The awesome, unstoppable revolutionary electric-car revolution that doesn’t actually exist – by Kevin Libin (Financial Post – July 11, 2017)

Something strange happened at the Ecofiscal Commission recently. Earlier this month, the carbon-tax advocacy group featured on its website as one of its advisers the renowned Canadian economist (and FP Comment columnist) Jack M. Mintz. The other day, suddenly and without fanfare, Mintz was gone from the website, and the commission’s advisory board.

Advisers come and advisers go, of course, but it turns out there was an impetus for Mintz’s departure. The Ecofiscal Commission in its latest report, dropped just before Canada Day, seemingly shifted from its position that carbon prices were so excellent at mimicking market forces that the tax could repeal and replace virtually the entire vast expensive gallimaufry of subsidies, caps, rules and regulations that are costing Canada a fortune in business and bureaucrats.

As some Ecofiscal commissioners wrote just a few months ago, policies that “dictate specific technologies or methods for reducing emissions constrain private choice and increase costs” and were a bad idea.

But, in this latest report, the commission is now musing about the benefits of carbon-tax “signal boosters”: that is, subsidies and rules to, for instance, get people to start buying electric vehicles (EVs), as well as bans on coal-fired power. “Even well designed carbon pricing can have limitations,” rationalized the commission. Mintz said he had “misgivings” about the change of tack. He decided it best if he focus his advisory energies elsewhere.

It’s hard to blame the commission for falling like everyone else for the electric-car mania that’s sweeping the nation and the world.

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