Harper's Climate Snow Job

Mr. Harper’s credibility on the climate file hit a new low recently when he claimed with a straight face that the Liberal’s proposed carbon tax would “wreck” the economy.

Perhaps the Prime Minster should look at some of the other economies around the world that are apparently doing well in spite of being saddled with such a radical and un-tested policy..

The Swedes clearly don’t appreciate that their economy is in peril due to the carbon tax that they brought in seventeen years ago. Admittedly, it is a dog eat dog world and perhaps Mr. Harper is hoping that Sweden will unwittingly sabotage their economy with this reckless policy that has resulted in them being ranked #4 in the world in competitiveness.

Strangely, this un-tried experiment has also reduced their carbon emissions by 9% below 1990 levels, while their economy grew by 44%.

Since we are part of the Commonwealth, it might be courteous if Harper passed his unique insights on to the United Kingdom. They probably don't know that their economy is going down the tubes due to a carbon tax they introduced in 1993. This rash adventure has lowered their per capita carbon emissions to less than half of Canada’s.

Likewise, The Netherlands, Norway and Finland are apparently in danger of economic collapse due their taxes on carbon that were brought in over ten years ago. All have per capita carbon emissions far below Canada.

The simple fact is that carbon taxes have successfully been implemented all around the world and have consistently reduced emissions while stimulating a shift away from the carbon economy. Meanwhile here in Canada, we are spewing out more climate altering-carbon per person than almost any country on Earth.

It is not that Canadians don’t want to pitch in on this planetary emergency. A poll from last year showed that two thirds of Canadians believed that climate change was a “very serious ” problem – a level of concern second only to France.

Canadians have also not been moved from this opinion by rising fuel prices. A poll from only two months ago shows that Canadians are still demanding aggressive action on climate change – even after being hit by ballooning energy prices.

Our Prime Minster is simply out of touch with the core Canadian value of respecting the environment. Harper’s fear mongering around a carbon tax is the latest in a long record of disgraceful inaction on dealing with the most pressing environmental problem, climate change.

While the rest of the world is discouraging carbon consumption by sensibly raising the price of dumping climate altering chemicals into the atmosphere, Harper is making it even cheaper. This month he proposed to slash excise taxes on diesel fuel. Burn, baby, burn.

Then of course there is the well-established costs of doing nothing on climate change. Nicholas Stern , the former Chief Economist of the World Bank reported that unmitigated climate change could cost the world economy 20% of global GDP. Lord Stern warned:

"Our actions over the coming few decades could create risks of major disruption to economic and social activity, later in this century and in the next, on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th century”

Progressive countries the world over must be shaking their heads wondering what happened to Canada’s hard-won reputation of being on the right side of history.

The world is moving to solve this critical issue yet Canada remains a big part of the problem - and that problem is Stephen Harper.

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