A carbon tax is like a Manitoba mosquito. It is annoying, it's like a blood‑sucking parasite that spreads disease and illness and makes people sick, and what do Manitobans do with mosquitoes?
Excerpt from Hon Steven Fletcher's Reply to Budget 2018
This is going to touch every Manitoban. I have been a vocal opponent of the carbon tax, and this is why.
It doesn't have anything to do with carbon. It is a tax – a tax like the PST. And it's been imposed on Manitobans by the Manitoba Legislative Assembly.
Now, Ottawa can introduce the tax, and I say the government should challenge them in court like Saskatchewan, like the Leader of the PC Party in Alberta has stated and probably the next leader and premier in Ontario in six weeks.
That is the trend, because if your goal is to reduce taxes, that is not happening. If your goal is to reduce carbon, that is not happening. And we ran very clearly on no new taxes. So I'm very clear on that.
I've been recessed from the government on this issue and that's fine, because this carbon tax does not do what people espouse it to do, nor will it ever. Carbon pricing this way does not reduce GHGs ever. But it does cost people money, money out of their pocket.
A carbon tax is like a Manitoba mosquito. It is annoying, it's like a blood‑sucking parasite that spreads disease and illness and makes people sick, and what do Manitobans do with mosquitoes? They just squish them. They swat them, but first they try and prevent even getting bit. So that's what we should do with Ottawa. Don't let them bite.
But instead instead of fighting the carbon tax, what we're doing as a province through our elected representatives is basically taking off all our clothes, going into a swamp and saying 'mosquitoes, take my blood. Let me feed you.' No Manitoban would do that, but that seems to be what is happening, and sure, they might be swarming in Ottawa, those mosquitoes. I say let's get the spray and kill the mosquitoes. Get rid of the mosquitoes. Get rid of the carbon tax. If you want to reduce carbon, do it.
Now, to fight Ottawa on this, there's lots of ways to do it. We could say, well, we have a boreal forest, agricultural land, a tundra, all our carbon sinks. If you look at the total equation of carbon emissions, which is not only emissions but also absorption–carbon sinks like trees, wheat, muskeg, those are all carbon sinks. So, if you take all that, take our emissions, it would be very close if Manitoba is a net emitter or a net carbon sink. That's the way to fight Ottawa, but they don't do it.
I was in Germany recently, just in December, on an energy study paid for by the German government. There were members from Midwestern United States and Prairie provinces. Three members from this Chamber were invited, one member cancelled at the last minute, but this trip was fascinating. All the slides and presentations are on my website and on my YouTube channel, and there were live tweets from this trip, but even the Germans when asked, does a carbon tax reduce GHGs? The answer was no, to a person. There was one guy said, 'well, sure, if you increase to like 300 euros a tonne, that would affect it, sure. If you get rid of all the humans, that would affect it too.'
So rather than go with the orthodoxy, yes, Mr. Speaker, I called it: the emperor has no clothes, and therefore is a great target for blood-sucking mosquitoes and open to be taxed without any kind of results.