Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Axe The BC Gas Tax protest on Facebook takes off - join the growing opposition before July 1

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column

Tuesday June 17, 2008

Anger fuels gas tax protest

Anti-tax Facebook group swells to 2,100

This stupid tax so targets the little guy....us mere 'mortals'.

- Kathie McDiarmid Dierk, Vancouver, on Facebook

As the price of gas at the pumps continues to rise, Premier Gordon Campbell and Finance Minister Carole Taylor are starting to sweat.

That's because when their crazy new carbon tax is added to already outrageously high gasoline prices, Campbell and Taylor will likely be responsible for B.C. crossing the unreal threshold of regular gas costing you $1.50 per litre.

And that's a big reason why our "Axe the B.C. Gas Tax" protest group on Facebook has grown in one short week from me being the only member to about 2,100 members. [NOTE - Make that 2,400 members as of early afternoon!]

So if you think the new gas tax of 2.4 cents a litre starting on July 1 should be dropped - please go on the Internet to www.facebook.com and join this protest.

Just type in "Axe The BC Gas Tax" - no periods after B or C - and you'll be there. Or search my name. [NOTE: Unfortunately you need to use the capital letters as I have as well.]

If you aren't a Facebook member, it's free and easy to join.

But Facebook isn't the only place where British Columbians are fighting the gas tax.

The NDP is launching its own campaign against the gas tax, with MLA John Horgan saying: "The new tax is unfair, is hurting consumers and public services, and won't reduce greenhouse gases. It's time for Gordon Campbell to scrap the tax and provide real solutions."

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation also is against the gas tax.

"This so-called revenue neutral carbon tax will be anything but neutral for individuals, businesses and industries," says CTF B.C. director Maureen Bader, adding that the government has "lost its way."

The Vancouver Province newspaper said in an editorial headline: "Campbell must back off gas tax."

Dozens of northern B.C. municipalities have passed resolutions denouncing the gas tax as unfair.

"The last thing the trucking industry needs is higher fuel costs and more fuel taxes," says Canadian Trucking Alliance president David Bradley.

The gas tax means more expensive food, since much of ours is trucked in.

And it means other cost increases, some of which are already coming before the gas tax has even been imposed.

Taxi rates will jump 3.5% in July to cover rising fuel charges, while BC Ferries is looking at another fuel surcharge as well.

But what's really driving the protests is the simple fact that since October 2007, gas prices in B.C. have gone up 45 cents a litre! Check out those increases for yourself at the website www.vancouvergasprices.com

And as Kathie said on my Facebook group, it's the little guy who will be hurt by this stupid gas tax - let's get more people telling that to Gordon Campbell!

B.C. GAS TAX FACTS

- B.C.'s new carbon tax will increase gasoline prices by 2.4 cents per litre July 1 and increase each year until it reaches an extra 7.25 cents per litre by 2012

- The tax applies to a variety of carbon-based fuels, including gasoline, diesel, heating oil, natural gas and propane

- Statistics Norway reports that country's carbon tax - the highest in the world and five times higher than B.C.'s starting tax - has only reduced CO2 emissions by 2 per cent since 1991

- The B.C. government will raise an additional $1.8 billion over three years with the carbon tax

- A one-time $100 "Climate Action Credit" cheque B.C. residents will receive from the government in June will cost $440 million

- Most of the remaining extra revenue pays for tax cuts, with $415 million going to cut corporate taxes and $255 million to cut small-business taxes, and tax cuts for individuals along with a low-income tax credit

- Federal Liberal Leader Stephane Dion plans to propose a national carbon tax, which is supported by the Green party and opposed by the Conservative and NDP parties

- Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan have all rejected the idea of a provincial carbon tax while Quebec has a one-cent-per litre tax that applies to petroleum companies directly.

22 comments:

DPL said...

Everything will cost more. For example Air Canada due to rising fuel cost is laying off 2,000 people. Truck sales are down. The ferry system is going for an will get another fuel surcharge, and on it goes. It's not all because BC is bringing in a new tax but since fuel in Victoria is now 146.9 for the lowest grade, and all stations here change the same amount , every couple of cents really hurt.It's time to run Gordo out of town on a rail

DPL said...

