Thursday, August 9, 2007

I Wish For Second-Best

The provincial premiers of Canada are a unique body in that I am unaware of any other organization that spends so much time squabbling. This has recently been detrimental to Newfoundland, since many Canadians outside the province have turned a deaf ear to our premier's repeated demands to Ottawa for more oil money/equalization/etc. I, and the rest of the province, do faithfully love him, however. But I digress.

Sadly, carbon taxes are not on the menu for provinces:
The Ontario government is willing to consider tough California tailpipe emission standards, but only if they are imposed nationwide, Premier Dalton McGuinty says.
Sources close to Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach say he is prepared to support the low-emission standard and use it as "a bargaining chip" to get McGuinty to back off Ontario's demand for a national cap for industrial carbon emitters and a credit-trading system.
Quebec Premier Jean Charest said he is firmly in the camp of the "cap and trade" provinces, and while he insisted that his province will not dictate terms to Alberta, he hopes this week's conference will create a critical mass of support that will force Alberta, the federal government and other detractors to get with the consensus.

I wish we had second-best politicians, but that would be extremely charitable. Alas. One can dream.

I do accept that Pigovian taxes are not always the best route. They are, however, always the first option to look at, and in this case, the best option, period. Of course, we really need a global carbon tax, but I remain happy to take all bets from people who believe such a scheme is going to happen in the next 50 years.

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