Liberal MPP stumbles over carbon tax

by Lee Greenberg, Ottawa Citizen
A Liberal gaffe on the energy file Tuesday opened the door to increased Tory speculation about potential tax hikes.  Brant MPP Dave Levac was forced to retract his comments on a possible carbon tax.  Levac, who was the parliamentary assistant to the energy minister in the last government, told a Brantford newspaper that a carbon tax was “being reviewed” by the Liberal government.

“Yes, there is a possibility that a carbon tax is on the table to evaluate because it presently is,” Levac said.

Hours later, he issued a statement saying he “misspoke.”

“I confused a cap-and-trade program with a carbon tax,” Levac said in the statement. “While a cap-and-trade system has been discussed, a carbon tax is not and has never been on the table. In fact, the premier has been clear and definitively ruled this out, permanently.”

Read more:

Chat with Dave Levac – Brantford Expositor

31 thoughts on “Liberal MPP stumbles over carbon tax

  1. Kiss another 300 000 jobs in Ontario goodbye. What’s McGuinty going to do hire 300 000 more civil sevants to offset. All we need in this province is more takers.

  2. statement at 5:12 says “a carbon tax is not on the table. it’s not in the platform, nor are we contemplating it”.

    Your editor is commended for creativity.

  3. Mark:

    You are absolutely right! You caught us red handed! Hands in the cookies jar — guilty. We lied, we were wrong. Oh woe is us!

    But, hang on! I think the person was quoting Julia Gillard.

    Remember Julia Gillard? The Australian PM who promised there would be no Carbon Tax for Australia? Kinda a promise like that I think.

    What happened when a minority government was formed? She jumped into bed with the Greens — and Voila — Instant Carbon Tax — and now it is to be embedded in Property Rights. Virtually impossible to remove from Australian Law.

    IT was Mark Dreyfus QC, Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change, who let the cat out of the bag.

    Once the carbon change legislation is in place, he said, repeal would amount to an acquisition of property by the commonwealth, as holders of emissions permits would be deprived of a valuable asset. As a result, the commonwealth would be liable, under s.51(xxxi) of the Australian Constitution, to pay compensation, potentially in the billions of dollars. A future government would therefore find repeal prohibitively costly.

    That consequence is anything but unintended. The clean energy legislation, released this week, specifically provides that “a carbon unit (its generic term for a right to emit) is personal property”.

    This, the government says, is needed to give certainty to long-term trades. But that claim makes little sense, for even without such protections there are flourishing markets for fishing quotas and other tradeable entitlements.

    Just sayin’

    Green Energy types and voters are a gullible lot…. whaddya think?

  4. Ya … here’s what he ‘clarified’
    Dave Levac: It’s being reviewed and some of my colleagues are more enthusiastic for it than others
    Our present policies are leading us to a carbon-footprint reduction already.
    At this time it’s not part of the platform.

    Dave Levac: Jim: Yes there is a possibility that a carbon tax is on the table to evaluate, because it presently is.

    The only thing he clarified is that he got a note to shut up about it within an hour of accidentally being honest.

    • At an all-candidates meeting, Liberal MPP and Minister of Agriculture Carol Mitchell admitted that if a Liberal government were re-elected, they may implement a cap and trade system after ‘consulting’ with business. Is this how the Liberals intend to pay for all their promises?

  5. What does it matter if its a carbon tax or cap-and-trade? Nowadays new taxes are anathema, but the presumed market-driven benefits of cap-and-trade are overwhelmed by the prospect of graft. No wonder Wall St is exited by the prospect.

    For most of us, it’s a matter of picking your poison. Either way, our money is diverted from useful endeavors into non-productive ones.

  6. While the Liberals are denying a carbon tax, they are not denying a cap and trade system. In fact, McGuinty has already signed up Ontario to the Western Climate Initiative. Environment Minister John Wilkinson stated that the Liberal government was still committed to WCI. I read a comment from Tom Adams that “OPA retains rights to all “environmental attributes” associated with the FIT projects. The OPA administrators deserve credit for pushing back against pressure from FIT developers to leave the value of potential future carbon credits with the developers.”

    So if the Liberal government implements cap and trade and has control of the money being made on carbon credits, how will these funds be spent? Anyone seen any figures on this issue?

