2008 Archive

Our Recommendations for Strategic Voters

October 14, 2008

After careful consideration, Voters Taking Action on Climate Change (VTACC) has decided to endorse strategic voting in this election in ridings where vote splitting between the Greens, NDP and Liberals may lead to unintentional narrow victories by Conservative candidates.

We have never suggested particular voting strategies before. However, the Conservatives themselves have said that they are "running on their record," so we can safely assume that a new Harper government would continue their disastrous and short-sighted avoidance of action on greenhouse gas emissions. To avoid this outcome, and to elect a coalition government which will meaningfully address escalating carbon emissions, we will need to work together and vote strategically in close ridings to support the candidate most likely to defeat the Conservative candidate.

In British Columbia, VTACC has a strong presence in the following ridings where we want to encourage voters to vote strategically. The following is a list of these ridings and the names of the candidates that we feel have the best chance of beating the Conservative candidate running in each of these ridings:

  1. Vancouver Quadra - Joyce Murray (Liberal)
  2. Vancouver Island North - Catherine Bell (NDP)
  3. Burnaby Douglas - Bill Siskay (NDP)
  4. Saanich Gulf Islands - Briony Penn (Liberal)

In other ridings where there is less chance of electing a Conservative, such as Vancouver-Centre, held by Hedy Fry (Liberal), constituents also have the opportunity to elect Adrienne Carr (Green). Our only advice in these other ridings is to poll your neighbours and fellow constituents, and follow your heart.

There are useful resources available for voters who want to vote strategically in other ridings. These include

Democratic Space Strategic Voting Guide
http://www.democraticspace.com/canada2008/strategic-voting-guide/

Vote for Climate
http://www.voteforclimate.ca

Vote for Environment
http://www.voteforenvironment.ca

Please note that VTACC has not evaluated the methods nor endorsed the recommendations put forward by these groups. We present them to you for your own consideration and evaluation.

Our review of the climate platforms for each of the main parties leads us to conclude that the Green Party has the most ambitious climate platform. However, we think that the risk or another Conservative government, particularly a majority one, is so serious that we must endorse strategic voting in this election.

Strategic voting is not a long term solution. VTACC supports reforming our electoral system to include proportional representation so that progressive parties gain seats in government. For more information see Fair Vote Canada, a 'multi-partisan' citizens' campaign for voting system reform.

http://www.fairvote.ca/en/

We hope that after this election you will help work toward electoral reform in Canada.

Federal election 2008: Voting Advice

September 25, 2008

From the entirely partisan to the completely neutral, from the principled to the strategic, organisations across Canada are gearing up to make sure that climate change, the environment, and a host of other progressive and social justice concerns are key voting issues in the coming election. Here is some background information to help you make your decision, and a sample of some of the groups active on the ground. VTACC doesn't endorse any of these projects, but invites you see what they have on offer. We think there is something for every voter who wants to ensure Canada's future is healthy, prosperous and fair for all.

Latest News:

120 top climate scientists call on Canadians to vote strategically, say we can't afford four more years of inaction on global warming
http://www.site.climateletter.org

Over 230 economists call on government to introduce carbon pricing, say that that carbon taxes are the best way forward
http://www.econ-environment.ca/

Grassroots citizens effort encourages Liberals, NDP, Bloc and Greens to form a coalition to enact sound emission reduction policies
http://www.climatecoalition.ca

Fair Vote Canada urges strategic voters and vote swappers to rally around electoral reform once this election is done
http://www.fairvote.ca/en/open-letter-to-strategic-votes-and-vote-swappers

Background information: Riding profiles, polling results, raw predictions, punditry.

Issue Specific Primers

Strategic Voting Groups.

GUELPH, ONTARIO BY-ELECTION:
VOTE FOR REAL ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

August 27, 2008

Canada is watching Guelph in the buildup to the September 2008 by-election. We are one of three municipalities to hold by-elections on Sept. 8 and all parties hope that a good showing in these by-elections will forecast success in the next general election.

With Canada watching, it is all the more important to publicly declare climate change a critical voting issue among voters in Guelph. Global warming is a problem of such urgency and scale that it presents an unprecedented call to action. It has increasingly become a key voting issue not just for those who consider themselves environmentalists, but for all concerned citizens regardless of political affiliation.

Follow these links to find out more:

GUELPH: FREE NON-PARTISAN LAWN SIGNS BEFORE SEPT. 8:
email vtacc.guelph@gmail.com

Wondering about our agenda? Click here to find out more about VTACC.

Joint statement in support of BC's revenue-neutral carbon tax

June 25, 2008

We the undersigned want to publicly state our support for the revenue-neutral carbon tax which comes into effect in British Columbia on July 1st.

We think that shifting taxes from income and earnings to the emissions which cause global warming is a smart move. Putting a price on the emissions which cause global warming will provide all of us individuals, families and industry alike with an incentive to reduce those emissions. Over time, it will also lead to changes in how we build communities, making them more sustainable places to live and work.

