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COVID response closed more Canadian businesses than 2008 financial crisis: gov’t report


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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

StatsCan revealed that they are witnessing an increase in ‘zombie businesses,’ a phenomenon which occurs when owners never file for bankruptcy but simply walk away from their business.

Statistics Canada has revealed that more businesses closed as a result of the COVID-induced economic downturn than the 2008 financial crisis.

On October 25, Statistics Canada reported that the COVID-19 “pandemic” caused a record number of small businesses to shut down, with many owners never filing for bankruptcy but instead simply walking away from their companies, resulting in a large uptick in a phenomenon called “zombie businesses,” according to information obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter. 

“This finding represents a larger increase than observed during the 2008 financial crisis when the exit rate increased by one percentage point,” wrote analysts.  

The 2007- 2008 financial crisis, also called the Global Financial Crisis, is considered the most severe worldwide economic crisis since the Great Depression of 1929. 

Business exits refer to the permanent closure of a business and can occur without a formal process, meaning owners can walk away from their businesses without declaring bankruptcy.  

According to StatsCan, exits increased at the same time as bankruptcies fell, which is partly because courts were closed due to COVID lockdowns.   

However, analysts noted that exits did not appear in bankruptcy court statistics, adding, “Formal insolvencies are not the whole story. Formal insolvency is but one path a business in distress may take.” 

“The COVID-19 pandemic had a substantial impact on business dynamics leading to the temporary or permanent closure of many businesses,” analysts continued. 

According to a Department of Industry estimate, Canada had 1,198,632 small businesses before COVID lockdowns. While the number has been revealed to have decreased drastically since then, federal agencies have failed to record comprehensive figures on the economic impact of COVID lockdowns and regulations.  

According to a 2022 Bank of Canada survey, only an estimated half of businesses reopened after being closed by COVID lockdowns. The research tracked 12,976 businesses throughout Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa including bars, restaurants, shops, nightclubs and motels, which were locked down by COVID regulations in April and May 2021. 

“Half of businesses recorded as temporarily closed in May had reopened by the end of September,” the Bank reported. “Forty percent were still hibernating. Ten percent were closed for good.” 

Statistics Canada’s report comes as Liberals MPs recently opted for a closed-door review by Minister of Health advisers of how the Canadian government handled the COVID-19 “pandemic” instead of launching a public inquiry. 

In recent months, numerous reports have emerged revealing the Trudeau government’s mismanagement during the COVID-19 “pandemic.” 

In a 2021 report Pandemic Preparedness, the Auditor General revealed that the cabinet was “not adequately prepared.” 

Furthermore, Lessons Learned From The Public Health Agency Of Canada’s COVID-19 Response, an internal audit, condemned managers for “confusion,” “limited public health expertise” and “no clear understanding” of how to compile critical data. 

Additionally, former Finance Minister Bill Morneau declared that spending programs to tackle COVID were prolonged and led to inflation under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s leadership. 

During the so-called COVID-19 pandemic, the Trudeau government issued billions to Canadians who claimed they needed Canadian Emergency Response Benefits (CERB) as they were not permitted to work under COVID regulations. 

Recently, the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) has worked to take back the $3.2 billion from Canadians who filed for and were given CERB despite not being eligible to receive it. However, many are fighting in court to keep their government payments. 

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Carbon tax costs Canadian economy billions

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Author: Franco Terrazzano 

This tax costs Canadians big time at the gas pump, on home heating bills, on the farm and at the dinner table.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the federal government to scrap the carbon tax in light of newly released government data showing the tax will cost the Canadian economy about $25 billion in 2030.

“Once again, we see the government’s own data showing what hardworking Canadians already know: the carbon tax costs Canada big time,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director. “The carbon tax makes the necessities of life more expensive and it will cost our economy billions of dollars.

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must scrap his carbon tax now.”

The government of Canada released modelling showing the cost of the carbon tax on the Canadian economy Thursday.

“The country’s GDP is expected to be about $25 billion lower in 2030 due to carbon pricing than it would be otherwise,”  reports the Globe and Mail.

Canada contributes about 1.5 per cent of global emissions.

Government data shows emissions are going up in Canada. In 2022, the latest year of data, emissions in Canada were 708 megatonnes of CO2, an increase of 9.3 megatonnes from 2021.

