon tax is an important signal that our provincial government is thinking long term, not just about what today's price of gas is.

Kevin Falcon has also opened up the carbon tax Pandora's Box, but in a way that looks a bit more measured. Like other candidates such as Moira Stilwell, Falcon has dismissed any notion of setting tax policy by referendum. As Stilwell told me Saturday, the people asked to have a say on the HST, but we've already had a vote on the carbon tax in 2009.

In my quest to decide who I will support for B.C.'s next Premier, I will be looking closely at policy statements by all the candidates. The issue of the carbon tax is an extremely important one to me, and regrettably George Abbott's nuanced statements are not enough for me. To get my support in February you need to stand by British Columbia's carbon tax – full stop.

- post by Mike


The carbon tax is a good idea in principle, but is laughable because it's not tied to anything. Instituting a new tax under the guise of being 'green' and then not tying that money into 'green' things is ridiculous.

As per usual, the Liberals are one foot on the gas (carbon tax), one foot on the brake (gateway/hwy 1, etc...)--in the end going nowhere. Why voting for them again seems reasonable is boggling.

The Carbon Tax was probably the start of people really starting to hate Campbell and wanting to see him get the boot he finally did get late last year.

The only reason it didn't get the scrutiny that the HST got was because it was instituted fairly quickly and the public of course has a short memory. The HST on the other hand was introduced over the course of about a year and got worse like a festering wound.

The only reason Campbell got re-elected after the Carbon Tax was that people didn't think the stink of Campbell and the tax was enough to vote for the NDP who regardless of what they say have never seen a tax they didn't like.

Do we have to look after the environment and do our best not to pollute and conserve what we have? ABSOLUTELY... But the carbon tax is nothing but a tax grab and most people would support a vote on it along with the HST vote.

I would support Abbott on this.

I am in complete agreement with Mike Klassen on this one. I find George Abbott's leadership bid a compelling reason not to completely sever all support from the BC Liberals.

But the carbon tax, as Mike says, was a courageous, socially responsible policy we've already voted on, and to re-open it now seems regressive at best when it makes us increasingly competitive as the entire world moves into a future of rapidly increasing energy costs.

Now does your stance regarding the 2009 election as being the referendum for the carbon tax also apply for the HST - where the voters were told there would not be an HST and they voted accordingly.

Taxing the bad things more (fuel) and taxing the good tings less (jobs and income) sounds pretty sound to me. In your NDP socialist world boohoo, you want to tax everything more in the name of good government.

Taxing stuff like natural gas and electricity when people have to heat their homes is definitely not fair.

Not to mention taxing soccer moms who have to drive their kids to soccer practice along with a bunch of equipment. You cant expect people to take public transit or walk everywhere it's not practical and for people to take the attitude lets make it more expensive to get people out of their cars is naive.

Most people don't drive because they like cruising around they drive because its a necessity and the carbon tax is an example of an unfair tax.

The Global Warming Thingy is over . . the planet is not behaving as forecast, the hairy scary fear mongering is just that, Cap & Trade isn't & won't be. . . the Chicago Carbon Exchange just closed due to lack of business.

And a Carbon Tax makes us LESS competitive not more.

Kill the damn thing, stand up and speak the truth to the AGW lobby that their game is up.

I'll consider voting for anyone who'll scrap Campbell's carbon tax and kill off the plans for Feed In Tariffs for eco-grifters peddling wind turbines and solar panels.

Missing DaPoint (do you have other names you go by or how do you know me?),

Who said anything about taxing anything other than the carbon tax? Why do you bring up income and jobs? Just to get a petty meaningless dig in? Or what?

I really don't get this whole global warming debate. No one (I hope) argues pollution is good. So, if pollution is bad let's take steps to stop it. If in the end (whenever and whatever that is) there's no manmade climate change then great, we have cleaner air at the least. If in the end there is, then great, we've taken steps to solve it now. Seems like taking action now is a win win.

I would also vote for anyone who would get rid of the carbon tax.For all those who call co2 a pollutant move to the back of the class please.Do you realize if co2 had gone down 100ppm instead of up 100ppm we would be at 180ppm and the planet would turn brown and DIE.co2 is a life giving gas,AGW is a scam,sheesh read a book!!