Gradually increasing the tax on emissions in the future provides certainty for decision makers, and sends the message that families and businesses need to plan now to reduce emissions over the long term, regardless of what happens to the price of oil. By providing a secure investment climate, this tax shift will help prepare BC businesses to be competitive in the coming low carbon economy.

A government that is serious and honest about reducing greenhouse gases will implement policies that put a price on emissions. All of the experts in this field and all of the experiences from other countries confirm that we have to price emissions in order to reduce them. The policy that does this most efficiently, most fairly and with the best outcome for economic growth is a carbon tax which returns revenues to those most impacted. BC's new carbon tax does this by shifting taxes from income to emissions.

We think that the tax shift is well designed. It is transparent in application, and tax revenues are returned to British Columbians in a way which ensures that those with the lowest incomes are not unfairly impacted. This is not a tax increase. It is simply a shift of taxes from things we like income to something we want to get rid of the pollution which causes global warming.

The evidence shows that the tax does not impact any one region of the province more than another. All those who purchase and consume fossil fuels in the province, from individual consumers to the largest industries, will have to pay the carbon tax. We think that is fair.

We are compelled to make this statement today because we are concerned that the importance of taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is being overshadowed by rancorous debate. We think that the climate crisis is bigger than partisan politics, and we know that many British Columbians want political parties to set aside their differences and work together to bring forward effective policies, for the sake of our economy, our children, and our planet.

The introduction of the carbon tax is an important first step towards meeting the province's ambitious emission reduction goals and it deserves the support of all British Columbians.

Sincerely,

David Demers, CEO Westport Innovations
Len Laycock, President Upholstery Arts
Jonathan Rhone, CEO Nexterra
David Green UBC Economist
John Richards, SFU Economist
Kevin Washbrook, Director, Voters Taking Action on Climate Change
Bruce Sanguin, Minister, Canadian Memorial United Church
David Dranchuck, Environment Unit, Anglican Diocese of New Westminster
Kenneth Gray, Environmental Committee, Anglican Diocese of BC
Cheeying Ho, Executive Director Smart Growth BC
Marc Lee, Senior Economist, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Patrick M Condon, James Taylor Chair in Landscape and Liveable Environments, UBC
Stephen Owen, Vice President UBC

Fighting global warming by transforming society

June 5, 2008

Voters Taking Action on Climate Change believes that grassroots public mobilisation is the best way to drive governments to take strong steps to fight global warming. We've seen how citizens working with businesses, faith groups and environmental organisations have moved the BC government on the carbon tax this year. We know that when people get organised it makes a powerful impression on politicians.

We also know that global warming is a problem of such urgency and scale that it transcends boundaries and presents an unprecedented call to action. Millions around the world deal with the impacts of global warming on a daily basis right now. If we keep on our current path, the time before we reach climate changing temperature thresholds planet wide is measured in decades. For the sake of those dealing with this crisis now, and for our children's future, we need to confront this problem head on today.

The scale of change required demands more than just incremental improvements to the status quo. The emissions that cause global warming are a by-product of almost every aspect of our daily lives, and fundamental changes in how we organise society will be required if we are to reduce emissions enough to keep our earth's temperature within healthy limits. We need short term policy improvements to be sure, but we also need to transform how we live in the world if solutions are to match the scale of the problem we face.

Clearly, global warming is not just an "environmental" problem, of concern to special interests or the responsibility of select groups. None of us can leave this problem to someone else to solve. None of us can solve this problem alone. It's time to come together with others to fight global warming. We need to build a movement that is as broad as the problem is large.

Fortunately, all of us working to confront this problem can look to groups working for social justice on issues of homelessness, poverty, racism, and so on as natural allies. By learning from and working with those who have long been envisioning fundamental social change, we can help ensure that society is reorganised in ways that are both fair and sustainable.

If you want to consider how to link the fight against global warming with efforts at social transformation, visit these sites:

The Jemez Principles for Democratic Organising
http://www.ejnet.org/ej/jemez.pdf

The Bali Principles of Climate Justice
http://www.indiaresource.org/issues/energycc/2003/baliprinciples.html

BC's carbon tax still needs your help!

May 6, 2008

BC's carbon tax is not yet law, and attention will be focused on the measure in the legislature and at the North Central Municipal AGM in the next few days. This is a key time to show support for this tax, and to press the province to provide support for local governments and agencies as they gear up to lower emission from their operations.

We think that a review of the available evidence doesn't support the argument that the carbon tax is an unfair burden on the Interior, as emission related costs likely average across the province. VTACC is encouraging citizens living in municipalities and districts which have passed resolutions opposing the tax to contact their local governments to express their support for the measure. Background information on the fairness of the tax is provided on our our carbon tax campaign page, along with contact information for municipalities which have opposed the tax, and contact information (organized by community) for key Interior MLAs who need to hear that the public supports this measure.