The federal carbon tax currently costs 17 cents per litre of gasoline, 21 cents per litre of diesel and 15 cents per cubic metre of natural gas.

The carbon tax adds about $13 to the cost of filling up a minivan, about $20 to the cost of filling up a pickup truck and about $200 to the cost of filling up a big rig truck with diesel.

Farmers are charged the carbon tax for heating their barns and drying grains with natural gas and propane. The carbon tax will cost Canadian farmers $1 billion by 2030, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

“No matter how many times this government tries to put lipstick on the carbon tax pig, the reality is clear,” said Kris Sims, CTF Alberta Director. “This tax costs Canadians big time at the gas pump, on home heating bills, on the farm and at the dinner table. Trudeau should make life more affordable and improve the Canadian economy by scrapping his carbon tax.”

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New York and Vermont Seek to Impose a Retroactive Climate Tax

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From Heartland Daily News

By Joshua Loucks for the Cato Institute.

Energy producers will be subject to retroactive taxes in New York if the state assembly passes Senate Bill S2129A, known as the “Climate Change Superfund Act.” The superfund legislation seeks to impose a retroactive tax on energy companies that have emitted greenhouse gases (GHGs) and operated within the state over the last seventy years.

If passed, the new law will impose $75 billion in repayment fees for “historical polluters,” who lawmakers assert are primarily responsible for climate change damages within the state. The state will “assign liability to and require compensation from companies commensurate with their emissions” over the last “70 years or more.” The bill would establish a standard of strict liability, stating that “companies are required to pay into the fund because the use of their products caused the pollution. No finding of wrongdoing is required.”

New York is not alone in this effort. Superfunds built on retroactive taxes on GHG emissions are becoming increasingly popular. Vermont recently enacted similar legislation, S.259 (Act 122), titled the “Climate Superfund Act,” in which the state also retroactively taxes energy producers for historic emissions. Similar bills have also been introduced in Maryland and Massachusetts.

Climate superfund legislation seems to have one purpose: to raise revenue by taxing a politically unpopular industry. Under the New York law, fossil fuel‐​producing energy companies would be taxed billions of dollars retroactively for engaging in legal and necessary behavior. For example, the seventy‐​year retroactive tax would conceivably apply to any company—going back to 1954—that used fossil fuels to generate electricity or produced fuel for New York drivers.

The typical “economic efficiency” arguments for taxing an externality go out the window with the New York and Vermont approach, for at least two reasons. First, the goal of a blackboard or textbook approach to a carbon tax is to internalize the GHG externality. To apply such a tax accurately, the government would need to calculate the social cost of carbon (SCC).

Unfortunately, estimating the SCC is methodologically complex and open to wide ranges of estimates. As a result, the SCC is theoretically very useful but practically impossible to calculate with any reasonable degree of precision.

Second, the retroactive nature of these climate superfunds undermines the very incentives a textbook tax on externalities  would promote. A carbon tax’s central feature is that it is intended to reduce externalities from current and future activity by changing incentives. However, by imposing retroactive taxes, the New York and Vermont legislation will not impact emitters’ future behavior in a way that mimics a textbook carbon tax or improves economic outcomes.

Arbitrary and retroactive taxes can, however, raise prices for consumers by increasing policy uncertainty, affecting firm profitability, and reducing investment (or causing investors to flee GHG‐​emitting industries in the state altogether). Residents in both New York and Vermont already pay over 30 percent more than the US average in residential electricity prices, and this legislation will not lower these costs to consumers.

Climate superfunds are not a serious attempt to solve environmental challenges but rather a way to raise government revenue while unfairly punishing an entire industry (one whose actions the New York legislation claims “have been unconscionable, closely reflecting the strategy of denial, deflection, and delay used by the tobacco industry”).

Fossil fuel companies enabled GHG emissions, of course, but they also empowered significant growth, mobility, and prosperity. The punitive nature of the policy is laid bare by the fact that neither New York nor Vermont used a generic SCC or an evidentiary proceeding to calculate precise damages.

Finally, establishing a standard in which “no finding of wrongdoing is required” to levy fines against historical actions that were (and still are) legally permitted sets a dangerous precedent for what governments can do, not only to businesses that have produced fossil fuels but also to individuals who have consumed them.

Cato research associate Joshua Loucks contributed to this post.

Originally published by the Cato Institute. Republished with permission under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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