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Liberal cap-and-trade fiasco hurts us all

Well Happy New Year.


Normally, the start of another year is cause for optimism, but that is not the case when it comes to provincial affairs here in Ontario.


That’s because as of January 1, life got even harder under the Wynne Liberals.


In case you weren’t aware, Premier Kathleen Wynne’s cap-and-trade cash grab started with the dawn of 2017, and it’s making life more unaffordable for Ontario families and businesses.


Ontarians already struggle to pay some of the highest electricity bills and taxes in Canada, yet the Liberals with their cap-and-trade scheme are adding costs to everything from gas to groceries.


What this all boils down to is an $8-billion cash grab that Ontario families and businesses can’t afford.


The other day, Toronto Sun columnist Lorrie Goldstein wrote a terrific piece about Premier Wynne’s cap and trade plan.


In the column, Mr. Goldstein outlines why cap-and-trade is so alarming. 


For starters, he notes the costs appear to be higher than estimated.


The Wynne government estimates the initial cost of cap and trade per household will be $156 per year, due to increased costs for gasoline ($8 per month) and natural gas home heating fuel ($5 per month), rising to $285 annually in 2019 in direct and indirect costs,” Mr. Goldstein writes. “However, its own estimate that it will take in $2 billion annually from cap and trade ($8 billion from 2017 to 2020) suggests the real annual cost to Ontarians will be $400 per household, given that Ontario has about five million households.”


Mr. Goldstein, an astute watcher of Queen’s Park affairs for several decades now, also rightly notes there is no transparency in the province’s cap and trade plan.


“Unlike a carbon tax, which is visible, cap-and-trade raises the prices of most goods and services, since most consume fossil fuel energy. Businesses pass along their increased costs from having to buy carbon allowances from the government or their competitors, by raising their prices. Since the price of consumer goods is determined by numerous factors, Ontarians will have no way of knowing what they are paying for cap and trade.”


Mr. Goldstein also mentions that cap and trade will severely impact low-income Ontarians, something that has been one of my greatest concerns. 


“Cap and trade is essentially a hidden tax on consumption,” he writes. “Since lower income earners, including seniors on fixed incomes, spend a larger proportion of their income on necessities, such as heating their homes in winter, cap and trade will disproportionately impact them in terms of costs.”


And then there is the issue of revenue neutrality, which Mr. Goldstein also touches on.


“While the government is promising to help Ontarians cope with the higher cost of living cap and trade causes, its scheme will not be revenue neutral, meaning it will not return to the public in the form of tax cuts or grants the $2 billion annually it intends to raise from carbon pricing. Instead of helping all Ontarians to cope with the higher cost of living, the government will pick winners and losers, which governments are notoriously bad at doing.”


I know all of this is a lot to take in and frankly the Liberals know it as well.


Premier Wynne and her cronies are hoping people just shrug their shoulders and take the so-called kick in the wallet that comes with cap-and-trade.


Already we’ve seen the cost of cap-and-trade at the pumps.


The price of gas has skyrocketed.

Of course, to try and mitigate the situation, the Liberals have not itemized the cost of cap-and-trade on your receipt at the gas station.


Like I said a moment ago, the Liberals are banking on you just accepting the new way of things. They hope that you’ll forget about cap-and-trade by 2018, when it’s time to go to the polls. I can tell you I won’t allow that to happen and neither will my colleagues.


The Ontario PC Caucus supports a practical, realistic, and revenue neutral plan to reduce carbon emissions, grow the economy, and put money back in the pockets of Ontarians.


Unfortunately, between now and the next election, the Liberals will continue to do what they do best: pick your pockets.  


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