It is clear that local governments and public agencies such as school boards and health authorities all over BC will face higher costs because of the carbon tax -- and will not receive the corresponding tax cuts delivered to individuals and small businesses. While we don't think Victoria shouldn't provide exemptions from the tax, we think the province should use carbon tax revenue collected from local governments and agencies to provide them with the resources needed to lower emissions from their operations.

Now is a key time to make this point to Victoria, because the tax will soon be voted on in the legislature. Individuals and institutions all need the incentive to reduce emissions which this measure provides. However, our public institutions need help to make it happen. Key contacts on both sides of the aisle are provided below.

Premier Gordon Campbell premier@gov.bc.ca
Finance Minister Carole Taylor carole.taylor.mla@leg.bc.ca
Minister of Community Services ida.chong.mla@leg.bc.ca

NDP leader Carole James carole.james.mla@leg.bc.ca
NDP finance critic Bruce Ralson bruce.ralston.mla@leg.bc.ca
NDP Environment Critic
Shane Simpson shane.simpson.mla@leg.bc.ca

Wecome to Joyce Murray, Liberal MP for Vancouver Quadra

March 22, 2008

We congratulate Joyce Murray on winning the federal by-election in Vancouver Quadra. We have had the opportunity to meet with Joyce on several occasions, and we are convinced she is deeply concerned about climate change and committed to achieving deep reductions in emissions. We wish her success in Ottawa and look forward to Joyce and the rest of the Liberal opposition pushing hard for real action on climate change.

The Vancouver Quadra by-election was a close one, in no small part because the Green Party increased its share of the vote by 160 percent over the 2006 election. We think this reflects the deep and ongoing concern of the general public about climate change and its desire for government to take action. We hope all the federal parties take this message to heart and collaborate on bringing forward effective regulations and policies to reduce emissions.

Vancouver Quadra By-election: What to do?

March 14, 2008

Over the course of the spring, summer and fall of 2007 we were able to meet with the Liberal, NDP and Green candidates in the Vancouver Quadra by-election. Just over a month ago we finally had the chance to sit down with the Conservative candidate. Two weeks ago we held a candidates' climate change town hall (see below for a link to the video recording of the event) which gave 150 constituents the chance to hear the Liberal, NDP and Green candidates present their views (the Conservative candidate declined to attend).

This election comes down to supporting the existing government in Ottawa or calling for change. After two years in power, the best the Conservative government can offer us in terms of policy are loop-hole ridden regulatory frameworks which will allow emissions to continue to rise. Their argument that the previous Liberal government did no better has worn pretty thin the seriousness of the problem has only become clearer, and its time for action, not finger pointing. The Conservative candidate who hopes to represent us in the riding, Deb Meredith, was harder to schedule a meeting with than Premier Campbell, and her insistence that Canada could dramatically reduce emissions without putting a price on carbon was disappointing. We are forced to conclude that neither she nor her party takes this issue seriously enough to warrant our votes.

Where does that leave us with the three other candidates? We have considered long and hard the relative merits of voting strategically and voting on principle. There are pros and cons to both approaches, and we hope you will consider them seriously. Here are some points to keep in mind:

Strategic voting:

  • if the climate friendly vote is seriously split between the Greens, the Liberals, and the NDP, that could result in the this election sending another Conservative to Ottawa;

Voting on principle:

  • the Green Party has the strongest set of emission reduction policies, and is the only party to explicitly endorse a national carbon tax a measure which we strongly support.

Finally, if you want to see the full recording of our candidates' climate change town hall, go here:
http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=-1229818076242479566

In any case, we urge you to get out and vote on March 17th and to encourage your friends and family to do the same. Use this opportunity to make your voice heard!

What is REAL ACTION on Climate Change? Part 2

March 6, 2008

Canadians have been ahead of government for some time in demanding effective policies to reduce emissions and fight global warming. A steady stream of high-level business organisations have recently released reports calling for action. Rather than waiting and hoping that one or more of the federal parties will lay out an effective climate policy package, it is time for Canadians business people, members of faith groups, environmental activists and all concerned citizens to come together around a consensus package of key climate change policies.

We have reviewed recent reports, we've talked to experts such as Mark Jaccard, and we've been in discussion with groups working on policy analysis and environmental advocacy. We present below what we've synthesized to date. Your comments are welcome.

What we hope to establish, through dialogue and discussion, is a broadly agreed upon set of policies which any political party that aspires to form a government must adopt, if it wants to receive the vote of citizens concerned about climate change. One of the most important things we can do as citizens right now is encourage a race to the top, in terms of effective emission reduction policies, among all federal political parties.

