If only Stephen Harper cared more about money than he does about the environment…

…wait, what? I thought Mr. Harper was a heartless, cruel man who loved nothing more than the almighty loonie, like any good Tory. Well, Maclean’s (and Laval University’s) Stephen Gordon disagrees.

Prof. Gordon argues:

The Conservatives’ rabid demonisation of the phrase “carbon tax” has obscured a point that should be better-known: as bad as you may think a carbon tax (or cap-and-trade) may be, the Conservatives’ regulation-based approach is worse. Regulations introduce large deadweight losses: costs that are not offset by benefits elsewhere. The advantage of market-based approaches is that they transform some of those losses into cash. The Conservatives’ reliance on regulation over markets means that they are leaving free money on the table, for no better reason than because they are afraid to be seen taking it.

I fully endorse Prof. Gordon’s wonkish post.

(By the way, I had missed that he began blogging at Maclean’s. Congrats!)

Jonathan McLeod

Jonathan McLeod is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario. (That means Canada.) He spends too much time following local politics and writing about zoning issues. Follow him on Twitter.


  1. Another point in favour of the thesis that the Conservatives are simply, on principle, opposed to good policy. Between this and the census, “more money for a worse result” starts to look like an objective.

    I’d like to see BC’s carbon tax policy (revenue-neutral, due to being balanced by income tax cuts at the lower income levels) implemented nationwide. It was hated when it was first brought it, but people have more or less gotten used to it (unlike the HST), and it’s well-designed.

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