‘Don’t ask me what I think of you, I might not give you what you want me to’

Thinking, let alone writing about taxes bores me because they’ve already bore a hole in my pocket. Just making a trip to the ATM these days can sometimes be a, “Take a deep breath and count backward from 100” experience. But to politicians, taxes are the Fountain of Youth elixir of their taxpayer funded lives and, ‘Hey! Look at me!’ careers.

Ever since the Paris climate change two-step competition last December, there has been a worldwide carbonized fight for headlines, with proponents screaming out promises like, “My carbon tax is bigger (or sure will be bigger) than your carbon tax.”

The Prince Advocate of the Paris prom was President Barack Obama, the leader and undisputed king of the world’s biggest Greenhouse (GHG) gas emissions. And so it was with galvanized awe that I watched in morbid fascination as the president declared the meeting a success. This, after all attendees signed on to reduce emissions and the use of fossil fuels. Oddly, China, India, and Russia – the first, third and fourth on the pollution scale – forgot to show up. They publicly declared their devotion to the accord, but that’s just smoke and mirrors.

Oh well.

Three weeks later President Obama, without a blink, lifted the 40-year ban on the export of domestic crude, which is chock full of fossil fuel producing GHG.

Oh well.

As of this date, I am unaware of an agreement of a carbon tax in the U.S. since Congress turned it down because they are likely to nix the closure of coal fired generation plants all across the US.

Double oh well.

Onward and northward to the land of tax envy – and what a confused land it is, but tax is not lax here let me tell ya. In Ontario, the government is gearing up for its Cap-and-Trade taxes beginning January 1, 2017.

Prime Minister Justin (The Red Raider) Trudeau, along with the other 337 tax payer funded Canadian attendees, merrily agreed to the Paris deal. Provincial and territorial leaders returned to prepare their own plans to save the planet forgetting that the entire country accounts for only 1.59% of global GHG. It is rumoured that these details must be ready sometime in the fall (this year I believe), when Prime Minister Trudeau will hold a national meeting on the progress of a national carbon plan as devised on a non-national basis.

Ontario conveniently leaked its Climate Change Action Plan complete with… drum roll please… (or was it a bass drum thud?), which in essence, said that the government is attempting to control all aspects of economic life, even to the point of declaring for example, that in a two car family world, one will have to be of the electric variety (paid for with a $14,000 taxpayer funded subsidy). And the source of power? It will of course come from Ontario hydro utilities, which provide some of the most expensive electricity in North America!

Some of the rest of the provinces seemed to be quite happy to go about their plans in their own merry way until Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau hinted that he is considering a national carbon tax.

Questions:        Will this be on top of any provincial carbon tax?

Will it be flat or ad valorem percentage such as the GST/HST?

Why bother asking the provinces to come up with a plan if you already have your own?

“Don’t ask me what I think of you, I might not give you what you want me to” – Fleetwood Mac’s first recording, Oh Well.

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Roger McKnight is the Chief Petroleum Analyst with En-Pro International Inc.
Roger has over 25 years experience in the oil industry, and has held senior marketing management positions responsible for national and international accounts. He is the originator of the card lock concept of marketing on-road diesel that is now the predominant purchase method of diesel in Canada. Roger's knowledge of the oil industry in North America, and pricing structures has resulted in his expertise being sought as a commentator by local, national, and international media. Roger is a regular guest on radio and television programs, and he is quoted regularly in newspapers and magazines across Canada.

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