Mike Smyth has a article in The Proince today with cooments from readers. I took a quick look and found little support for the tax.

A.G. Tsakumis said...

B.C.'s Gas tax to combat climate change is nothing but a mega-tonne contribution to an already burgeoning hot air problem.


It won't make one sniff of a difference to any climate change plan and has already spawned a whole series of shameless "fuel" fees from businesses most affected ranging from taxis to transportation companies. For example, to the already ailing logging and transport industry in this Province (particularly on the Island) it serves as yet another casket hinge. In the North and the Interior, British Columbians are already typically paying 20% more in energy costs. This only adds to their family's burden.


Revenue neutral, my ass.


But Carole James' renarkable inability to capitalize on this major punitive blunder by the Provincial Govt, is further proof, that if Gordon Campbell is punished for this in the next election, we will be electing yet another fool as Premier.


A. G. Tsakumis

North Van's Grumps said...

Hmmmmmm Axe the Carbon Tax you say.

If you really want to get angry at Gordon, Carole and the BC Liberals, you have to ask yourself why there is a Motor Fuel Tax AND a Provincial Sales Tax on our motor fuel.

The Motor Fuel Tax, once its in the hot hands of the Minister of Finance, is split in two (proportions unknown) and branded "provincial" and "dedicated" taxes. The "provincial" portion goes to general revenue and helps pay for a wide range of government programs, such as health care and education. The "dedicated" portion goes to the BC Transportation and Financing Authority, Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority and the BC Transportation Authority to help finance transportation projects in various parts of the province.

NOTE: In Gordon Campbell's Sunday morning rant in the Vancouver Province newspaper he said "we will continue to invest every penny collected in fuel tax to improving our transportation network across B.C."

Can you feel the provincial treasurer's knife in your back yet, well here's the twist of the blade, the Provincial Sales Tax is collected as "an important source of funding which is used to support British Columbia's roads, schools, hospitals and other community services."

Now doesn't that mean that taxes at the pump are being collected twice, for the same reason? eg. government programs ("other community services"), hospitals ("health"), education ("schools")


For a more in depth look at other Consumer taxes Campbell is collecting, check out his BC government Website.

Anonymous said...

The carbon tax is a costly waste of time.

Yah, I believe in Global Warming: post Ice Age warming. However, humans are hardly to blame for same. Over 99% of CO2 releases are from the oceans. We can't prevent that. In the interest of health, we need to control local emissions, especially where same can be trapped by thermal inversion. However, most of what I have been reading by Al Gore and others, is: profit motivated alarmism. See the BBC's "The Global Warming Scam" for a rejoinder to horrible reportage. Warming phenomena has produced a bureacracy; bureaucracies do what they have to in order to survive.

Gary E said...

Sorry dpl. You might not have heard. Campbell gave away our railway. So we don't have a rail on which we can run him out of town.
I'll repeat here. The biggest farce about this tax other than it will do nothing but line the pockets of the government is the fact that they have stalled the cap and tax for big business. I submit that this stall will continue until after the next election. If Gordo wins, that cap and tax will never happen. You and I will pay forever and big business gets a free ride.

BenParsons said...

The reason why the NDP cannot "capitalize" as Mr Tsakumis suggests, is because the idea is extremely popular with Canadians, and even moreso with British Columbians.

The NDP is way, way behind the curve in its ability to produce serious modern policy (as opposed to rehashed versions of failed legislation of decades past).

The public is far ahead of the political class on the issue of the environment. In fact, polling indicates that a carbon tax could be implemented without the augmenting income tax cut, and still be accepted by the electorate.

The funny thing is, on an issue where the NDP was fairly robust just a few years ago, they have begun to sound like Tories. I have even heard some climate change denial talking points coming from the far left-- who would have thought?

This is the nail in the coffin for the BC-NDP in 09. What fleeting hope they had for any electoral success has been crushed by this monumental miscalculation on the public mood.

DPL said...