Proposed set of federal climate change policies

  1. Putting a price on carbon emissions using some combination of the following measures, in a way which ameliorates impacts on the least well-off in society:
    • a national tax on emissions, with tax levels rising over time;
    • a cap and trade program for large emitters, with the cap declining over time;
    • a carbon management standard for fuel producers and importers, with the percent of carbon captured and stored rising over time;
  2. Working with the most progressive jurisdictions in North America to establish continually improving zero and low emission vehicle portfolio requirements (including vehicles for freight transportation), and continually improving fuel efficiency standards;
  3. Developing continually improving federal appliance efficiency standards, and working with the provinces to establish continuously improving building codes;
  4. Investing in the research and development of low and zero emission energy sources, energy conservation and efficiency, carbon capture and storage, and the enhancement of natural carbon sinks;
  5. Establishing permanent, ongoing federal funding for public transit and an end to federal funding for highway expansion;
  6. In particular, ensuring an absolute reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions from Alberta's tar sands.
  7. Finally, we think that Canada should commit to taking a leadership role in multilateral initiatives to cut carbon emissions.

Vancouver Quadra By-election

February 22, 2008

Vancouver Quadra By-election: Candidates' Global Warming Town Hall
Thursday March 6th at 7:00 p.m., St James Community Square, West 10th Ave and Trutch

There are tough decisions to be made in the Vancouver Quadra By-Election. Which candidate -- and which party -- can best address your concerns about climate change in Ottawa? Before you vote...ask some questions! Invite your friends and neighbours from across the political spectrum to attend and get some answers.

Kirk Lapointe, Managing Editor of the Vancouver Sun, will be moderating, and so far the Liberal, NDP and Green party candidates have agreed to attend. We hope that the Conservative candidate will come as well.

We want your help in developing the questions for the candidates. Please email your questions on the candidates' views and commitment to action, their party's policies on climate change and any other topic you think is relevant to the discussion to climate_action@vtacc.org. We'll select the best of the bunch to be presented by the moderator. (Some written questions will also be taken from the floor.)

We hope to see you there!

BC has a carbon tax!

February 20, 2008

The carbon tax announced in yesterday's budget was truly remarkable: it covers all fossil fuels, it contains a clear schedule of future increases, there are GST style rebates for low income families, and revenue neutrality is laid out in a clear and transparent fashion. This was a true leadership move by BC in the fight against climate change, and the government deserves your thanks on this.

One caveat...
Of course, we would have liked the tax to be introduced at a higher rate to start with. It starts at $10/tonne, and only rises to $30 tonne by 2012. Many economists argue that $30 per tonne is about the level we will start to see an influence on decision making. The government itself estimates that at the rates they have set the tax will account for less than 10 percent of the emission reductions the province hopes to achieve by 2020 . We'll keep pushing to see the tax rate increased, but it is important to keep in mind that what was put in place in Tuesday's budget is a very important first step in fundamentally changing how we approach emissions reductions.

This measure still needs a show of public support!
There is sure to be a backlash, as well as misrepresentation -- intentional or otherwise -- of what these changes mean, so please consider registering your support with the major newspapers today:

Please also write to your local newspaper to express your support for the measure. British Columbians need to hear directly from people they know and respect that the carbon tax is a good idea.

Politicians need to know when we appreciate what they have done:
Carole Taylor also needs a pat on the back for shepherding this measure through government over the past months. Please consider sending her and Premier Campbell a message to let them know you appreciate the fact that she went out on a limb on this:

And those who don't agree need to know the public supports this tax shift:
Some MLA's and cabinet ministers were not supportive of this shift of taxes from income to emissions. One in particular, Liberal MLA Bill Bennett, spoke out loudly against the tax in the final days before the budget was released. He stated several times that he didn't think this measure had the support of average British Columbians. His views are important, because Mr Bennett is chair of the provincial finance and budget committee. Please take a moment to tell him that you support this important move:

Finally, the NDP opposition has also been roundly critical of the budget. Granted, that's their job, but we think they should take a moment to rally behind this important measure in a non-partisan way before they move on to criticise other elements of the budget that deserve serious attention. Please take a minute to let the opposition leader and finance critic know you support this tax shift, and ask them to be specific in their criticisms of the carbon tax so that we can all work to improve it to best serve the needs of all British Columbians.

What's next?
There will need to be some follow up in the climate change plan the province will release next month to back up this tax shift and the incentives it creates for action. Specifically, the province needs to introduce supporting regulations laying out requirements for vehicle fuel efficiency and emission standards, clean fuel standards, minimum efficiency standards for appliances and homes, changes to land use zoning and bylaws requiring compact development, and so on. As carbon related prices rise, British Columbians will want to make low emission choices, but the market will not always be ready to provide them. The government can prime the market by raising minimum efficiency standards and requirements across the board. The climate change plan also needs to lay out clear rules to ensure that all large emitters achieve their share of emission reductions.