With oil prices likely to dramatically increase anyway after the great recession is over, we need to be prepared to use less fossil fuels or our economy and standard of living will decrease. A carbon tax is a good way to encourage people to prepare for the inevitable. It would be better to use the revenue to fund alternatives such as transit though so people have at least a choice if they want to pay the tax or not. Fortunately, the province seems to have indicated to TransLink that they might consider this.

Even if people still need to or want to drive, there are many ways that they can reduce their fuel consumption and save more money than they pay in carbon tax including driving slower, driving less aggressively, making sure their tires are inflated correctly, idling less, carpooling, getting a smaller car and combining trips.

All and all, seems like a good policy even if you are not convinced global warming is an issue.

Wrong on this one Mike. He may or may not be the best candidate, but he is right on the carbon tax

The Carbon tax (I prefer the term Energy Tax) is a bad tax that must be repealed.

The government's justification for the energy tax is built on the thoroughly discredited THEORY of AGW. Even if the THEORY of AGW were credible, I fail to see how increasing the marginal cost of energy (for which there is a fairly inelastic demand) to the 4.5 million inhabitants of BC could possibly have any effect on the GLOBAL temperature in a world with almost 7 BILLION inhabitants. The population of BC represents only .0006 of the global population. It would be like not having a fart in a windstorm - who would notice?

For those who believe in the THEORY of AGW and in the validity of the energy tax, I have a challenge for you: I would like to see some objective scientific evidence that that the change in demand for energy in BC brought about by BC's energy tax has had any effect on the global temperature. Good luck with that.

Wake up people! The energy tax is designed to scoop money out of your pockets while you buy energy that you need to use to live every day. Even if the energy costs a little more because of the tax, it is very unlikely that you can or will decrease your use of energy. Governments love this kind of tax. You can't avoid paying it. You will keep paying it because it is levied on a product that you absolutely need for daily life. It is regressive in that it hurts the lowest earners the hardest. It is collected monthly. No one asks where the money collected from the tax goes (government fat-cat pensions no doubt). Not only that but the idiotic watermelons out there will THANK the government for screwing the people with this tax.

I welcome the chance to vote on the existence of the energy tax.

I love posts that are full of certain words capitalized as though yelling it makes it more true.

But good philosophy Vision Insider, what BC does won't impact the globe so why do anything? I certainly hope you use that enlightened philosophy in your day to day life.


oops, I guess I'm shouting there, my bad. sorry to shake your tender sensibilities with some cold hard truths.

Like all watermelons you mistake the imposition of a tax as taking action.

The only action that is happening with the energy tax is the siphoning of money from taxpayers' wallets - yours included.

The fact that you think your opinion on climate chage is 'cold hard truth' is a very good reason to dismiss it.

The fact that you can't spell is a very good reason to dismiss your drivel.

"... climate chage ..."

Tag you're it.

Another good philosophy from you, one spelling mistake dismisses an entire point.

Again, I really do hope you live by these brilliant ideals.

Really? It took you 10 minutes to come up with a rehash of an earlier comment? LAME

It's no fun playing with you if you can't keep up.

Carbon TAX is as credible as the Air CARE in BC. Just another phony but polite name for 'gimme your money or else' Of course, the crooks would love to get away with all the money they planned to stole from the rest of us. Say it ain't so.

Sorry, I was eating lunch. It took me all of about 2 seconds to dismiss your 'truths'.

Have a great day.

Re-hash #2


Still no fun playing with you.

Yes gman, read a book, or several books. You might start with Lomborg's Smart Solutions to Climate Change, as you seem to be part of the audience Lomborg targets. Lomborg's group believe that a carbon tax is a poor solution to climate change, but even they are not so benighted as to believe that the theory of anthropogenic global warming is disproven. Yes, it is a theory, so is everything scientific. Facts are only facts in the context of theories. And the weigh of evidence is heavily in support of AGW. Yes, you can find counter evidence, but you have to look hard and squint funny. Any sane energy policy will factor in the high probability of AGW.

Richard,congrats on the dumbest post ever written.You think I should pay a tax to solve a none problem because we need to get used to paying more when the price goes up.Careful what you wish for,if it gets to expensive mom might turn the lights off to the basement!!

I agree with Mike and Sean on this. Sean's comments pretty much sums up my own opinion. I will oppose anyone who is opposed to the carbon tax or the HST. That said, given the questions around how the HST was introduced I think a referendum on the issue is fair.

