The carbon tax farce

The Conservative party sent out an “internal memo” over the weekend to warn Conservative MPs that Thomas Mulcair wants to introduce a carbon tax.

“As we prepare to come back to Ottawa for the fall session of Parliament, it is also important to ensure Canadian middle class families understand the threat posed by Thomas Mulcair’s risky and dangerous economic plan,” said the memo, from Conservative national campaign manager Jenni Byrne. “Canadian families know that a tax on carbon is a tax on everything and therefore a tax on everyone.”

At least one backbencher dutifully tweeted his talking points.

The basis for the claim that Thomas Mulcair wants to introduce a carbon tax seems to be the fact that Mr. Mulcair wants to institute cap-and-trade.

Cap-and-trade is precisely what the Conservatives once promised to institute. The Conservatives promised in their 2008 campaign platform to pursue a continental cap-and-trade system and the Harper government repeated the promise in its 2008 Throne Speech. In September 2009, Jim Prentice lobbied the Alberta government on the virtues of cap-and-trade. In December 2009, the Harper government claimed to be “working in collaboration with the provinces and territories to develop a cap and trade system that will ultimately be aligned with the emerging cap and trade program in the United States.”

A little over a year ago, the Environment Minister allowed that a continental cap-and-trade system “can always be something to consider in the future.” And still now the Harper government isn’t willing to offer a straight answer to the question of what it will do if the United States decides to pursue cap-and-trade.

But beginning with the 2011 election, it has become the government’s position that cap-and-trade and a carbon tax are the same thing. This new position renders their previous position—when the Conservatives loudly condemned a carbon tax while promising cap-and-trade—farcical.

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