Resolving Timeline Issues

Posts Tagged ‘carbon tax

Yes, I’m just a wee bit bitter about the carbon tax gas tax that kicked in today (as if you haven’t guessed already). I haven’t gone out yet today, but I saw on the news that gas prices are up above the $1.50/litre mark.

But, moving on! I promised over at Wet Coast Women that I would try not to bitch about the carbon tax.

In other news, I have become a twit. Although, I find twitter a wee bit sluggish at times. Flaky, even. But you can follow me over there if you like.

Darren had to get up at the buttcrack of dawn today to go play golf for a 6:30 tee off time at a course that’s about an hour away. The funny part is, not only does he get a free round of golf, but since its work related, I think he gets paid. 

And I? Slept in until 7:30. Drank coffee.

My biggest decision today is whether to wii or go to the driving range. Or both. And maybe set up some golf lessons.

I haven’t been out to whack some balls in about 2 years. The closest I got last year was when I was out of work for 12 weeks and volunteered at Darren’s company golf tournament last year (they paid in beer and food). Not that’d I’d even attempt to play Swan-E-Set (which is a very nice, swank place) because some of thoses holes? Brutal.

We went to the driving range on Saturday and I whacked about 60 balls. My back and arms still ache.

And that, will be the extent of my Canada Day. Happy 141st birthday! You still look great.

What are you doing for Canada day?

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On Thursday, the BC Liberal government forced the adoption of 7 or 8 bills prior to the prorogue of the Spring session of the legislature, among them, the carbon tax and the election gag laws.

According to the Canadian Press:

The Liberals came to an agreement about three weeks ago with the Opposition NDP regarding the passage of 15 remaining bills, but there was no deal on eight others which the government has said will be passed “no matter what.”

So how can they do this? Well, in legislative procedure, there’s a little motion called “closure” which shuts down debate and forces a vote. Its designed to prevent prolonged sessions of the legislature (so that, you know, elected officials can have a summer vacation), while allowing government to take action as necessary. Its quite controversial as it limits any sort of meaningful representation in the legislature. In other words, using closure has a direct impact on your democratic rights. Closure effectively limits your MLA’s ability to advocate on your behalf. When a motion to close debate is moved and approved, all the opposition can do is vote against the item of debate.

I wrote earlier about the budget and the carbon tax (which is now recovered, minus comments) and how it’s a great big fuck you very much to BC citizens.

Apparently, the Liberal government has decided to fuck us a second time. Mike Farnworth (leader of the opposition in the House) said it quite well:

 “The government is ramming through eight bills, two of them particularly controversial,” he said, referring to the carbon tax bill and the so-called election gag law that places spending limits on third party advertising for the 28-day campaign period and for 60 days prior to the writ being dropped.

“That is just wrong, it is undemocratic,” he complained.

And it is unprecedented for a budget bill to be rammed through by the use of closure by any government in the history of this province,” said Farnworth. (emphasis added)

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a particular fan of Mike Farnworth. In fact, I find him generally annoying. But he hit the nail on the head with this one.

In our rather messed up, toe the party line (or is that tow?) system, budgets are supposed to be free votes – this is a time for debate and to use knowledge and effective arguments to try to sway people to what you believe. By limiting debate, this isn’t allowed to happen. Whichever way you look at it, your rights are being eroded. And you should be angry about this.

Vaughn Palmer, in Saturday’s Vancouver Sun (page A3, Saturday May 31) has a couple of lines at the end of his column about this*

Gratuitous insults notwithstanding, the Liberals are surely guilty of reckless disregard for due process.

They set a precedent Thursday that could readily be abused by future governments of any political stripe.

Palmer’s column also includes a blow-by-blow of how it went down. In one hour and seven minutes, because of the closure motion, the following were passed:

  • Bill 20, Oil and Gas Activities Act (I really have no idea what that one’s about, but it ran over 200 sections and took 8 minutes)
  • Bill 21, Medicare Protection Amendment Act (took 6 minutes; a bit of squabbling here and there)
  • Bill 24, E-Health (15 minutes, due to a series of amendments)
  • Bill 37, Trade Investment & Labour Mobility Amendment Act (10 minutes)
  • Bill 37, Carbon Tax Act (runs 60 pages and 157 sections, 10 minutes or so)
  • Bill 42, Election Amendment Act or “gag law” (about 10 minutes, Minister Oppal had some amendments)

It started at 5pm and ended just after 6pm.