Finally, there are other problems with the budget, specifically continued subsidies for oil and gas exploration and development, and continued heavy spending on highway expansion, that run counter to yesterday's good news. We need to continue to work hard to turn those things around, but please take the time to celebrate the major change we all achieved this week. BC is now at the forefront of environmental price reform in North America.

What is real action on climate change?

February 5, 2008

People who have seen our lawn signs sometimes ask us what we mean by "real action" on climate change. It is a good question. With an election nearing in the federal riding of Vancouver Quadra, some people are putting up signs for Liberal, Green Party, NDP and Conservative candidates next to our Voters Taking Action on Climate Change signs. Are all the parties offering real action?

Voters Taking Action on Climate Change has not endorsed any party platform or candidate. What we are calling for is for governments at all levels to introduce cost effective, efficient and transparent measures which will quickly reduce emissions. At the federal level, the measures featured in an effective climate change policy package will include:

  • An absolute cap on emissions from all sectors of the economy, including emissions from tar sands production;
  • a revenue-neutral carbon tax applied on all fossil fuels when they enter the economy, and a clear schedule of future annual increases in that tax;
  • supporting regulations setting minimum standards for energy efficiency in appliances, homes, vehicles, land use, etc., and regulations setting maximum carbon contents in fuels.

Below are some measures which are NOT effective at reducing emissions and fighting climate change:

  • Intensity targets for emissions reductions, which allow absolute emissions to continue to rise as the economy grows;
  • Voluntary measures, or extensive subsidies, incentives, rebates or education programs to encourage action on the part of individuals or firms.

This recommended climate change policy package is a work in progress. This is an amazing time of collaboration between business and environmental groups across the country, and a consensus is building on a clear set of climate change goals which any future federal government should be held to. Check back for updates.

If you want to do some additional research into what some of the major business groups, economists and environmental leaders are suggesting we do, consider these resources:

National Roundtable on the Economy and the Environment:
Getting to 2050: Canada's transition to a low emission future.
http://www.nrtee-trnee.ca/eng/index-eng.html

Conference Board of Canada:
Use green taxes and market measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
http://www.conferenceboard.ca/documents.asp?rnext=2426

Hot Air: Meeting Canada's Climate Challenge
Jeffery Simpson, Mark Jaccard, Nic Rivers
http://www.mcclelland.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780771080968

Plan B 3.0 Mobilizing to Save Civilization
Lester R Brown
http://www.earth-policy.org/Books/PlanB_contents.htm

In the meantime, if you want to determine which federal political party's policies are most likely to lead to real action on climate change right now, take a look at what they have to say so far:

Conservative Party:
http://www.conservative.ca/EN/4739/78192

Green Party:
http://www.greenparty.ca/en/policy/documents/gp2

Liberal Party:
http://www.liberal.ca/environment_e.aspx

New Democratic Party:
http://www.ndp.ca/node/4048

Urgent: contact a cabinet minister today to ensure BC gets a revenue-neutral carbon tax in next month's budget!

January 22, 2008

Right now the BC cabinet is debating whether or not to proceed with a revenue-neutral carbon tax in the upcoming budget. Some cabinet members remain unconvinced of the merit of this fundamental shift of taxes from income and earnings to emissions. Fears of a recession in the United States may discourage others currently sitting on the fence from supporting this cost effective and efficient approach to fighting climate change. These people need to be encouraged to stay the course! We are committed as a province to reducing emissions, and a carbon tax is an important first step in getting the job done.

The question cabinet ministers should be asking themselves isn't can we afford to reduce emissions, it's can we afford not to. Already, jurisdictions in the US are passing laws against purchasing electricity produced with high carbon fuels (such as oil from the tar sands). China is years ahead of us in terms of installed renewable capacity. Change is coming, and if BC isn't prepared we will be left behind. BC is poised to play a leadership role in fighting climate change if cabinet has the courage to follow through with a carbon tax.

Please take a moment to email the cabinet ministers below to let them know that you want them to introduce a substantial carbon tax on all fossil fuels in next month's budget. Let them know that a gradually increasing carbon tax, combined with a decrease in personal and corporate taxes, is a clear headed plan for fighting climate change while preparing BC businesses for the low emission economy which lies ahead.