    • I wrote on this back in February, and I’m not sure I’ve heard about it since.
      I would expect any revenue from environmental attributes would be given to political hacks: but I’d hope it would go into the global adjustment pot to lower rates.

      The price for the ‘renewables’ ends up being reflected through the GA, so this would seem sensible.
      But that doesn’t mean there is actually now, or will be in the future, value to the attributes:

      • The OPA almost certainly found out that the potential revenue from the sale of EAs would be 1 or 2 cents on the dollar and so the initiative has or will die a quiet death.


  7. Carbon tax or trading schemes were decisevely rejected by Canadian voters 2 federal elections ago. Surely Ont. voters are not dumb enough to fall for these scams again, when economic conditions are so shakey. Either way, it is another hidden tax, untill today part of McGuinty’s hidden agenda.

  8. Although my memory is not the best,I definately recall reading on several occassions, about the fact that Ontario signed on to the Western Climate Initiative, with California et al, and it will be fired up in Jan. 2012.
    That has been my understanding since hearing/reading about it, as I`ve not heard anything to the contrary since.So as far as I know It`s a go, 100% certain! And the Lying Liberals are actually proud of themselves, for screwing Ontarions yet again.I`m not sure why they`ve not mentioned it yet
    McGuinty deserves to be charged with High Treason and locked up!

    • Douglas:

      Google is your friend…

      Ontario joined in 2008.

      The Western Climate Initiative plans to lay the foundation for an international cap and trade program that would involve both the United States and Canada.[1] On September 23, 2008, the WCI released an outline for the implementation of its cap and trade proposal.[2] The first phase of this plan would be implemented on January 1, 2012, followed three years later by a broader cap on carbon emissions in 2015. Alberta and Saskatchewan object to cap and trade and in July 2008 called WCI’s plan a “cash grab by some of Canada’s resource-poor provinces.”[3]

      On 22 August 2007, the WCI set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15% from 2005 levels by 2020.[4]

      The persecution and demonization of harmless plant food must stop!

  9. It occurred to me that we really should not be looking at second hand information. Here is the scoop:

    What Ontario is doing

    Many jurisdictions around the world have already established, or are in the process of developing, GHG cap-and-trade programs. Ontario also recognizes that a cap-and-trade program can provide flexibility to industry while reducing admissions at a low cost.

    That’s why Ontario is working with other provinces and U.S. states through the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) to design a cap-and-trade system that will support the transition to a low-carbon economy and inform a broader, North American approach.

    WCI is a commitment by four Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario) and seven U.S. states (Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Montana) to work together to identify, evaluate and implement policies that tackle climate change at a regional level. This work includes designing a broad-based GHG cap-and-trade system.

    In December 2009, Ontario laid the foundation for a cap-and-trade system through enabling two pieces of legislation that require facilities to report greenhouse gas emissions:

    Just sayin’ — here it is right from the Horses mouth — or the other end perhaps…

    Not saying he’s a liar either — just saying that the facts and the speeches don’t seem to match up quite right.

    Maybe my reading skills aren’t quite what they used to be — maybe they are just fine. Probably my reading skills and my comprehension skills are better than that of Mark Bell — wind pusher extraordinaire — maybe not — you be the judge.

  10. Just so I don’t run afoul of wordpress here is link one:

    Bill 185, Environmental Protection Amendment Act (Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading), 2009

    An Act to amend the Environmental Protection Act with respect to greenhouse gas emissions trading and other economic and financial instruments and market-based approaches

    Note: This Act amends the Environmental Protection Act. For the legislative history of the Act, see the Table of Consolidated Public Statutes – Detailed Legislative History at


    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that was set up by the World Meteorological Organization and by the United Nations Environment Programme has concluded that warming of the climate system is unequivocal and that most of the observed increase in global average temperatures is due to human activities.

    Strong and sustained action is required to minimize the risks posed by climate change.

    Taking action now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is less costly than the potentially severe economic impacts that are risked by inaction. Cap and trade systems are flexible, market-based approaches that can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage technological innovation, economic growth and job creation.

