Probably best not to call it a "tax", though not really a plan yet, either, just the shadow of one. But whatever. Stephen Gordon is a professor of economics at l'Université Laval in Quebec City, Canada. Its all a good read, but he is especially cutting with respect to Jack Layton's reaction.
On Jack's support of "cap-and-trade" over a carbon tax:
As far as the consumer is concerned, cap-and-trade will have exactly the same effect as a carbon tax, namely, to increase prices. The only potential difference is who is on the receiving end of that extra spending: with a carbon tax, the government gets the money, and with cap-and-trade, that money is rent for those who own the permits. If the permits are auctioned off by the government, the two programs are essentially equivalent.
How true, how true.
On Jack's claim that "big corporations" should bear the lion's share of Canada's climate-change tab, and that there should be a federal ombudsman should ensure those costs aren't passed on to consumers.
Could someone please explain to Jack Layton that corporations don't pay taxes? Only people pay taxes, and corporations are not people. And the people who pay corporate taxes are not the owners of the corporation, either: the people who really pay those taxes are workers (in the form of reduced employment opportunities) and consumers (in the form of higher prices).
The Liberals and Conservatives understand this point. The CPC is targeting the people who don't want to pay those costs, and Stéphane Dion is going after those who do. The NDP's niche appears to be voters who want someone else to pay the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Also true, but I think Jack Layton does understand this. He also understands that a federal ombudsman can only ensure that costs are not passed on to consumers is if he has secret magical powers. Jack is simply pandering to the common sentiment: Don't tax me, don't tax thee, tax the man behind the tree.
By the way, Mr. Gordon's blog title, "Worthwhile Canadian Initiative", is considered by some to be the "most boring headline that could possibly be imagined". Quite clever, in this context.