By Stephen Gordon - Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 0 Comments
This is from last Thursday’s Hansard:
Mr. Dean Del Mastro (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, picking up a bit on where the hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage left off, it is not just that the Canadian public rejected Liberal proposals over the last three campaigns, of course mindful of the Liberals’ woeful record with respect to climate change, but it is something to hear the Liberals continue to retread through ideas that have been rejected and present them once again as though they are new and should be taken up even though Canadians have said something quite different.
Does the member understand that there is a world price for oil, there is a world price for gasoline and that oil companies like the idea of a carbon tax principally because they will get the world price for oil or gasoline regardless, but the carbon tax will then be paid by Canadian consumers and it will completely exempt them? However, if they are actually regulated, they will have to absorb these costs and only receive the world price for oil and gasoline. Oil companies are not charitable organizations. They are an important industry for Canada, but they are not charitable.
By Stephen Gordon - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 1:38 PM - 0 Comments
Maclean’s Aaron Wherry has been documenting the Conservatives’ remarkable sophistry when it comes to carbon taxes and climate change policy (most recently here). As far as I can tell, the Conservatives’ position is the following:
- Market-based approaches such as carbon taxes and cap-and-trade are essentially equivalent.
- Since the Conservatives’ regulation-based plan doesn’t involve revenue generation, it is somehow better than market-based approaches.
The first line is largely correct. It’s the second one that makes no sense. 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.
This post is somewhat wonkish, but it’s important to set out in detail just why the Conservatives’ stance is so foolish.
By Michael Petrou - Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
As the 33 Chilean miners are rescued, unregulated colleagues continue to risk their lives
Whatever the horrors and deprivations suffered by the 33 miners now trapped 700 m below ground in a collapsed Chilean mine, they at least knew from the moment of the cave-in that others would be trying to free them. They worked for a company with access to heavy machinery and rescue equipment. The mine had ventilation shafts and a refuge room. And the trapped miners are all grown men, not children.
In the hills and mountains surrounding the now famous San José mine in Chile’s Atacama desert, there are hundreds of miners who enjoy none of these comforts. Known as pirquineros, these men, and sometimes children, are freelancers who burrow into abandoned mines or promising hillsides. Safety measures are rudimentary. Rickety ladders disappear down black holes. Wire cables haul up rusted carts creaking with hundreds of pounds of mineral-infused rocks. When a cart gets stuck, a miner drops into darkness with a wrench and crowbar and pounds on almost-vertical railway ties until the cart can pass again.
Those working on their own are especially vulnerable. “We have so many pirquineros in the mountains. Some don’t come back. Maybe they left. Maybe they died. Nobody knows,” says Ignacio Nazar, a pirquinero and secretary of a local independent miners’ union. “That’s why it’s important to have partners. But many don’t.”
By Andrew Coyne - Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 9:23 AM - 40 Comments
Andrew Coyne talks with Mark Carney
Born of the Great Depression, the Bank of Canada has found new relevance, 75 years later, in averting another. As Canada emerges, surprisingly strong, from what many had feared would be at least a Great Recession, the governor of the bank, Mark Carney, credits its interventions in large part for sparing us the worst of the financial crisis.
In an interview to celebrate the bank’s 75th birthday, Carney said one of the lessons of the near-collapse of global finance was the crucial part that central banks play in the smooth running of financial markets, especially in a panic. “The need for a lender of last resort, and not just a lender but a liquidity supplier of last resort, was made absolutely clear by the crisis.”
The corollary lesson: markets are not always self-correcting. Having worked in capital markets for many years at Goldman Sachs, Carney says he acquired “both a respect for [markets] and a skepticism of them. You know, I’m not a market fundamentalist. There are periods of excess in both directions in financial markets and it’s important to recognize that.”