In Manitoba, two carbon taxes, one giant racket!

Manitoba premier Brian Pallister has done it, yet again.

He's rolled out the door mat for Justin Trudeau's carbon tax - both versions! 

As I previously wrote in the Financial Post, most of the provinces, including some led by Liberal premiers, are pushing back against Trudeau's "direct" carbon tax and his acceptable alternative - the "cap and trade" carbon tax.

Brian Pallister, on the other hand, is moving in the opposite direction on the issue. Yesterday, Pallister's government announced that Manitoba will soon be home to not only one, but both, of Justin Trudeau's carbon taxes!

Soon enough, all Manitobans will be on the receiving end, as consumers, of a "direct" carbon tax set at $25 per tonne for the fuel they need to get to work and to heat their homes.

But that wasn't enough for Pallister.

His government announced that Manitoba's six largest corporate emitters (Koch Fertilizer Canada, TransCanada Pipelines, Graymont, Canadian Kraft Papers, Husky Oil, and Vale) will all be exempt from the "direct" carbon tax that everyone else will have to pay.

Instead, these six corporations will have a separate "cap-and-trade" style carbon tax scheme in place, just for them.

But why?

If the $25 per tonne "direct" carbon tax that Manitobans will have to pay is necessary, why would there need to be a second carbon tax scheme for six of the province's largest corporations?

The only logical reason to have a second and separate regime, is so those six corporations could pay less than the $25 per tonne that everyone else in Manitoba is going to be forced to pay.

If Pallister's intention was for those six corporations to pay more or the same "direct" carbon tax as everyone else, there wouldn't need to be a second and separate regime.

But wait.

It gets better.

Not only does Pallister want these six corporations to pay less, Pallister also wants to give these six corporations a chance to make money off of his carbon tax racket - paid for by regular Manitobans!

You see, Pallister's "cap-and-trade" style scheme will allow him to set the "cap" at any level he wants on these six corporations.

And if the "cap" is set low enough, these six corporations will be able to profit from Pallister's racket.

Here's the proof.

In the Manitoba government's "discussion paper" (click here), the Pallister government states that the emission levels of the six corporations have been "fairly stable" since 2006 and there is no reference to the targets or "caps" that will be applied to each of them.

The "discussion paper" then states that any of the six-corporations that emit less than their "cap" will be able to "bank" or "sell" their allowances.

Six large corporations, making "bank" off the taxpayer, in Manitoba!

This racket might be so good for big business in Manitoba, that in future years, other corporations will be able to "opt in" to this second "cap-and-trade" style scheme.

Opt in?

To a carbon tax?

The only reason a corporation would "opt in" to a second carbon tax regime, would be to avoid paying the first "direct" carbon tax at $25 per tonne, or to even possibly get some taxpayer money coming back to them.

Back when I was writing about former Ontario PC Party leader Patrick Brown's carbon tax plans, I said that Brown was planning on taxing Ontario consumers with a "direct" carbon tax so that he could give hand outs to big businesses in Ontario in the form of corporate welfare.

Thankfully in Ontario, we never did have to see Brown's plan come to fruition.

But who would've thought back then, Manitoba premier Brian Pallister would come up with something even worse.

One carbon tax scheme for regular Manitobans.

A separate "cap-and-trade" style carbon tax scheme for six of the biggest corporations in Manitoba to make "bank" off the taxpayer.

Two carbon taxes.

One giant racket.

Jim Karahalios

Levi Breederlandmanitoba