A way out of a wrongheaded promise

I’ve criticized the NDP’s carbon subsidy (here, here, and here,), but I understand the value of keeping campaign promises, even dumb ones. In my contrary view, public cynicism about politicians is so deep, it threatens to destroy the minimal level of public trust democracy needs to survive. This may be why the Tories and the Parliamentary Press Gallery have been so successful at drumming up absurd faux-outrage at the prospect of a fall election.

So even as two of the Dexter government’s promises (keeping all rural emergency rooms open and using tax rebates to encourage electricity consumption) make me shudder, I can’t help but admire Dexter’s determination to implement them.

Contrarian’s friend Mike Targett suggests a way out of this self-set trap:

While the NDP’s home insulation & energy-efficiency improvement program for low-income earners is a good idea, the electricity rebate is an inefficient fossil fuel subsidy that will likely encourage wasteful consumption precisely because it is not targeted at those in need.

Here’s my idea: those on one side of the wage gap donate their rebate to a fund that feeds into the energy-efficiency program for low-incomers. This fund could be set up by a charity or the province itself. If only 6 or 7 thousand people did this, it would double the program’s current budget.

How about it, Darrell?

On the debate over the Wark Principle, Targett adds:

Home-heat is a necessity; carbon emissions are not. A carbon tax (exempt low-incomers) would fund renewable energy development in order to decouple energy from carbon. Of course, as we’ve seen, it can’t be called a tax. Since averting climate catastrophe ensures a livable future for our children and grandchildren, we could just call it an RFSP: Registered Future Saving Plan.