Anyone who wants to reduce overall taxation should in parallel propose what spending they would like to see cut. Anyone who wants to eliminate a specific tax should say how they would replace it.

I would like to see the government out of the gambling business and I would like to replace the revenues by higher taxes on gambling income.

Hello Gman. Actually many jurisdictions use energy taxes to encourage energy conservation and then lower taxes in other areas. As Mike pointed out, anyone who wants to get rid of this tax should identify what they plan to replace it with and say how that will lead to better economic outcomes. If your goal is to lower the overall tax burden, then identify where you want to cut spending.

Jurisdictions that are energy efficient will do better in a higher cost of energy environment. So if you don't like this policy do you believe that (i) energy costs will trend down or (ii) there is a better way to encourage energy efficiency?

@ Steven:

I was over the boarder just over a week ago.

I stopped into a shop in the old part of bellingham and got to chatting with the owner about his dog. The dog as a rescue and he got her for Christmas.

From there is went to abandon animals and what is done to help eleviate the problem.

Long and short, he stated that they - the 'county' where he lives, just voted to cut the funding to ALL social programs - including education.

Not enough tax dollars.


What is a "none problem"? Those in glass houses should not throw stones.

Steven,I assume your speaking of the UK,last winter elderly people were buying used books to burn,because of these type of taxes,9 elderly per hour died from cold related symptoms.This year those numbers are estimated to climb to 12.You seem to infer people and companies waste energy, wrong again.I owned a trucking company,fuel costs make or break the company.BTW the elderly this winter have taken to riding the bus all day to conserve energy and stay alive.Seems like a sad remedy for a non problem.


Can you site where you are getting those numbers from please.

My boyfirend's family is in Wales. They speak weekly. I know things have been bad, but they've not mentioned 12 deaths per hour/edlery persons.

Max just google elderly cold weather deaths,its at the Mail Online. Nine pensioners died from cold every hour last winter as bill prices soar. ya cant make this stuff up

Max just google elderly cold weather deaths,its at the Mail Online. Nine pensioners died from cold every hour last winter as bill prices soar. ya cant make this stuff up

Hi Gman - I thought you had done your research on climate change. So you know that most models predict that the North Atlantic Basin will trend colder and wetter. And if the North Atlantic Conveyor fails completely (my impression is that this is unlikely) then we are in for a severe drop in average temperature in the North Atlantic along with a prolonged disruption in fish stocks (of course we have screwed the fish stocks so much that it may not matter at that point). COX in the atmosphere does cause more energy to be retained overall, how that temperature is distributed is a complex question. Whether the COX increases are enough to override other changes in climate is an open question. There are some models that suggest we are in a cooling trend that is being buffered by the extra COX.

steven,I certainly dont claim any expertize,but I do follow free and open conversation.As to your last post there is an interesting guest post by Erl Harp over at WUWT "Something Topical".My point is that that there so many unknown factors and co2 seems to be the least worrisome,but it is taxable.The absurd claims put out by CAGW beleivers can be found at the warmists most hated sites,is just a sort of clearing house of crazy claims is Cimate Depot,it always makes me laugh.Piers Corbin has been correct 85% of the time and he also thinks we are moving to a 20-30yr. cooling trend.


I read through several articles and they do not support 'fuel poverty' being the lone causes for the deaths.

It is part in parcel of cold weather and flu season.

Even though, I do acknowledge that they face a huge problem as many of the older places do not have a centralized heating system.

And I know from being in London during winter - end of November begining of December, it was tough to stay warm due to that fact. I actually slept in a track suit with the hood up and this was in a hotel!

Hello again Gman

Do you believe that energy consumption is unrelated to energy costs and that there are no opportunities for us to generate more economic wealth for less energy consumption? That is what you seem to be saying anyway. Out of curiosity, as the owner of a trucking company what did you do to maximize energy efficiency and to maximize profit per dollar of energy consumed?

No one has a track record on predicting climate change, climate science has not been around long enough. But I would not downplay the role of COX, there is a lot of very good science on this. One of the problems we have is that the range of possible outcomes is very wide and we won't know until we are well down the road. Your point that we are taxing CO2 because it is the easiest thing to tax is a good one. We need to keep our minds open to other options. This is why I like the Lomborg book. He forces one to look at and think through the full range of solutions. I disagree (strongly) with his conclusions (you will probably agree with many of them though) but he chalenges me and makes me think.

steven,At this point I would like to direct you to google Green Agenda,everything is linked.Its a real eye opener.Remember when you get old if your not grumpy your not paying attention.