Sorry about the rail, but there still a few around. Of course I'm aware to the giveaway of BC Rail for the next thousand years or so.Plus other giveaways by Gordo.
Take a look at David Shrecks thoughts on the subject at Strategic Thoughts. He reminds us as well that Bill T. has a face book on the subject. I disagree that the opposition is late in entering the discussion. Momenentum is building. What are your options? Hold your nose and vote Gordo or vote for the opposition. The Greens talk big but don't elect anyone. The next election will be no different. so there are choices and I just metnioned them. Ben says the idea is popular with BC folks. The polls indicate otherwise. Most people nevr at first bothered to see what Gordo's last vision was just another tax grab.

DPL said...

Take a quick look at The vancouver sun V. Palmers column today and ask the supporters of the tax here, just where they are getting their numbers of support from? Gordos office maybe?:
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/columnists/story.html?id=0329b877-e8a6-4883-b313-b143edd401e0

Anonymous said...

New poll out today with a way larger sample size than other previous polls - it's also not sponsored by an enviro group - just the polling company so much more fair saying the majority of BC either strongly opposes, or opposes Campbell's tax.
Don't know where Ben Parsons sees this support.

Antony Hodgson said...

Bill may be right that the size of the gas tax will be relatively ineffective in triggering conservation behaviour, and it's undoubtedly true that applying a stick (tax) without a carrot (reasonable alternatives) will produce little change in behaviour (eg, taxing car use without improving transit infrastructure), but that doesn't mean that the idea is completely wrong-headed.

If one accepts that we need to decrease our CO2 production (apparently not every reader of this page accepts this - eg, anonymous - , but so be it), then some combination of two things have to happen - the costs of CO2 production to those responsible have to increase and/or the costs of the alternatives have to decrease. Given that most of the alternatives to using fossil fuels are still more expensive, decreasing the costs of the alternatives involves subsidies, which have to be funded from some form of tax. It therefore seems reasonable to raise some or most of the taxes required by taxing CO2 production (or a good surrogate - oil consumption).

It's perfectly fair to criticize a tax that falls primarily on private consumers, rather than industrial consumers, and I have to admit that I don't know whether or not industrial users have to pay this tax on their use of oil, but in any case, transportation accounts for the lion's share of oil use in Canada - 2500 pentajoules vs about 1000 PJ for industrial, commercial and residential use, according to Natural Resources Canada, and 1400 PJ is related to passenger transport. The tax should therefore apply to about 2/3rds of the oil consumed even if industry is excluded (which I agree they shouldn't be).

It's also perfectly fair to ask if the less well off will be disproportionately affected by this tax. At $600M/year for 4M British Columbians, this works out to $150 per capita on average on an average per capita fuel bill of about $9000 (based on a ratio of $1.50 per litre for every 2.4c/l you pay in tax). I doubt that the average poor person is paying anywhere close to $9000/year for oil products - wealthy people consume more, both directly and through the products they consume, so they will on average pay considerably more per capita in gas taxes than less well off people. However, I agree with critics who say that the across the board cut in income taxes will disproportionately favour the well off since they have a higher base income, though I can imagine reasonable modifications that will restore this balance (eg, refundable tax credits on a per capita basis) that a smart opposition party might consider promoting.

I think the reaction against the gas tax is less about the impact of the tax itself ($150 per capita) than it is about the impact of higher gas prices (up 40c/litre in the past few months). This has a per capita impact of thousands of dollars, and unfortunately the government can't do much about that as it's fundamentally due to rapidly approaching limits on fuel production (ie, peak oil production).

Our response should therefore be to ask how quickly and cost-effectively we can shift our energy production to renewable sources and where we can get the money to do this. I'd therefore encourage Bill to not simply criticize the new gas tax and raise anger about it, but to also put forward some well-thought-out alternatives, recognizing that costs at least comparable with the revenues from the gas tax will likely have to be borne. Who does he propose pay those costs and how?

Anonymous said...

The fashionable BC Minister from Holt-Refrew has spent her life keeping her vast shoe inventory and image always polished and prim.

