Orwellian Doublespeak Aside, Pricing Carbon was a Conservative Idea, Globe and Mail Notes
In a post that evokes the doublespeak of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, the Globe and Mail editorial board calls out Ontario and federal Conservatives’ all-out battle against the Trudeau government’s carbon tax, noting that the climate measure championed by the Liberals was originally a conservative idea.
“That recent past has been shoved so far down the memory hole that, when reached for comment, spokespeople at the conservative ministry of truth insisted that, so far as they knew, Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia,” the editors write. “Carbon taxes are now a thought crime on the Canadian right, the doubleplusungood subject of doublethink and duckspeak, and the main focus of conservative Twitter’s daily Two Minutes of Hate.”
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They add: “George Orwell had nothing on Canadian politics.”
After three paragraphs recounting Conservatives’ overheated response to the official introduction of the federal carbon tax April 1, the Globe casts the policy as “an economically logical, pro-market way of lowering greenhouse gas emissions. A way of using prices—the basic mechanism of free markets—to reduce pollution. A way of putting billions of small environmental decisions in the hands of millions of people, rather than handing them over to a big government bureaucracy. And a way to tax something societies need less of, namely pollution, while lowering taxes on things we all want more of, like business investment and personal income.”
The Globe cites the then right-leaning provincial government in British Columbia, not just “egghead economists or cranky right-wing think-tankers”, that introduced Canada’s first successful carbon tax in 2008.
“It was and still is a model for the rest of the country, since it was intended to be revenue-neutral—with every cent raised by the carbon tax going back into people’s pockets, mostly through tax reductions. Thanks in part to carbon taxes, lower- and middle-income earners in B.C. pay the country’s lowest income taxes.”
The editorial board concedes that the federal carbon tax “will bite a little” because “it’s supposed to. The whole point of raising the price of gasoline is to push people to think about how to avoid those costs coming out of their left pocket, while enjoying the carbon tax rebate in their right pocket. A slightly more fuel-efficient car? Driving less? Taking public transit to work sometimes? The idea is to leave it to people to decide for themselves if they want to lower their carbon costs, and how to do so.”
Look back far enough, the editors conclude, and “that used to be a conservative idea. Yes, really.”