Carbon Tax Shell Game

On Saturday, the Ontario PC Party's $199 "pep" rally, that was dressed up to look like a "policy convention", saw the release of Patrick Brown's election platform.

At the top of the list was Brown's purported "guarantee" to lower middle income taxes by 22.5% - according to the PCs this would cost the government $3.27 billion a year in foregone revenue by the time they'd be fully implemented in the 2021-22 fiscal year.

But as it turns out, the "tax cut" is not a "tax cut", at all!

As Jessica Smith Cross (QP Briefing) writes, Brown's plan to replace Kathleen Wynne's "cap-and-trade" carbon tax with an even more expensive "Justin Trudeau style" carbon tax, "would also bring in significantly more money, according to the PCs — $2.4 billion more than cap and trade would by the 2021-22 fiscal year," adding "that extra cash would be how the tax breaks in the platform are funded..." (emphasis added).

A further review shows that Brown's election platform might also be under-reporting the government revenue he claims he will generate with his "Justin Trudeau style" carbon tax.

An EnviroEconomics study released on November 15, 2017 revealed that implementing a straight carbon tax in Ontario following Justin Trudeau's carbon price benchmark would result in a higher carbon price and more carbon revenues than Kathleen Wynne's current "cap-and-trade" scheme. Their report (which is also cited in Brown's election platform) found that by 2022, Ontario government revenues under a "direct" carbon tax would be $5.1 billion - compared to the $1.86 billion generated under Kathleen Wynne's "cap-and-trade" scheme.

That's an increase in government revenues under Patrick Brown's Carbon Tax plan of $3.24 billion by 2022. Conveniently, that is almost the exact number of $3.27 billion, Brown is promising, in his "tax cut."

So, it appears, most, if not all, of Brown's "tax cut", is actually a shell game funded by Brown first increasing taxes in the form of a "Justin Trudeau style" carbon tax plan.

Martin Regg Cohn of the left wing and liberal Toronto Star - which Brown and his team unbelievably chose to give exclusive coverage of their election platform to - described Brown's carbon tax and election platform as a continuation of Kathleen Wynne's Liberal government vision of Ontario in his column:

Underpinning the PC platform is not just continuity but surprising congruency with the existing order. Yes, Brown wants to dump Wynne’s complex cap-and-trade regime for what his team describes as a “Trudeau” carbon tax emanating from Ottawa. But the bottom line is that Brown has dragged his fellow Tories (some kicking and screaming) into the world of climate change by finally putting a price on carbon, one way or another. (Fun fact: Taking a page from the Trudeau campaign book, Brown would also declare a deficit in the first year of his mandate to clean up the books he believes the Liberals have cooked.)

Robert Benzie (Toronto Star) reported that this Patrick Brown Carbon Tax plan was "such a contentious position in Conservative circles that convention organizers banned longtime PC activist Jim Karahalios, head of the grassroots Axe the Carbon Tax group, from attending Saturday’s event."

At the event, party officials first told me I was no longer a member and then told me that I was forbidden from paying $1,000 to enter as a "non-member observer" - a category that even members of the Ontario Liberal Party are entitled to register under. Not only was I banned from entering the building, I was told by Dimitri Soudas that my presence would be considered as "trespassing"! Yes, that Dimitri Soudas, who you might remember as recently as 2015 purchased a membership and was a card carrying member of the Liberal Party of Canada, told me, who has only been a member of one provincial party in my life (the Ontario PC Party), that I was "trespassing" at a PC Party event. For more on the unprecedented and extraordinary steps party officials took to revoke my party membership and ban me from entering their "convention" sign up and join the campaign to Take Back Our PC Party. 

Contentious indeed!

Without a "Justin Trudeau style" carbon tax in his election platform, Brown would not be able to fund the "tax cut" that he highlights at the top of his election platform, as well as all the other spending promises, without running Ontario into an even greater deficit.

It's no wonder, Brown has been willing to go to war with his own PC party members on the issue, while ignoring the multiple polls showing that the vast majority of Ontario voters, PC or otherwise, are against a carbon tax.

If Brown and his team had allowed for a properly constituted policy convention to take place, pursuant to the PC constitution, any PC member could have brought forward a policy proposal against the carbon tax, for consideration at convention. This may have resulted in the end of the Patrick Brown Carbon Tax dream and with that, all of its government revenue!

That was a risk that Brown and his team could not take!

Instead, Brown and the PC Party Executive decided to ignore the policy process mandated under the PC Party constitution and make up their own online process.

But that wasn't enough to ensure that Brown's dream of a "Justin Trudeau style" Carbon Tax would survive the scrutiny of the PC grassroots. Next, Brown declared that a vote on a carbon tax would be "off limits" - despite the fact that Brown has no such power under the PC party constitution.

He then pleaded with the PC party executive during one of their meetings, to implement a new "rule" to their policy process that gave him a "veto" over any policy proposal he did not like - even though such "veto" is contrary to the PC constitution - and the PC executive obliged!

Click here to read more on my concerns about violations of the PC constitution regarding the policy process as outlined in my letter to the PC Party executive.

So, Brown and the PC party executive, took five extraordinary steps to protect Brown's "Justin Trudeau style" carbon tax from the scrutiny of the PC grassroots:

1. Allowing for the creation of a new online policy process to replace the mandatory policy convention required under the PC Party constitution;
2. Denying the rights of PC party members to put forward policy proposals against a carbon tax at a properly constituted policy convention;
3. Ordering that policy proposals against the carbon tax would be "off limits" and declaring that Brown himself had a "veto" over any policy he did not agree with - contrary to the PC constitution;
4. Proposing a policy in favour of a "Justin Trudeau style" carbon tax that doesn't even mention the name "Trudeau" or the word "tax" in it; pretending that the participation of PC members who considered the policy was "the most exhaustive" in the party's history; all while concealing the abysmally low number of PC members who voted (rumoured to be less than 2,000); and
5. Revoking my PC Party membership and banning me, the founder of AxeTheCarbonTax, from the rally.

That's the real five point that Patrick Brown unveiled this weekend - the five steps of a weak leader.

And in that, Brown put together an election platform that is in fact, a carbon tax "shell game"!

In contrast, Jason Kenney and Brad Wall have each shown strong leadership in deciding to stand up and publicly fight against Justin Trudeau's untested claim that the prime minister has the right to unilaterally impose a carbon tax on every single province, whether they like it or not.

Kenney and Wall have also refused to bend to Trudeau's demands - which as of right now remain chest thumping exercises. That's because Trudeau has yet to pass or even propose any such federal law imposing a carbon tax on the provinces.

Brown on the other hand, has shown just how weak a leader he is. He has conceded all provincial jurisdiction on a carbon tax to Justin Trudeau, and embraced the Justin Trudeau-Kathleen Wynne vision for Ontario.

Like every other liberal politician, Patrick Brown is depending on the "Justin Trudeau style" carbon tax to bring him the money he desperately needs - not to help the environment but to help pay for all of his expensive election promises.

Jim Karahalios

P.S. If you are concerned about Patrick Brown's sabotage of the Ontario PC Party and want to help fix it, 
CLICK HERE and join thousands of others who have already joined the movement to Take Back Our PC Party!

CLICK HERE to chip in $25, $50, or $100, and help me continue the fight to Axe the Carbon Tax!

Levi Breederlandontario