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Some readers will recall I joined the Green Party last year.   And, no j/k, in  a few years, I hope to run for office.

I was reading up on some of their policy statements.  What do you think of this:
The Green Party of Canada believes that taxation policies should send a strong message about what we value as Canadians. Currently, many tax policies work at cross-purposes to stated policy goals. We claim to want to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions but we place very little monetary value on keeping the air we breathe and water we drink clean. Instead we tax things we say we want, such as employment and income, creating disincentives to maximizing social goods.

Green MPs will shift the burden of taxes to better reflect the priorities of Canadians:

  • carbon taxes will encourage Canadians to leave their cars at home and use public transit, walk or bicycle; upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes; and adjust their consumption in favour of greener products. Carbon tax revenues will be used to provide incentives for home energy retrofits, subsidies for public transit infrastructure, and reductions in taxes on employment and other socially desireable goods
  • a GST Health Benefit Reduction will be applied to those items deemed to have significant health benefit such as sports equipment, fitness centre fees, and some health promoting health services.
  • Corporate Health Tax Reduction for workplaces that institute a qualified workplace health model or comprehensive healthy workplace settings approach such as that offered by the National Quality Institute

Readers:  what do you think? To me, this is a no brainer.  Do you agree or disagree?

About the Author


Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com

6 Comments

  1. brad

    I’ve always agreed with this principle, but implementing it is tricky because it can be regressive. You have to find ways to ensure that low-income people who can least afford to make energy-efficiency improvements or buy a more efficient car are not unduly harmed by carbon taxes, and you also have to figure out ways to reduce the burden on companies whose business happens to be carbon-intensive (such as long-haul truckers).

    Years ago the Ontario government (under Bob Rae, if I remember correctly) enacted feebates to encourage purchases of fuel-efficient cars. You paid a surcharge if you bought a car whose fuel economy was below the standard, and the funds generated from those surcharges were used to pay rebates to people who bought cars whose fuel economy was above the standard. Great in theory, but I noticed that the policy didn’t last very long and met with a lot of opposition.

    The other tricky thing with revenue-neutral approaches like this, which use a financial stick to fund a financial carrot, is that eventually people start shifting toward the things you want to encourage and you no longer generate enough revenue from the bad stuff you’re taxing to fund the rebates for the good things you want to encourage.

    Those are all details, but they are the kinds of details that have made these programs challenging to implement elsewhere in the world.

    [Reply]

    Mar 27, 2009
  2. I don’t agree with a carbon tax for one reason. Driving to me is more than just getting from point A to point B, its how I relax, it is how I enjoy myself.
    I’m one of the only people I know who drive who still drives a truck and because of that I always get calls asking to help move someone or haul garbage to the dump.
    The only reason I would buy a car is to save my wallet on gas when I am just driving around for the fun of it. I could never give up having a truck, it is just to practical for my way of life.
    Although my view of vehicles isn’t all that environmentally friendly, I am all for a more efficiently run house. I have always enjoyed going to my cabin and one day hope to live out in the country so I am no stranger to Solar and Wind power. I don’t think it ever really occurred to me it was environmentally friendly, what I think hooked me on the idea was the fact I didn’t have to rely on anyone for anything. My goal would be to have a house running completely self sufficiently.

    My 2 cents.

    The Bushman’s last blog post..Whats Up March 26

    [Reply]

    Mar 27, 2009
  3. I don’t agree in a carbon tax. These sort of things never work out as expected and just end up being a cash with very little results to show for it .

    However I do believe the government can do more to help individuals live healthier lives. Discounts on fitness items would be a good start but they would probably need a watch dog group. The last thing you want is to give a $30 dollar tax break and to have a company raise their prices by $30.

    mfd’s last blog post..My Money Tree is Dying!