Email addresses for cabinet ministers (simply cut and paste into your email if you want to send them all a message):

john.vandongen.mla@leg.bc.ca
mike.dejong.mla@leg.bc.ca
murray.coell.mla@leg.bc.ca
pat.bell.mla@leg.bc.ca
wally.oppal.mla@leg.bc.ca
tom.christensen.mla@leg.bc.ca
linda.reid.mla@leg.bc.ca
ida.chong.mla@leg.bc.ca
colin.hansen.mla@leg.bc.ca
shirley.bond.mla@leg.bc.ca
claude.richmond.mla@leg.bc.ca
richard.neufeld.mla@leg.bc.ca
barry.penner.mla@leg.bc.ca
rich.coleman.mla@leg.bc.ca
george.abbott.mla@leg.bc.ca
olga.ilich.mla@leg.bc.ca
kevin.krueger.mla@leg.bc.ca
john.les.mla@leg.bc.ca
rick.thorpe.mla@leg.bc.ca
stan.hagen.mla@leg.bc.ca
gordon.hogg.mla@leg.bc.ca
kevin.falcon.mla@leg.bc.ca

Their respective roles in cabinet:

Minister of State for Intergovernmental Relations
Hon. John van Dongen
Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and Government House Leader
Hon. Mike De Jong
Minister of Advanced Education (and Minister responsible for Research and Technology)
Hon. Murray Coell
Minister of Agriculture and Lands
Hon. Pat Bell
Attorney General (and Minister responsible for Multiculturalism)
Hon. Wally Oppal
Minister of Children and Family Development
Hon. Tom Christensen
Minister of State for Childcare
Hon. Linda Reid
Minister of Community Services (and Minister responsible for Seniors' and Women's Issues)
Hon. Ida Chong
Minister of Economic Development (and Minister responsible for the Asia-Pacific Initiative and the Olympics)
Hon. Colin Hansen
Minister of Education and Deputy Premier (and Minister responsible for Early Learning and Literacy)
Hon. Shirley Bond
Minister of Employment and Income Assistance
Hon. Claude Richmond
Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources
Hon. Richard Neufeld
Minister of Environment (and Minister responsible for Water Stewardship and Sustainable Communities)
Hon. Barry Penner
Minister of Forests and Range (and Minister responsible for Housing)
Hon. Rich Coleman
Minister of Health
Hon. George Abbott
Minister of Labour and Citizens' Services
Hon. Olga Ilich
Minister of State for Mining
Hon. Kevin Krueger
Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Hon. John Les
Minister of Small Business and Revenue and Minister responsible for Regulatory Reform
Hon. Rick Thorpe
Minister of Tourism, Sports and the Arts
Hon. Stan Hagen
Minister of State for ActNow BC
Hon. Gordon Hogg
Minister of Transportation
Hon. Kevin Falcon

Open Letter From 90 BC Businesses To Finance Minister Carole Taylor Calling For A Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax

January 22, 2008

Open Letter From 90 BC Businesses To Finance Minister Carole Taylor Calling For A Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax

January 14, 2008

Dear Minister Taylor,

We are writing to express our support for the inclusion of a revenue neutral carbon tax in this year's provincial budget. The British Columbia government has committed to substantial reductions in the emissions that cause climate change, and a carbon tax would be a major step towards meeting that goal.

Shifting taxes from income and corporate earnings to carbon emissions will provide an incentive to reduce emissions while ensuring that BC firms remain competitive and wage earners are not adversely impacted. It will send a message to the world that British Columbia continues to be a great place to live and do business, and that its government is committed to a leadership role in the fight against climate change.

A transparent tax applied to carbon containing fuels when they are produced or imported will send a clear signal to firms and consumers that contributing to climate change comes at a cost. In addition, because a tax allows decision makers to individually and independently decide how best to reduce their costs and lower emissions, it will allow BC to meet its climate change targets more efficiently and at lower cost than could be achieved by regulating reductions.

By introducing a carbon tax at a moderate level this year and presenting a clear schedule of increasing tax rates in the future, the government will give BC businesses time to adjust their long term planning and begin investing for a low emission future. Recently the National Round Table on the Economy and the Environment argued that this approach to environmental taxation will provide the policy certainty and predictability which is key to sound business investment.

Your government has shown bold leadership by raising the possibility of a revenue neutral carbon tax for BC. We urge you to follow through and introduce the tax in this year's budget.

