This isn’t the end of carbon taxes, it’s not even the beginning of the end — but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
Sorry for messing with one of Winston Churchill’s most famous speeches, but it seems appropriate following the Trudeau government’s capitulation in its campaign to make Canadians believe carbon taxes had anything to do with the environment.
It was, from the very start, just another Central Canada money grab: a well-honed manoeuvre the Grits have mastered for more than a century.
The whole idea of imposing extra costs on the use of fossil fuels to push people into consuming less, thereby cutting carbon emissions, which in turn would slow the heating of the planet and save humans from some fanciful fiery extinction, provided the perfect backdrop for the Liberals’ age-old strategy of milking Western Canada for the benefit of Ontario and Quebec.
And nowhere could the Grits have found a better frontman for this latest charade than in Justin Trudeau, the imperious son of a famous imperial prime minister who once embodied Laurentian elitism, yet failed at the final hurdle — thanks to the stubbornness of Peter Lougheed — to bring the most rebellious western province of them all to heel.
Our current prime minister was only too happy going along with this carbon tax strategy, one that would finally help put Alberta in its place. Oh, and as a bonus, the entire world would applaud, assuming this was for their benefit.
A figurehead prime minister needed a suitable figurehead environment minister. Voila: Who better than that scaler of tall towers, that bane of premiers who leave their roofs unguarded, than Steven Guilbeault, one of Canada’s foremost environmental crusaders?
Yet, we wonder what that fellow is pondering this past week, after his boss put a stake through the whole carbon tax mythology by playing politics in the Maritimes and revealing once again how the Liberals will use any issue to gain power, and happily abandon it once it becomes an electoral drag.
Of course, we won’t hear a peep of protest out of Guilbeault over Trudeau’s move to lift the carbon price off home heating oil for the next three years, as polls show Atlantic Canada — where a third of homes use that form of heating — abandoning the Liberals in huge numbers because of affordability worries.
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Meanwhile, Western Canada — where hardly a soul uses heating oil but instead relies on cleaner natural gas — can keep paying carbon taxes, as Trudeau pledges there’ll be no more carve-outs from his much-touted carbon reduction policy, although that same policy has yet to hit a single target his government has set, other than imposing ever higher levies on ordinary Canadians.
But, just as Churchill correctly predicted more than 80 years ago, the tide has turned. How long it takes to sweep away these carbon taxes altogether is up for debate, but anyone who thinks they can stand in its way will suffer the same fate as King Canute.
These green levies are now exposed as nothing more than a political gambit, to be imposed and jettisoned according to the latest poll numbers: the whole moral superstructure they were built upon shown to be an environmental Potemkin village, erected just for effect while the real business continues in the shadows.
In the end, all it took was a revival of inflation — ironically something Trudeau’s own government helped spur with its ludicrous spend and borrow fiscal policy — to focus Canadians’ attention on their own pocketbooks rather than Greta Thunberg’s latest pronouncements.
Carbon taxes are done. It is simply a matter of time.