Canadians are just beginning to learn the consequences of abusing the environment. That is why protection must be started right away before it continues to worsen. To do this in the long-term the federal government would introduce a mechanism entitled “Positive Taxation”.
This mechanism will reward those Canadians that choose to take protective measures regarding the environment. First it will be used to allow corporations, large and small, to choose the tax rate they pay. Therefore, an environmentally friendly business would pay significantly less tax, maximizing their profits.
A corporation that does not meet environmentally friendly guidelines would pay a much higher tax rate.
This new system of corporate taxation would begin immediately. The Ministry of the Environment would create the criteria used to decide whether a business is environmentally friendly.
This plan would not interfere with provincial jurisdiction because it is not requiring corporations to meet these objectives, merely giving a large incentive.
Corporations would still have to meet environmental requirements laid out by the provinces. Personnel would be hired by the Ministry of the Environment to determine by the legal guidelines whether a corporation is environmentally friendly or not. If so, that year of qualifying the corporation would see their taxes drop 2% to 4% from current levels.
A corporation would have ten years to qualify as environmentally friendly. If they do not qualify within those ten years their corporate tax rate would increase from 21% to 28% (which was the corporate tax rate before the 2000 budget). In essence, this allows the corporation to choose whether paying a lower or higher tax rate is in their best interests.
The tax revenue lost by this initiative should be offset by those corporations paying the high taxes in the short-run; in the long-run, lost revenues should be met with money saved from the debt reduction plan. As well, Canadians will live in a more environmentally friendly country that attracts environmentally sound companies.
Aside from corporations, individuals will also have choices and incentives regarding the environment. Any Canadian that purchases an alternative fuel vehicle or other low emissions vehicles will not pay any federal sales tax on the purchase. This will provide significant savings to the individual. In addition to these plans, as Prime Minister I would provide new grants for public transportation to municipalities all across the country, especially the major cities. This should lower traffic and smog in the ever-growing urban centres.
The great part about “Positive Taxation” in all regards is that it provides choice for Canadians. With this choice Canadians can more freely choose how they decide to spend their own money. With “Positive Taxation” the government does not interfere with peoples choices; the government makes the other options more attractive to all Canadians.
For this long-term plan to be successful, it must be strong but also very flexible. The debt reduction, decline in poverty, and environmental protection plans have to have a strong commitment from the Members of Parliament, and must not be based on partisan politics. It is inevitable that over the next few decades that there will be more than one party in power and all future governments must stand strong on these unique initiatives.
The debt reduction plan must be flexible because if it has to allow for economic recessions and emergencies.
The policy laid out in this paper regarding poverty is in no way the total solution to this difficult problem. The policy is however, an idea that will reduce poverty, especially child poverty in Canada. If Canadians can reduce the poverty rate, then other plans can be more specific in dealing with short-term problems.
The same goes for cleaning the environment. Corporations cannot clean up their waste in a few days, it can take years, but those who can do it quickly will be rewarded. Canadians also do not buy a new car daily, but incentives for environmentally friendlier transportation, will reduce environmental waste in the long run.
As Prime Minister I have to address many short-term problems. Often what happens in government is that short-term problems are given priority over long term. This throws off our direction as a nation, and it takes a long time to get back on schedule. As leader of the greatest nation in the world, I would manage the short-term in the long-term context. Keeping in mind always where as Canadians we want to go as a nation.
I feel extremely confident that debt reduction, a decrease in poverty, and protecting the environment are concerns of all Canadians, and I know Canadians want these problems addressed.