    [Reply]

    Mar 27, 2009
  4. Looby

    Interesting post and comments- like Bushman I love to drive and find it incredibly relaxing- when I was in university I used to get in the car the night before a big exam and drive for an hour or two to relax. Unlike Bushman I absolutely agree with the carbon tax- just because it is something I enjoy doesn’t mean that I don’t have to take some responsibility for the consequences and I feel it is only right to pay more for it.
    I like the idea of GST reduction on health promoting health services but I’m not sure how it would be implemented and which services you would suggest?

    [Reply]

    Mar 28, 2009
  5. I totally agree with the carbon tax.

    If you enjoy driving, then pay up.

    Poor bushman, how will he relax without being able to spew co2 in the air… why he might have to take yoga or something.

    This a prime example of self-indulgent, me-me-me crap that I’m sick of.

    Today on the subway I watched a hugely pregnant woman rubbing her belly in the noses of three able-bodied men, one of which was even blocking an empty seat to his left.

    BTW offering your seat in the subway to a pregnant woman does not make you only into a curteous person. It makes you into
    not-a-jerk.

    ioana’s last blog post..null

    [Reply]

    Mar 30, 2009
  6. I agree with carbon taxes from a strict policy standpoint. Operating a car or truck has an environmental cost. By not charging the car owner something to cover that cost we are put into a situation where the rest of us are subsidizing it, or worse yet left to deal with the nasty consequences of the emissions of millions of vehicles. So, if you make the tax high enough, people will be forced to make other choices and greenhouse gases are reduced.

    Of course, there have to be other choices. For too many Canadians and Americans car transport is the only practical way they have of getting to work, school or the grocery store. So if you tax up carbon without first or at least simultaneously providing alternatives then you are just increasing taxes without helping the overall environmental situation. Long before enough money has been raised by a carbon tax to make a real difference in transit infrastructure investment will have to be made out of the existing tax structure.

    And, the biggest problem with the carbon tax is always going to be political. People have a hell of a time making ends meet at the best of times. And this is sure not the best of times. The party with this in the platform is going to have a hard time getting support from the wide base of the Canadian public. The NDP in BC has learned this lesson well, and if you consider the environment to be a left of centre issue then the BC NDP is to the right of the BC Liberals on this.

    I really disagree with messing with the GST to promote any cause, no matter how noble. The beauty of the GST is its relative simplicity. For contrast, check out this excerpt from the BC PST FAQ for security companies, and tell me if a security company needs to have a full time PST lawyer on staff:

    Do I charge PST on repair parts for security systems?

    It depends. You charge PST on repair parts for security systems that are tangible personal property.

    However, repair parts for security systems that are improvements to real property are taxable to either you or the customer depending on the contract you have with your customer and when you entered into the contract.

    For contracts that you enter into before October 1, 2008, how you structure your contract determines whether you pay PST or you charge your customer PST. With a lump sum contract, you do not charge PST but you pay PST on the repair parts. With a time and materials contract, the general rule is that you charge PST on the repair parts but not on the labour to install them. However, there are some exceptions to the general rules (see
    Bulletin SST 072, Real Property Contractors).

    For contracts that you enter into on, or after, October 1, 2008, you pay PST on the repair parts unless you and your customer have agreed, in writing, that your customer pays the PST. For you to charge PST, the written contract or a separate written agreement must specifically state the value of the repair parts and that the customer is responsible for paying PST on this amount.

    For hybrid systems (both tangible personal property and improvements to real property), you separate the charges for the tangible personal property from the charges for the improvements to real property. You charge PST on the repair parts for the tangible personal property. If you do not know the exact price of the tangible personal property, you make a reasonable determination of the value. Repair parts for improvements to real property are taxable to either you or the customer, as explained in the paragraphs above.

    For a detailed explanation of the rules for real property contracts, please see Bulletin SST 072, Real Property Contractors.

    (Above excerpted from http://www.rev.gov.bc.ca/industry_specific/security/faq.htm)

    And on your final point – what’s a corporate health tax?

    [Reply]

    Mar 30, 2009

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