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HALIFAX - Increasing the GST to 6% and implementing a carbon tax were two major parts of the federal election platform released Wednesday by the Green Party.

Green Leader Elizabeth May released her party's platform promising a $50 per tonne carbon tax and taxes for toxic chemicals. The tax would be used to cut payroll and income taxes, she told a news conference.

The party would also increase the GST to 6% and invest in infrastructure. But the Greens say they would expand the exemptions on food items, and extend them to children's clothing and books.

"The most important thing we are launching today is proof that we are a fiscally responsible party and that all the platform is costed," Ms. May told a news conference.

May defended her platform's taxation policy.

"It's primarily a different way of collection taxes, rather than introducing new taxes."

Ms. May said the carbon tax would have "a mild, but positive effect on GDP."

Among other things, the Greens would:

• Cut corporate tax by $50 for each tonne of carbon emission reductions, to create a $100 per tonne saving when combined with avoided carbon tax

• Cut greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Use cap and trade, with hard caps, for some large polluters. Expand research and development of low-carbon technologies

• Improve energy productivity through smarter regulation of large appliances and vehicles, and a national program to retrofit existing buildings

• Work toward a Guaranteed Annual Income in place of support programs

•Increase funding for post-secondary education and cut students' debt burden

•Protect a universal health care system

• Restore Canada's peacekeeping role and help to build a permanent UN force to respond to conflicts and climate disasters. In Afghanistan, shift from the NATO mission to one led by the UN

Ms. May said the other parties focus on elections and staying in power.

"We are different. We look much farther forward," Ms. May said.

Full platform here as a pdf

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Modernist ideas like the idea that there is one kind of economic style that is going to work for always and forever are sooooo eighteenth-century. If one shift in economic policy towards taxing those that over-pollute causes poeple to pollute less we can always do waht were doing now... have a Conservative government. Which in your opinion is the best thing for Canada, yes?

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It'll take awhile for polluters to actually curb their emissions.

the measures taken to fix their systems will result in monies being spent to retrofit or bring in new consultants, thus spreading more taxable revenues around.

Since the current system will mostly still be in place there will be little difference in the amount of incoming tax revenues otherwise.

Just because it doesn't seem green to you doesn't mean it's not green, Birdy. You're just stuck looking at it from the point of view of argument to be objective.

I remember when the GST was 7%. We lived with it then. We could live with it now.

The Green Shift suggests that for each tonne of offset carbon emissions there would be a $100 benefit for payroll taxes.

Would that then suggest to voters that small business startups could be a tax shelter option for Canadians?

Start a business (buy a number) and buy carbon credits...offset your income tax?

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So in your terms, the carbon tax is a, punishing those who pollute with taxation and b, forcing them to spend more money in order to fix their problems in order to comply? I don't even really think it's "their" problem, moreso "ours". It seems much greener and a whole lot nicer considering to float money into research and development first, come up with green solutions to the problems together and then introduce a tax when industry is in a much better place to adhere/cope.

Norway underwent the same thing and saw a 43% increase in carbon emmissions. How is that? Denmark, on the other hand, developed solutions first to make it easier for industry to adapt. Then introduced a carbon tax to give revenues back to industry to go even greener. That sounds way better to me.

Sooooo eighteenth-century. :)

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I was intrigued by May's 'we're not a party of the left .. the people who respond to us most are the tories who feel left out by the current Conservative party' stance. This will be interesting in the debates. It's never been a secret in political circles that the Greens have always benefited from the protest vote of people who understand them to be like the NDP but more environmentally conscious (despite, for many elections, the Green platform being condemned by environmental groups and the NDP platform being praised by the same, and the international Greens poo-pooing the Canadian Green Party for being overtly conservative and corporatist). This time under May the Greens actually have a sound - though not uncontroversial obviously - platform, but also need to present themselves to the country at large.

I'm excited. The red tories need a new home, and we just may have the beginnings of a 'green tory' movement. I wonder, two elections out, if we split the right all over again.

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Seems like the only catalist to solution-finding that's going to make any push to me.

