Ever since premier-designate Doug Ford announced he would scrap Premier Kathleen Wynne’s cap-and-trade scheme, if elected, the critics have become hysterical.
They say this could be more expensive than the Liberals’ gas plants scandal, that Ontario will be sued for billions of dollars and that consumers will be hurt.
Now, let’s deal with reality.
First, cap and trade is a carbon tax by another name.
It raises prices on most goods and services rather than the taxes on them.
Companies buy or are given free carbon credits — basically, licences to pollute — initially from the government and subsequently from the government and each other.
They pass along this new cost to consumers in the form of higher retail prices.
Since Wynne imposed carbon pricing on Ontarians in 2017 — without telling voters that was her intent in the 2014 election that brought her to power — companies have been charging consumers almost $2 billion annually more in higher prices for goods and services, for a total of about $2.8 billion up to the present day.
With Ford cancelling cap and trade, these businesses will in fact save $5.2 billion over the next three years alone, because they will not have to pay $8 billion for carbon credits the Wynne government anticipated raking in from them between 2017 and 2020.
And since these companies passed along this new cost of buying carbon credits to consumers in the form of higher retail prices, consumers will benefit financially as well.
For Ford’s critics to equate a $5.2-billion saving to businesses and consumers with the $1.1 billion loss in the Liberals’ cancelled gas plants scandal, is absurd.