Hijacking Environmentalism: Green Capitalists & BC's Carbon Tax
It was a posh restaurant in Gastown. Good Australian wine flowed freely, and the hors d’oeuvres were out of this planet. I had expected to see men in worn-out jeans and beards, kind of like those streakers on bicycles that block the traffic from time to time. These men wore three-piece suits, obviously not from Tip Top or the Bargain Wearhouse, and Gucci shoes. I started telling my host about how I’d lost the opportunity for my dream job of a trade commissioner because I told the interviewer that preserving Brasil’s rain forests was more important than adding to the profits of a multimillion dollar company in Quebec. My host realised I was getting this all wrong. “Actually” he said, “I’m a green capitalist.”
“Oh, OK, so you’re the guys that invest in those wonderful small businesses that are looking for alternate sources of energy and technology to cut down on pollution.” I started telling him how the travel business could be made greener, and every mile travelled could be invested in green. I was wrong on that count, too. He turned out to be a banker who’d quit his lucrative job to browse on greener pastures. Our bankers don’t invest a dime in risky or speculative ventures, at least not in Canada, and they despise small business, especially those that threaten the status quo.
Well, at least they were going to buy my friend David’s business for big bucks and give him a handsome management contract. David was beyond himself with excitement and joy, but the offer turned out to be a scam. After milking him for all his trade secrets they told him his business was worth only 10-percent of their initial offer and went into the business themselves.
These Green Capitalists do what greedy men in gray suits do best, create money on paper and capitalise on the fortunes or misfortunes of common folk that work their butts off for some equity and security. That’s what capitalism means today, and it means monopolies and market control and getting rid of competition, it doesn’t mean free enterprise any more. Our Green Capitalists were out to transform the Carbon Credit into a lucrative commodity to be traded on international markets, more or less like pork bellies. That won’t do much to save the environment, but then pork bellies futures don’t save the pigs either, while they make many people rich or richer.
That brings me to our green, green Government of British Columbia, the Best Place On Earth (that’s what it says on their letterhead). I would’ve thought that protecting the environment is a straightforward matter. The options are clear, but most of them involve telling Big Business what to do or not to do, and Big Business is a sacred cow for Victoria (that’s our provincial capital, and the government’s still located on an island for understandable privacy reasons). There’s nothing like a right-wing solution to a problem created by the socialists to beat them at their own game, and hence BC’s Carbon Tax was born, the first in North America. The Carbon Tax is intended to penalise the consumer for using fossil fuels, not those who profit from selling them.
BC’s Carbon Tax is a tax on low and middle income families, small business, and those that can least afford it. People are not using fossil fuels because they love to pollute the environment, they’re using them because viable alternatives have not been developed by big business or government for the past 50 years. If charging consumers higher prices for fuel to drive to work or heat their homes could have saved the environment, we wouldn’t have this problem anymore. Instead, higher oil prices have helped to wreck America’s economy and are threatening to wreck ours, a fact that has been carefully obscured from the public. If you want your tax, why don’t you dip your fingers into oil companies’ exorbitant profits? They can certainly afford it, and we all know that they won’t stop selling oil.