Sorry Mike but you're way off base on this one. The carbon tax is not a progressive tax. Too many of the working poor have to rely on cars to get them from their rented homes (that they pay to heat) in the burbs to their jobs. They notice every penny added to their gas and heating bills, whereas some West Side astronaut doesn't when they happen to be in town to fill up their BMW.

To add insult to this injury, the money is just dumped into general revenue instead of going to transit projects.

George is also right, this tax puts as at a business disadvantage compared to other North American jurisdictions.


Actually, using fossil fuels is regressive. As they get scarcer, the price will go up so only the rich can afford them. It is also not fair to future generations. Better to switch from them now, use less energy and find alternatives.

"When you get old, if you are not grumpy, you are not paying attention." Love that, will quote it to my kids next time they tihnk I am being grumpy. I also appreciate your pointing out that their are human costs to taxes. Not sure I understand your point about "Green Agenda". I probably fall into the general group of people with a Green Agenda, I also favour market solutions, do not like to see governments picking winners, and even though I run tech companies I oppose SR&ED tax credits. I cycle pretty much everywhere, and buy carbon credits (yeah, it is probably a scam) to cover my limited car use (about 30 km per month) and my flights (way too many).


Not sure I understand your point. I am all too aware that (i) US tax rates are too low and (ii) that there are huge structural deficits in the US. When you add in the infrastructure and educational deificts you have a huge problem. Lucky for the US, they have more room to increase taxes than most of Canada, and despite all their problems, they still have a more innovative economy with higher productivity.

I support the Carbon tax because I think we need to begin capturing the externalities of excessive hydrocrabon use. But the people pointing out that this is a regressive tax that weighs heavily on the working poor have a very good point.

@ Steven:

Although I don't love it, I mean who truly loves tax increases, I do support the HST.

My comment about Bellingham speaks to those that want lower/no taxes, yet still expect services to be funded by government.

(Just read the article in the Van Sun about the anti-HST members sending death threats to Craig James and Delaney's basically 'who cares' attitude towards it.)

As for the Carbon tax, it is not only the low income people it affects.

It also takes a toll on those that require larger vehicles for work puposes, farmers, forestry, mining, contruction, trades etc.

steven,if you go to "THE GREEN AGENDA"site you will see why this 30yr old scare story began and by who.In light of Vivian Krause's reporting of late on the Tides foundation may not seem so crazy.This is when the real Eco-movement was taken over. BTW earlier you spoke of deep ocean currents,the SOI is now at a record high +27.interesting artical at JoNova's site,"Laptop beats MET office super computer" also check out William Kininmonth's "The Deep Ocean's Drive The Atmosphere"at the same site,interesting.Remember this manufactured scare story has nothing to do with climate.Social engineering is what its about.Oh and scaring kids.


I took your advice and did the google search....very interesting indeed.

George thankyou,Winston Churchhill once said "if your not a liberal by the time your 20 you have no heart,if your not conservative by the time your 40 you have no brain".By no means do I mean to insult anyone by this.The world is a complicted place,we cant save every child every tree or frog but we can try,remember we are a part of nature too.Young people join noble causes and that is a wonderful thing,but keep your eye on the pea.Some think I am the enemy then I say keep your enemy close to you.You have to force yourself to skeptical sites,to read the story not the headline.And most important dont be fooled by a few wealthy elites.

Gee what a shocker. There is a campaign add for falcon top right and an article saying you don't support Abbott on the left. Might wanna start looking outside greater Vancouver for view points.

@yuri. The Falcon ad helps to motivate our work with the income it provides, but is not a reflection of our loyalties at this time. I've not declared support for any candidates yet, but the carbon tax is very important to me for the reasons I've outlined.

Of course Winston Churchill was not a Liberal at 20 and although a great war time leader he was a poor PM during peace. Isn't it about time we got past the tired Liberal - Conservative blinkers of the 20th C?

Yes, gman, but remember that it is the wealthy elites that are most opposed to any taxes on externalities, as they are generally the ones benefitting. Concern about climate change is sensible and it actually came from NASA and other hard core research groups. Your revisionst history is not convincing. I don't like it when people say 'the science of climate change is settled' as there is much that we don't know. But to declare it a hoax of the elites is nonsense.

Check out!

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