One thing that gets me is their stance on nuclear power. Plutonium can be recycled into uranium and used again and again...if the Greens shifted their stance on nuclear to mandate recycling of waste, we would see a new industry - thorium. mix thorium with plutonium, run it through the reactor and you get uranium...

reading the platform now and there are a lot of great ideas that deserve a lot more attention than a silly argument on revenue neutral tax shifting.

here are some of them:

increasing the minumum wage,

incentives to hire more workers,

3 week paid vactions,

solutions to cutting debt,

breaking away from the IMF,

aid for family farms and

incentives for geographical regions to be agriculturally self sufficient,

more support for the canada organic standard, help for local infrastructure,

commitments to national parks,

reversing brain drain,

recognizing environmental sensitivities as a health care issue,

healthcare coverage to include basic preventative dental

healthcare coverage to include complimentary medicine (chiropracty, naturopaths, dieticians)

end the war on drugs

move to end poverty and homelessness

better management of arts funding and incentives for Canadian artists and independant media groups

income tax relief and other incentives to artists


Make Government a leader in ethical purchasing

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The Green platform and what it means for couch potatoes

Bill Curry, 17/09/08 at 4:30 PM EDT

Wondering how politics might impact your life? Buried deep inside the Green Party's 119-page platform are a host of specific nuggets that would affect one of the most routine rituals of Canadian life.

A trip to the local Blockbuster under Green rule will cost more as the party's carbon tax would raise the price of gas by 12 cents a litre.

The road might be a bit bumpy too, because the Greens will cancel a large chunk of federal infrastructure spending that isn't aimed at public transportation.

Once you make it through the door at the video store, you may find things look a little different. That's because video chains and movie theatres will be forced to carry at least 20 per cent Canadian content.

If you get hungry in line while waiting to rent the latest Atom Egoyan flick, you might want to think twice. The Greens support a "National Junk Food Tax for non-essential, empty calorie foods and beverages."

However, if you'd rather sit at home smoking pot and watching the CBC, the Greens have policies for that too. The platform calls for the legalization of marijuana and stable funding for Canada's state broadcaster.

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I remember when the GST was 7%. We lived with it then. We could live with it now.

So do I and taking 2% off hasn't really saved me anything either (ok, maybe $640 over the entire year assuming that every penny I spend of my net income is GST'ed). I would have been fine with keeping it at 7%.

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There's a lot to like on the green platform for the righties... especially libertarians... and even the social conservatives (income tax splitting). Should be interesting!

Now you're talkin'. We need to progress and the old guys aren't doing it. It isn't personal, it's that the majority of those who do support the big C party don't listen up and learn for real about politics bacause they're busy with their business and three kids in the suburbs. These people don't want more pressure and responsibility... they want a 'leader'... someone who will make the hard decisions for them, but confidence can become equated with competence unfortunately. The Greens have sound policy for business tax and a large scall econimc swing... but it isn't to the left. The old lefty-righty thing is breaking down for many because it just doesn't explain what were really talking about. It only makes us fight for partisan gain as a way of proving self-righteousness... who's riding that more right now?

And here's where we'd get the startup money...

end the war on drugs
Edited by Guest
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Saying 'the majority of those who do support the big C party don't listen up and learn for real' is a pretty gross generalization. Maybe you don't agree with them, but I'm sure they could take a swing at your political view and say the same. There is no right and no wrong, just a different means of getting to what a lot of the time is the same end-point. I'm really tired of politicians and pundits alike who claim other political views are wrong. How unfucking progressive is that?

Sorry for being bitchy... it's still in the 7 o'clock hour and I just gave it to some telemarketer calling me with a 'business proposal'.

Anyway, I like the Green Party and have considered swinging them my vote during this election. I won't though as I can't bring myself to fall alongside the likes of the carbon tax (I don't think we've given enough to industry to facilitate the change required; the carbon tax just starts out punishing), forcing the sale of Canadian content (sounds waaaaay too elitist for my likes), and infrastructure money that mostly supports public transit (why, oh why can we not start constructing round-abouts??). I think the Green platform may work really, really well, say if we were a progressive European country who already had the bulk of their industry in place to go green. But we're not. The bulk of our economy is in manufacturing and oil. Sure Quebec's renewable resources would be AOK, but what about the rest of the country? I'd really, really like to vote Green and may down the road. Right now, I'm going to stay floating my vote to a party who grants money to research green initiatives and set up the back bone first.

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