Benjamin Thibault Profile picture
Aug 21, 2018 20 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
It’s important for people to understand the substance of the Saskatchewan carbon price reference case that Jason Kenney supports. Let’s start with a few accurate premises, then draw some logical conclusions about Kenney’s positions.
See:… #ableg #abpoli
Premise #1: SK’s case DOES NOT argue that Gov’t of Canada (GoC) lacks the jurisdiction to price carbon.
Premise #2: Indeed, SK accepts that GoC has the jurisdiction to price carbon across Canada (as virtually everyone does, see… ).
(2a): on this point, para. 39 is explicit: “[SK] would have no constitutional objection if the federal government adopted a national carbon tax that applied uniformly all across the country.”
(2b): so, to be clear: SK's case does NOT contend that Ottawa can’t apply a national carbon tax. It admits explicitly that it can. #ableg #abpoli
Premise #3: SK’s case makes no argument that the GoC should not price carbon across Canada or that it is bad – that’s explicitly not what their case is about (para. 1).
Premise #4: SK’s case acknowledges that the federal legislation it is fighting WILL NOT apply a federal carbon tax in provinces that meet certain standards with their own carbon price (para. 11).
Premise #5: Alberta’s carbon price WILL meet the benchmark and avoid the federal “backstop”. See:…
Premise #6: The central tenet of SK’s case is that the federal “backstop” legislation is constitutionally illegitimate specifically because it does not apply in provinces that DO use carbon pricing (see para. 13), like Alberta.
Premise #7: Carbon price revenue collected by Ottawa will then be spent by Ottawa. See:…
Premise #8: It is far better for Alberta’s economy, residents and industry if decisions around reinvestment of carbon revenue are made in Alberta, by Albertans – and not by Ottawa. (See: All federal-provincial relations in Alberta’s history). #ableg #abpoli
Premise #9: There is a strong consensus among free-market economists that carbon pricing is the most effective and efficient form of climate action – plans developed without carbon pricing will result in higher, though more hidden (less transparent) costs.
Conclusion: in supporting SK’s reference case, Jason Kenney concedes that the GoC can price carbon across Canada (Premises 1-3), ...
... and argues that to implement carbon pricing, GoC MUST impose its carbon tax in Alberta, collect the revenues from Alberta’s economy, and decide how to reinvest the $ from Ottawa (Premises 4-7).
Ergo, Jason Kenney wishes to hurt Alberta’s economy by demanding that Trudeau either take far more costly climate action (Premise 9) or make Alberta’s carbon $ reinvestment decisions in Ottawa (Premise 8).
If we’re to believe that Kenney’s position is, instead, against any carbon tax from Ottawa, there are two major questions he must answer:
1) that is not what this case argues, it actually asks that any Ottawa carbon pricing MUST apply to Alberta, so why does he want to use millions of taxpayer dollars to wage the legal battle?; and
2) what climate action does he propose and how much MORE will it cost for Albertans and our industry?
[Side note]: SK’s arguments are extremely weak. They make off as if an approach that allows provinces to choose their own carbon pricing system is somehow a greater affront to federalism than imposing a nation-wide carbon price.
It’s really intellectually painful to read a bunch of rhetoric about the virtues of cooperative federalism in a piece that argues that nation-wide imposition would be constitutional, but not a system that allows provinces to chart their own course.

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More from @ThibaultBen

Aug 26, 2018
To understand the kind of politics we're in for with a Kenney-led conservative campaign coming, let's take a short jaunt down memory lane: the fake citizenship ceremony saga.… #ableg #abpoli
1. In 2012, Kenney was adamant about holding a citizenship ceremony at now-defunct Sun News TV's ("Fox News North") studio. Sun Media demanded that bureaucrats comply.
2. We're left to speculate as to why. To boost ratings with their flagging TV network? To give Kenney an uncritical platform to woo cultural communities? To distance their brand from Kenney-friend and host Ezra Levant's racist screeds?
Read 13 tweets
Aug 3, 2018
1. @jkenney and #UCP are supporting SK’s challenge, which argues that fed carbon price can only be constitutional if it applies to every province, incl Alberta, not just those without their own price, like SK and ON. #ableg #abpoli
2. In other words, Kenney isn’t just proposing to waste AB’s $ on lawyers to fight a legal loser: he’s demanding that Ottawa collect carbon charges in Alberta, not just SK & ON. #abpoli
3. I’m not kidding. The fight Kenney wants to wage is to demand Ottawa extend its carbon price collection to Alberta, instead of exempting Alberta from Ottawa’s tax in favour of a made-in-Alberta design that accounts for Alberta’s unique circumstances.
Read 7 tweets
May 8, 2018
1. Let's put this in context. In Cabinet in Ottawa, Jason Kenney agreed to Canada's Paris climate targets, the same targets we still have. (Toronto Sun:…). #ableg #abpoli #abclimate #cdnpoli
2. Mr. Kenney has been waging an all-out rhetorical assault on carbon pricing, claiming they're ineffective and costly. The vast majority of economists of all stripes disagree: they are the lowest-cost, most efficient policy for addressing climate change.
3. Mr. Kenney apparently also disagrees now, realizing that as a free-market conservative who professes to believe in climate change, he HAS to support carbon pricing. #ableg #abpoli
Read 12 tweets

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