It is apparent this government, or maybe it’s the system, really has no regard for any sort of due process or democratic rights.

*the Canada.com website is currently down or busy or something, so I can’t link to it.

 A few weeks ago, the BC Liberal government had a press release – and it was huge. $14 billion dollars for transit improvement (you should say “billion” like Dr. Evil in Austin Powers).

 That’s nice. The Tri-Cities will get the long sought-after Evergreen line to extend rapid transit to that area. Great.

 Yesterday, Minister Taylor wore a pair of green Fluevogs while she delivered the budget. They’re calling it the “Green Budget” – green, not only in the sense of environmentally green, but green in the sense of putting money back in the pockets of consumers.

 Oh, and there’s a carbon tax. Come Canada Day, the price of gasoline will increase by 2.4 cents per litre. All fossil fuels get this tax, including the natural gas you use to heat your home. But don’t worry! The tax is revenue neutral: 2/3 of that will go directly back into the pockets of those who need it, and help reduce BC’s greenhouse gases by 5% by 2020 (or something). The remaining 1/3 goes to business.

 Nevermind that the largest polluters – particularly the gas business – aren’t affected by the tax. More on this later.

My first point: the government is passing the costs of greenhouse gas reduction on to the citizenry. Apparently, the government can confer with big businesses on this, but not the people who actually vote for them.

By raising the price of gas, the carbon tax could reduce B.C.’s GHG emissions in 2020 by up to three million tonnes. Go ahead and click that link to see pundit Michael Smyth’s take on it. I think he makes some really good points. Read the comments, too.

Instead of 3 million tonnes, lets look at something we can all understand. That decrease is somewhere around 5%. Which is somewhere around 0.06% of global GHGs.

Lets face it: in BC, we have largely clean energy thanks to hydro-electric power.

Back to the transit thing: this tax is going in before the new transit lines are put in. This makes it a cash grab, despite the fact that its revenue-neutral. Oh, and transit fares have just increased, and the new TransLink board just gave itself a HUUUUUUGE raise.

All of this boils down to: how does it affect me?

Quite honestly, this budget just further alienates me. I drive to work every day. Every month, I burn between $120 and $150 in gas. My West Coast Express pass would cost me $195 for 28 days. It runs in the mornings, and in the evenings, and that’s it. Then there’s the “train bus” on the weekends. And because I have several evening meetings per month, I lose anywhere from 4 to 12 days per month on the pass. You do the math. We live where we do because we simply cannot afford to own a house in the city.

To take the SkyTrain from Vancouver to Surrey is now a $10 round trip.

My second point: if you’re going to tax me for driving, you need to build the amenities on the other end. Start by lowering transit fares. Then we can talk.

Speaking of talking, remember the point above about businesses not being affected by the carbon tax? (Pardon me if I get ranty here – this is the part that gets me MAD) They’re part of a separate process. Representatives get to meet with the government to discuss what to do.

Now, I know a thing or two about democracy. And I know that one of the things about democracy is that people vote, not businesses.

My third point: who do you think you are dealing with big business and ignoring the citizens?

What a fucking insult. Every single citizen, whether you voted for the Liberal government or not, should be deeply insulted at a fundamental level. Not only because business is being consulted and citizens are not, but because this tax is going to hit you whether you like it or not.

My fourth point: I recycle: we throw out one bag of garbage every 10 days. I drive a fuel efficient car; it is as fuel efficient as many hybrids. I buy meat from local growers. We buy local veggies whenever possible and stock up from Darren’s mom’s garden in the summer. Even the beer and wine we drink is local and the wine is organic – well, the wine is from the Okanagan, but that’s local enough. And business doesn’t have to do this and still gets consulted?

Where’s my tax credit for doing what I can? Where are my chits for locally grown meats and vegetables? Why not start there where its something more tangible?

IMHO, this is a great big, “Fuck you very much” to the citizens of BC.

As a follow-up, you should read Crunchy Carpets’ post over at Wet Coast Women.

Cross-posted at Wet Coast Women


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