Sincerely,

  • Nigel Fitzpatrick, Acquire Innovations Corp (Vancouver)
  • Mike Elwood, Azure Dynamics (Burnaby)
  • Kolin Lymworth, Banyen Books (Vancouver)
  • George Tomes, Bayleaf Software (Vancouver)
  • Paul Bogaert, Bike Doctor Bicycle Shop (Vancouver and Burnaby)
  • Juan Camilo Cortes Aguirre, Black Gold Compost (Vancouver)
  • Laurent Mingo, Blue System Integration Ltd. (Vancouver)
  • Randy Burke, Bluewater Adventures Ltd. (North Vancouver)
  • Gord Pincock, Butterfly Tours - Sea Kayak Haida Gwaii (Sechelt)
  • David Laulainen, Catalyst Creative Inc. (Vancouver)
  • Donna Morton, Centre for Integral Economics (Victoria)
  • Karri Schuermans, Chambar Restaurant (Vancouver)
  • Marc Stoiber, Change (Vancouver)
  • Kierstin De West, Ci:conscientious innovation (Vancouver)
  • Alasdair Gordon, President Claymore Development Co. Ltd. (Vancouver)
  • Dave Myles, Community Business and Professionals Association of Canada (Vancouver)
  • Michael Magee, Convergence Communications (Vancouver)
  • Jack Boyle, Cooler Skies Company (Vancouver)
  • Dr. John MacDonald, Day4 Energy Inc. (Burnaby)
  • Shannon McPhail, DVS Productions (Kispiox)
  • Kevin Pegg, EA Energy Alternatives Ltd. (Victoria)
  • Mark Pezarro, Earthvoice Strategies Incorporated (Vancouver)
  • Toby Barazzuol, Eclipse Awards (Vancouver)
  • Colin McKerracher, Energy Aware Technology Inc. (Vancouver)
  • Nick Farina, Enerpro Systems Corp. (North Vancouver)
  • Gord Pincock and Bruce Wilson, Evolution Guide School (Sechelt)
  • Denise Taschereau, Fairware Promotional Products Ltd. (Vancouver)
  • Gil Yaron, Frogfile Office Essentials (Vancouver)
  • Gene Allen, GJ Rodeo Company (Kispiox)
  • Damian Kettlewell, Great Bear Pub & Liquor Store (Burnaby)
  • Monica Sheardown, GreenDreams Productions (Vancouver)
  • Juergen and Marilyn Hansen, The Green Group, Facilitators (Summerland)
  • Andr LaRivire Green Table Network (Vancouver)
  • Gary Harper, Harper and Associates Conflict Resolution Ltd. (Burnaby)
  • Harvey McKinnon, Harvey McKinnon and Associates (Vancouver)
  • Marie-LN Fortin, Hilltrip (Vancouver)
  • Louise Mangan, House Karma Design Inc. (Vancouver)
  • Svetlana Tkacova, International Composting Corporation (Victoria)
  • Tom Norman, KAPOW Creative (Vancouver)
  • Jim Allen, Kispiox Fishing Company (Kispiox)
  • Simon Fawkes, Land of Green Ginger Ltd. and Blue Coral Studios Inc. (Vancouver)
  • Lorien Henson, LimeLight Event Marketing Inc. (Vancouver)
  • Steve McPhail, Liquid Elements Contracting (Kispiox)
  • Madeleine Shaw, Lunapads International (Vancouver)
  • Kevin Smith, Maple Leaf Adventures (Victoria)
  • Catherine Taylor-Hell, M.K. Ince and Associates Ltd. (Vancouver)
  • Pierre E. Gallant Morrison Hershfield (Vancouver)
  • David Labistour, Mountain Equipment Co-op MEC (Vancouver)
  • Denis and June Wood, Nechako Retreat (Vanderhoof)
  • Kevin Belanger, New Age Ventures, Inc.
  • Nina Winham, New Climate Strategies (Vancouver)
  • Robert Safrata, CEO and Ken Johnston, President Novex Couriers (Richmond)
  • James Tansey, Offsetters Climate Neutral Society (Vancouver)
  • Bill Swan, Osprey Communications and Greenman Sustainable Building (Invermere)
  • Allison Boulton, Paradise Ranch Wines Corp. (Vancouver)
  • Ken Martin, Passion for Action
  • Shelly Penner, PENNER & ASSOCIATES Interior Design Inc. (Vancouver)
  • Edward Beggs, PlantDrive International (Salmon Arm)
  • Joel Solomon, Renewal Partners (Vancouver)
  • Heather Tremain, reSource Rethinking Building Inc. (Vancouver)
  • Suzanne Fielden, Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company (Vancouver)
  • Mickey McLeod, Salt Spring Coffee Company (Salt Spring Island)
  • Rebecca Ephraim, SharedVISION Magazine (Vancouver)
  • Douglas Gook, Silvequus Selection Systems and Spirit Dance Community Cooperative (Quesnel)
  • Scott Sinclair, Sinclair Environmental Solutions (Vancouver)
  • David Van Seters, Small Potatoes Urban Delivery SPUD (Vancouver)
  • Susan Todd, Solstice Sustainability Works Inc. (Burnaby)
  • Susan Fiedler, Soul Flower Inc. (Vancouver)
  • Bob Penner, Strategic Communications (Vancouver)
  • Barry Saxifrage, Stonebreaker Designs Ltd. (Mansons Landing)
  • Daphne Nederhorst, Sustainability-In-Action (Vancouver)
  • Susan Huber, Swiss Solar Tech Ltd. (Summerland)
  • Ben Banky, TallGrass (Vancouver)
  • Joe Thwaites, Taylor Munro Energy Systems Inc. (Delta)
  • Joerg "George" Rosset, TLH Heliskiing and Last Frontier Heliskiing (Vernon)
  • Raffi Cavoukian, Troubadour Music (Mayne Island)
  • AB Hansen, Turtle Island Organic Teas And Herbs (Vancouver)
  • Len Laycock, Upholstery Arts (Vancouver)
  • Rob Baxter, Vancouver Renewable Energy and EpiLogic Consulting (Vancouver)
  • Meeru and Vikram Vij, Vij's Restaurant (Vancouver)
  • Colin Grant, Visible Strategies (Vancouver)
  • David Demers, Westport Innovations (Vancouver)
  • Wilma Leung, WISA Healthy Homes (Vancouver)
  • Dominique Collin , Waterstone Strategies (Duncan)
  • Kris Klaasen, Working Design (Vancouver)
  • Nazir Mulji, Xantrex Technology Inc. (Vancouver)