With the Gordon Cambell Carbon Tax Grab, she now has "more than carbon" stuck to her $1,000.00 shoes and her BC princess reputation.

That's what happens when you get to close too Gordo, just ask Gary, Christy & Judith and of course Dave Basi who now know poop not only hits the fan . . . it sticks !

The GREAT SATAN

dg said...

It is time for the BC NDP and BC Conservatives to finally merge and stop splitting the right!

Now aren't we glad that Carole James finally stands up to the Suzukis and Gore's of the world and fight for the rights of SUV owners.

BC has moved too far to the left, and finally Carole James has come to her senses. Instead of fighting with the Greens and Liberals for the progressive vote, she can come out swinging against the climate action plan and having Mike Farnsworth lead the way with new tough on crime initiatives.

tinaz said...

All that it is, is more tax and nothing to do with the environment.

People eat better food, exercise more, and look after their immediate surroundings better than in the past, but there are more people dying of cancer.

Gordon Campbell and Carole Taylor need to know that their way of doing business, like Mayor Sam Sullivan, only damages this beautiful province.

I am against any taxes, and certainly the carbon tax is meant to take away more from the poor to put more in the pockets of the rich.

Bill, after you tackle the gas tax, you should consider tackling cell tower antennas that are being installed in the city of Vancouver at an alarming rate.

How about asking Bell Mobility to get approval to install cell antennas on some liberals' roof top and see whether they would feel safe and secure?

The hypocrisy of some government officials is so blatant since on one hand they pretend to care about the environment and on the other hand environment Minister John Baird claimed that "Environment Canada has no regulations in place to protect the environment from the effects of electro magnetic radiation.” and Dr. George Carlo, a leading authority on the dangers of radio frequency radiation, says that wireless technology is the most serious threat that we will face in this lifetime, in terms of our health and environment.

So, let's ask our government officials to cease playing with our lives by trying to sell us a tax that won't do nothing more than put more money in the pockets of the rich.

Tina Z

Anonymous said...

Alex T and Bill T,

Gordo's carbon tax was made possible by an astute political calculation: no sane person opposed to more taxes is going to actually vote for the NDP.

The correctness of his view is shown by the latest Ipsos poll: 59% of British Columbians oppose the carbon tax, but that isn't driving them to vote NDP. Bluntly, Campbell can get away with this reprehensible tax grab because the NDP has no credibility opposing it. Campbell calculated a minimal political fallout, and so far, he's right. He can implement his "I'm as green as Schwartzenegger" ego trip without losing votes.

The only way to stop this madness would be to give voters the opportunity to oppose the carbon tax without supporting the NDP. Alex, you're right. Punishing Gordon Campbell by electing Carole James is not an idea palatable to British Columbians opposed to the carbon tax.

So, with the preamble out of the way, I ask, would either of you consider running as an independent, or third party candidate in the Vancouver Fairview By-Election?
Name your conditions.

tinaz said...

There is an article on world net daily, entitled,"Scientist: 'Global warming'
scheme to push global tax
Blames U.N. for using scare reports,
'mob rule,' to bully through agenda"

http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=
PAGE.printable&pageId=67509

Let's not for one minute believe that this carbon tax is the creation of Campbell and Carole Taylor but rather the creation of those like them who use global warming to pocket money.

Remember that government are elected and therefore they are a representation of the general population -- Does not say much about us in BC and certainly does not say much about Canadians.

Tina Z

G West said...

It would appear that public affairs bureau has taken over the defence of this money laundering operation from the Premier. He was so appallingly inept this morning on CBC AM 690 that I can see why.

Any sane person who supports a tax that is so poorly planned and executed that the 2.4c level had to be 'adjusted' to 2.31c (or whatever) within a month of the bill actually being passed is ignoring the actual conditions on the ground. The Premier came up with this masterful stroke of political nonsense in early January and it shows. I’d wager the discussions around the executive suite these days are full of ‘what if’ and ‘if only’.

Instead of crafting a coherent policy to address global warming, the premier’s ‘team’ has saddled him with a booby prize he’ll have to carry into the next election.

