The unending confusion around the new, upcoming carbon tax

As a kid, I had a fascination and fear of jugglers I watched on TV variety shows. It wasn’t the ones who threw up into the air multiple chainsaws, machetes, frozen barracudas, and so on – the plate spinners really got to me.

These were the guys who would set a plate spinning on a flexible pole and keep it up in the air until 10 of them were going at the same time at various speeds. The idea was to see how long the plates could spin without crashing to the ground. As part of his act, the juggler would wander off to talk to the audience who were more concerned about the plates hitting their heads; but the juggler would invariably come to the rescue and rejig the poles so the plates kept spinning.

 Congratulations! You have just read the world’s longest intro into a political analogy the world has ever read! Keep in mind the key words here – ‘spin’ and ‘juggler,’ and throw in a couple of plates.

 Here goes the enlightenment part.

 We need to begin with some light because I just don’t get the whole carbon circus that is going on in this country. Our political leaders appear gray-faced and guilt-ridden over our insignificant 1.59% contribution to global GHG emissions.

 Since last December’s, “Ah, come on! Your carbon is worse than my carbon…. Hey, doesn’t this Champagne taste funny to you?” Carbon Olympics (dubbed COPP21), the returning Canadian delegation of 300 or so set to work to save the planet.

Most, or some, of the provincial sub nations have since mumbled in writing about enacting some form of financial carbon penalty on the consumer, with no agreement on the amount, nor the accountability of where the generated tax windfall will go!

 So the provincial plates were spinning out of control, and the audience, full of taxpayers, were watching them spin and waiting for them to smash up.

 Enter the master spin juggler, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

 Before the provincial environmental ministers could even find their seats at the national carbon meeting, he made the decision for them. This in ordering a meagre $10 per tonne floor price on carbon by 2018, increasing yearly to max out at $50 per tonne by 2050.

 The first target is exactly the same as announced by the vilified (by some) former Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.  

The second of $50 per tonne is all of $150 per tonne lower than the “experts” have calculated as the real 2050 number to save the planet. Lost in all of this chaos and confusion are the dates this is all going to happen, as it’s unlikely that we will maintain the same governance for the next three years let alone until 2050.

 Set the mile markers all you want Mr. Trudeau, you won’t even be in the race.

 Next of course will be the ego struggle between the provincial sub nation leaders and the head juggler himself.

 While this tax floor show is happening, what is not is investment in our energy sector. Take for instance, getting the crude out of the ground and into pipeline to tidewater, which is forever ebbing.

 Meanwhile, the US of A, with no carbon tax plan even remotely on the unseen horizon, merrily exports more and more refined product and crude through pipelines to its own tidewater for consumption at another foreign tidewater – a concept that is foreign to our head juggler who is about to let all of our economic plates crash to the ground.

 Exit stage left. This is one boring act.

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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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