Climate Change Lecture Series

January 14, 2008

Global Warming: More than Hot Air?
Dr. David Chapman,
Professor of Geophysics, Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Utah
Tuesday, February 5th 7 pm,
Canadian Memorial United Church

What is the science behind global warming? What do we know? What do we not know?

David Chapman is an award winning teacher and world renowned speaker who will guide you through a clear and concise review of the underlying evidence that global warming is caused by human activity. This talk will leave you with a better understanding of the problem and an optimistic view of our potential to solve it. Go here for more information

 

Global Warming: Spiritual Crisis and Opportunity
Bruce Sanguin,
Minister, Canadian Memorial United Church
Tuesday, February 19th, 7 pm,
Canadian Memorial United Church

How have we become so disconnected from the earth that sustains us, despite so much evidence that our planet is in crisis?

Bruce Sanguin is an inspirational speaker and author of Darwin, Divinity and the Dance of the Cosmos. He will explore how our isolating consumer culture has dampened our ability to draw meaning from the sacred world we live in, and how restoring a sense of wonder for the world can help rebuild this relationship. His talk will leave you inspired to reconnect with the planet and people to begin the task of restoring our climate. Go here for more information

 

Lessons for the Future from Canada's Climate Policy Failures
Dr. Mark Jaccard,
Professor of Resource Environmental Management at SFU
Tuesday, March 4th, 7 pm,
Canadian Memorial United Church

Decades of climate policy under different governments have failed to reduce or substantially slow the growth in greenhouse gas emissions in this country. How has this happened? How can we get out of this muddle so that Canada can do its share in the fight against global warming?

Mark Jaccard is a prize winning author of numerous books on climate and energy policy and will provide a critical review of the failed policies that have prevented Canada from meeting its emission targets. You will leave this talk with a better understanding of the polices that will and will not reduce emissions and an enhanced ability to evaluate government plans for action. Go here for more information

Support for a revenue-neutral carbon tax continues to grow in the BC faith community

December 14, 2007

We continue to be amazed at the broad base of support for a carbon tax in next year's BC budget. We received these two letters yesterday, the first on behalf of the Diocese of British Columbia for the Anglican Church, the second from the Canadian Memorial United Church in Vancouver.

 
 

Dear Minister Taylor

I am Ken Gray, an Anglican Priest in Colwood BC. I have for many years worked on ecological justice issues for the Anglican Church of Canada. In January 2006 I was privileged to meet with Dana Hayden and Matt Price (Conservation voters of BC) to discuss your government's policy direction in relation to energy policy and climate change mitigation.

It has been encouraging to note the development of this policy direction over the past twelve months.

With others I was encouraged to hear recently that you are considering a carbon tax in next years budget, and I want you to know that I fully support such a measure.

If BC is to reach its goal of a 33 percent reduction in emissions by 2020, we are going to need powerful tools like a carbon tax to get the job done. Simply offering consumers a series of subsidies and rebates will not lead to the changes in behaviour and decision making needed to get the job done.

I appreciate that a new tax will have to be introduced gradually so that individuals and firms have time to adjust. However, I urge you to initially set the tax at a level that will have a noticeable effect on decision making, and to commit to a transparent schedule of future increases so that businesses and consumers will be given a clear signal that they need to reduce emissions or pay the cost.

I understand that many economists argue for an initial tax of $30 per tonne, rising to $75 to $150 per tonne over time, and I support these targets.

I also want you to know that I support a shift of taxes from income to carbon emissions, in order to keep the tax revenue neutral and avoid undue impact on those less well off members of our communities.

Finally, I urge you to call on your cabinet colleagues to introduce regulations requiring higher efficiency standards and cleaner fuels, in order to make new low emission technologies and fuels available in anticipation of increasing taxes on those emissions.

Looking forward to your government's continued leadership in this area,

Kenneth J. Gray
Chair, Environment Committee
Anglican Diocese of British Columbia
Rector, Parish of Colwood and Langford
Canadian Representative, Anglican Communion Environmental Network

copy to:
Premier Campbell
Carole James

 
 
The Honourable Carole Taylor,
Minister of Finance
P.O.Box 9048, Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9E2