    In June 2008, the governments of Ontario and Quebec agreed to collaborate on a greenhouse gas cap and trade initiative. In July 2008, Ontario joined the Western Climate Initiative, which also includes Arizona, British Columbia, California, Manitoba, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Quebec, Utah and Washington, in working on a regional cap and trade system. These linkages with other jurisdictions and a potential broader North American cap and trade system can provide emission reductions at lower cost, improve the pace of innovation and allow for larger trading volumes and improved liquidity.

    Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

    Jus’ quotin’ eh?

  11. Very interesting link, David. Basically, all the drivers of the economy will take a hit with this cap and trade system. I can’t believe this beast is lurking in the shadows and yet there is very little discussion of the impacts of this legislation on our entire way of life.

    • E01:

      I have linked to this before — I really did not think that people understood the implications. Maybe now…

      There really is no other justification for wind turbines other than CO2 Emission reduction. This legislation prepares the way, and you can bet that the the follow on piece of legislation to enable the whole works is waiting in the wings.

      Then we will have the Australian situation: A permanent crippling set of laws that drag down the entire Ontario economy for a completely bogus reason.

      It’s time to ask the questions of every Liberal MPP. Take a copy of the legislation, go to the riding meetings and ask them the purpose of the legislation. Ask them if MPPs are lying when they say there are no plans. Ask them why everything is in place.

      A vote for the Liberals or NDP, or the useless Greens is a vote for this legislation and the legislation which removes your property rights. (The re-write of the 550 M setback.)

      Wake up folks!

      Better to vote Freedom Party or Libertarian if you want to protest — but that might just allow a Green or an NDP to sneak in! They support these objectives! You could even expect to see more restrictive legislation if Greens or NDP held the balance of power. Social Justice my a$$!

      I have been telling people that a complete plan is needed — not just a desire to “slow down” wind turbine installation — this is why!

  12. This has been brewing for 10 years now.
    We have Richard Sandor is not at the Montreal Climate Exchange
    He is the “father” of ripping you off taxing the air your breathe.
    The Chicago Carbon Exchange was funded by the Joyce Foundation which also funds the USA Sierra Club… you can relate this to what Bennett is up to and why.
    Taxing air was lobbied for by Enron
    It is already a # trillion dollar market globally.
    Hudak better get on top of this issues.
    We must stop the Liberals and NDP !
    It is corporate welfare.
    Corporation that pollute come here make huge dollars in wind and solar then get credits towards their emissions in their industry. They are being rewarded for polluting
    It is Public Enemy Number One………………Wind ties in .
    You have to defeat Carbon taxing or Cap and Trade to defeat Wind

  13. Sorry eyes not that good…the NOT should NOT be there…sorry folks

  14. McGuinty has now admitted that the Liberals are looking at a cap and trade system for Ontario.

    “”But McGuinty said he believes that Ontario is poised to benefit from cap and trade because it has reduced significantly its reliance on coal-fired electricity generation, a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions.

    “We’ve got a big advantage and we’ve got to find a way to turn that into a financial advantage for Ontarians,” McGuinty said.”If we get the right kind of cap and trade, and we’re not going to get into a cap and trade system unless we get the right kind of cap and trade system, is one that’s going to benefit Ontarians.”

    • E01:

      Isn’t that like mulling over whether you would rather be burned at the stake, hung or drawn and quartered? Not my cup of tea — eh wot?

      • Or whether you want to be the world’s tallest midget?

  15. Brian Lilley Interviews Warren Kinsella.

    Will there be a Carbon Tax? Are these slips deliberate so that there is some discussion.

    Welllll…. my take on this is that McGuinty — it re-elected — will later claim that it was much discussed during the campaign and people were well aware that it was on the table — they just had not worked out the details and that therefore they had nothing to announce yet — and that’s all they were saying.

    You see –if it’s all in one sentence explained clearly and calmly it could all make sense.

    Do you trust Warren Kinsella? I’m thinking that he not only looks like the guy in Groundhog Day — I think this movie is starting to feel like Groundhog Fay. No new Taxes — read my lips. Sure!

    Am I too cynical? Anyone else feel the same?

    Most of the legislation is in place — see above.

  16. The effect of a Caron Tax

    B.C. residents face another across-the-board increase in fuel taxes in what’s become a Canada Day convention.

