Bill Kelly: Carbon taxes are unpopular. But are they necessary?
I’m not surprised that a recent survey indicated that seven out of 10 Ontario voters think that a carbon tax is nothing more than a tax grab.
I’d bet that 10 out of 10 voters would rather not pay any taxes at all if they had a choice, but we know that there would be serious consequences if that happened.
What many of us don’t want to admit is there are serious health and economic consequences if we continue to pollute our atmosphere.
The fact that a majority of Ontarians don’t see the need for carbon taxing is a direct result of how poorly the government has handled this file.
Instead of distributing the revenue from a carbon tax back to taxpayers in the form of a rebate, which other jurisdictions have done, the government is spending the money on their massive transit plans.
That might be good policy, but it’s bad politics and it’s given ammunition to populist politicians who spread the misguided notion that all taxes are evil.
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Carbon taxing or cap and trade is not a wacky left wing idea; the Harper government developed a similar plan and even the Ontario PCs, in their People’s Guarantee Platform, included a carbon tax that would be used to fund tax cuts.
We need to take popularity polls with a grain of salt and we need to remind our elected leaders that it’s easy to do the popular thing; it’s harder to do the right thing!
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