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Carbon taxes questioned

Dear Mr. Editor:

Before too many people get too effusive in their praise for Stephane Dion’s carbon tax proposal, they need to realize that these types of levies have a questionable track record.

Sweden introduced a carbon tax in 1991 and within six years needed to increase it by 50 percent

to keep it revenue-neutral, then raised it again last year. Ironically, that country generates half its electricity from nuclear plants and most of the rest from hydro, so was such a levy really necessary?

Denmark’s carbon tax, introduced in the mid-1990s, managed to reduce emissions by 10 percent—but at a cost of a 25percent drop in manufacturing employment.

The reductions came at the expense of workers, not carbon producers. Recent polls in Britain indicate 70 percent of citizens are rejecting any more “green” taxes, which they view as costing them too much money, having little discernible positive effect on the environment,and winding up mainly in

general revenue.

Once more details become available in Canada, people also will start looking askance at any new

taxes, especially when higher prices for everything are becoming evident across the board.

Revenue neutrality always looks good on paper, yet in the end it rarely seems to pan out once the

new tax is imposed. This plan is elegant in its simplicity— tax what you don’t want (greenhouse gases) and reduce taxes on what you do want (productivity).

It’s $15 billion in and $15 billion out. But what is all the shuffling of money for? Who

knows?

Mr. Dion said that the plan deliberately does not include estimates of reduced carbon use, nor does it set targets for reductions. He says that it has worked elsewhere— these being small countries in a temperate Europe, not vast and cold nations like Canada.

This entire flawed plan proposes to tax on the basis of carbon production and rebate the money collected on the basis of universal tax cuts. That means a business that produces no carbon, and needs no help to become “green,” gets exactly the same benefit as a business that is paying enormous amounts

of carbon tax (such as our paper mill) and needs enormous amounts of assistance.

This makes absolutely no sense. This plan should not be endorsed by anyone.

Thank you for allowing me space in your newspaper.

Signed,

David M. Bourgeault

Fort Frances, Ont.

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