    The province’s carbon tax on gasoline, diesel and all oil-based fuels, as well as natural gas and coal, has jumped every July 1 since 2008.

    Friday’s increase adds another 1.11 cents per litre to gasoline prices and another 1.15 cents per cubic metre on natural gas.

    The gasoline carbon tax now totals 5.56 cents on every litre. It will rise another 1.11 cents to 6.67 cents per litre July 1, 2012 — the last year of the increases in the current legislation.

    The purpose of the tax is to encourage energy conservation in order to fight global warming.

    And the tooth fairy will leave you money tonight!

  17. If you think Ontario is a have-not province now, just wait until cap and trade or a carbon tax is introduced. Between cap and trade/carbon tax, the price of electricity and taxes in general you’ll see even MORE businesses leave Ontario. To fix this, vote PC.

    No excuse not to vote. Lots of early voting stations on lots of dates and from something like 10 am- 8 pm. And of course on Oct. 6 as well.

    • We too have recently discovered the Melancthon-Dufferin Windpower plans.
      We were disappointed to find out that our 1 acre property will be surrounded by a minimum of 12 Turbines. It was surprising as well to see both the size and the positioning of the project. It overlays the Melancthon Mega Quarry site perfectly. Perhaps just an odd coincidence. We were told at the Dufferin Power information session that yes it is not fair to “small homesteaders” (yes that is what they called us), but that is just the way it is. In other words, suck it up and live with it. The present plan for this project calls for 50-60 turbines to be installed. Do not be fooled. Many of the local farmers (and our complaint is not with them) have signed up and invested (they thought) in the project formerly headed by 401 energy. One of the stipulations of signing up and investing in the project was agreeing to reduce the setback from 550 meters to 125 meters. Then 401 energy ended up selling to a large Chinese conglomerate that is funded in part by the Chinese government. Control of the project and funds of the investors have been put in jeopardy. The present plan has the Turbines complying with the regulated 550 meter requirement (regardless of investors waiving this requirement). Once (if) this project gets approved, don’t be too surprised to see a second row of turbines in the 125 meter range from the initial investors. We were approached to invest and said no. The pitch to us was; for a nominal investment of $3000 we could get an annual return for the next 15 years of $2000. The reduction of setbacks never came up until I asked. The “pitch” had the same “flavor” of the spam emails we all get from places of Nigeria. Sadly some fall for these as well.
      Yet in spite of not signing up to the wind project, the present plan shows the highest concentration of turbines around us……coincidence I suppose.
      We are not against “green energy”. We are against having it rammed down our throats however.
      The government for the people is where??!!!!

  18. They had to burn the village to save it from global warming

    McGuinty has said that Ontario only lacks a “suitable partner” to implement the Carbon Cap and Trade program (or a Carbon Tax). I have a modest Suggestion: New Forests Company.

    The company [involved], New Forests Company, grows forests in African countries with the purpose of selling credits from the carbon-dioxide its trees soak up to polluters abroad. Its investors include the World Bank, through its private investment arm, and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, HSBC.

    In 2005, the Ugandan government granted New Forests a 50-year license to grow pine and eucalyptus forests in three districts, and the company has applied to the United Nations to trade under the mechanism. The company expects that it could earn up to $1.8 million a year.

    In 2005, the Ugandan government granted New Forests a 50-year license to grow pine and eucalyptus forests in three districts, and the company has applied to the United Nations to trade under the mechanism. The company expects that it could earn up to $1.8 million a year.

    But there was just one problem: people were living on the land where the company wanted to plant trees. Indeed, they had been there a while.

    “They said if we hesitated they would shoot us,” said William Bakeshisha, adding that he hid in his coffee plantation, watching his house burn down. “Smoke and fire.”

    New Forest Company Makes the following Claim on their Web Site:

    The New Forests Company is a UK-based sustainable and socially responsible forestry company with established, rapidly growing plantations and the prospect of a diversified product base for local and regional export markets which will deliver both attractive returns to investors and significant social and environmental benefits.

    Reality is quite different from the missions statement. They should be a perfect partner for McGuinty.

    It looks like a match made in heave, Ruthless methods for a pointless project.

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