And that’s, as they say, a good thing: no one deserves it more than the man who has spent his opportunity to ‘lead’ this province upon an effort to do little more than play games and reward his circle of friends.

Times up Gordon – pick up a ticket for Maui and book out.

If the Campbell Tax actually 'meant' anything other than another way for the premier to pander to his friends by reducing the income tax another point or two then the revenue from the tax would be used to address global warming.

It doesn't and it isn't and the citizens of British Columbia know when they're being sold a pig in a poke.

Anonymous said...

The Carbon Tax is a tax grab, pure and simple. It will be never be revenue-neutral. The income tax reduction will save $200 a year for those making up to $70,000 per annum, hardly enough to cover our increased debits. Goods and services expenditures, Terasen rates, BC Ferry rates, and BC Hydro rates will dramatically rise as the tax increases every year once it is invoked. More jobs will be lost in the forest industry and tourism and businesses dependant upon fuels will go under.

Do we want another recession or even a depression? We don't need a gas tax. The price of a barrel of oil will invoke change in people and new modes of energy, which will be used for transportation and heating.

Warming On 11 Year Hiatus
http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/06/20/warming-on-11-year-hiatus/

HadCRUT3, UAH and RSS datasets are the official ones, which track the mean global temperature of the earth. GISS is another dataset maintained by Dr. James Hansen (Gore's buddy). GISS's temperature record always seems to be higher than the other three records.

These datasets are openly available to the public online and free to use. Just Google them.

Mean global temperature peaked in 1998, flatlined since 2001 and in the past year has decreased. Yet, atmospheric CO2 levels have increased. 97% of CO2 in the atmosphere is from natural processes. Only 3% is from human activity.

From the article: "It seems that at least for the most recent 11 years, increasing CO2 is not tracking with temperature. CO2 has not overwhelmed natural processes during this period."

AGW is a dead theory.

Other websites of note:

Climate Science by Dr. Roger Pielke Sr., climatologist
ICE CAP
Climate Audit
CO2 Science

Anonymous said...

I listened to the three stooges on cknw this morning, I had to call in,I got on at 9.46 am---I mentioned Michael smyth column in the thursday province, when Palmer flipped out and called the smyth column wrong,I carried on to lambaste all three of them.
Those clowns earlier in the show were saying how stupid it is going to be about Carole Jame`s carbon tax going after the biggest polluters at the source,Palmer,Baldrey,and Good were laughing and saying---"you can`t tax the big polluters they will just pass it on to the consumer," I told all three of them that they were sad and pathetic and stupid to be saying that you can`t tax the big polluters,just the consumers

If anyone wants to hear Palmer having a panic attack,then me lambasting all three of them,then of course I got hung up on!

Google cknw --click the audio vault--friday june 20th --I was at about 9.46 am

DPL said...

The face book had over 5500 people as of 4 oclock Sunday

Taxes are good said...

I don't think this is anything progressives should be involved in, let alone promoting or proud of.

Tax cutting is a right wing agenda item, designed to empower big corporations and the rich at the expense of everyone else.

If you want to criticize the BC Liberal carbon tax shift, go ahead and do it.

Point out that it's not enough, it should be more aggressive. But please don't take a corporatist, right wing, anti-tax stance.

Taxes are the price we pay for civilized society. Countries with higher taxes have:

* lower rates of poverty, more equal income distribution, and more economic security for their workers;
* a higher GDP per capita;
* higher rates of household saving and net national saving;
* greater innovation, including a higher percentage of GDP spent on research and development;
* a higher ranking on their growth competitiveness by the World Economic Forum;
* higher rates of secondary school and university completion; and
* less drug use, more leisure time, and higher life satisfaction.

http://www.policyalternatives.ca/News/2006/12/
PressRelease1508/

Please don't get sucked into the false beleif that the NDs are somehow going to win votes by adopting the anti-tax rhetoric of the right wing. It will never happen. Those voters hate the NDP and always will.

anon said...

Facebook??! - That's like writing a diary entry. Is it really the most effective way to protest in this century?