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Trudeau punishing Canadians for surviving cold winter

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From the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Author: Franco Terrazzano

Millions of Canadians are keeping an anxious eye on their thermostats, praying the power stays on and bracing for carbon-taxed heat bills to arrive.

A frigid winter cold snap delivered daytime temperatures in the minus thirties with overnight windchills of more than minus 50 in parts of Canada. Natural gas furnaces are running around the clock, keeping families from freezing and water pipes from bursting.

The situation got scary Saturday when an Alberta-wide alarm blared across smartphones, TVs and radios. The province warned the power grid was maxing out and rolling blackouts were about to hit.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith took to social media imploring Albertans to turn off their lights, stop using appliances and hunker down to save the power grid from blacking out. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe tagged in, announcing his province was sending 153 megawatts to Alberta.

When it’s minus 40, running the furnace isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. And yet, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is punishing Canadians with a carbon tax for the sin of staying warm and staying alive in winter.

The federal carbon tax is currently set at $65 per tonne, costing 12 cents per cubic meter of natural gas and 10 cents per litre of propane. An average Canadian home uses about 2,385 cubic metres of natural gas per year, so the carbon tax will cost them about $300 extra to heat their home.

Even after the rebates, average families will be out hundreds of dollars this year because of the higher heating bills, gas prices, inflation and the economic damage that comes with the carbon tax, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

But the Trudeau government isn’t done. On April 1, the carbon tax is going up to $80 per tonne. That will cost 15 cents per cubic metre of natural gas.

In fact, Trudeau plans to crank up his carbon tax every year. Over the next three years, Trudeau’s carbon tax will cost the average family $1,100 on natural gas alone.

Canada is a cold place. Keeping the heat on isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. And Trudeau’s carbon tax punishes families who need to stay warm during the winter months. Even worse, Trudeau knows the carbon tax makes it more expensive for families to stay warm.

“We are putting more money back in your pocket and making it easier for you to find affordable, long-term solutions to heat your home,” Trudeau said, when he removed the carbon tax from home heating oil for three years.

This was an admission of an obvious reality: the carbon tax makes life more expensive. Otherwise, why would Trudeau take the carbon tax off a form of heating energy?

Trudeau’s carbon tax-carve out was a political ploy to keep his Atlantic MPs from revolting while support for the Liberals plummeted in their typical stronghold.

While many Atlantic Canadians use heating oil, 97 per cent of Canadian families use other forms of energy, like natural gas or propane, and won’t get any relief from the feds this winter.

Even in Atlantic Canada, 77 per cent of people in the region want carbon tax relief for all Canadians this winter, according to a Leger poll commission by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Provincial politicians of all stripes have demanded the feds take the carbon tax off everyone’s heating bill.

That’s because staying warm isn’t a partisan issue. All Canadians need to heat their home. And we shouldn’t be punished with a tax just to survive the winter.

Trudeau should completely scrap his carbon tax. But at the very least he should extend the same relief he provided to Atlantic Canadians and take the carbon tax off everyone’s home heating bill.

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Business

No reliable evidence that ESG investing produces above-average returns

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From the Fraser Institute

By Steven Globerman

Despite growing skepticism among investors, as evidenced by their withdrawal of billions of dollars from ESG equity funds so far in 2024, many finance industry leaders continue to claim that ESG-focused investing produces above-average returns.

But is that true?

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) is a movement designed to pressure businesses and investors to pursue larger social goals. According to ESG theory, firms that receive poor ratings from ESG rating agencies should lose investment dollars. Yet the claim that ESG-focused investing can help investors do well by doing good has received surprisingly little empirical support from academic studies.

However, according to a new study published by the Fraser Institute, which tracked 310 companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange from 2013 to 2020, neither ESG rating upgrades nor downgrades were related in a statistically significant way to the stock market performance of companies.

Moreover, because the study finds that ESG ratings changes—which, when released, are effectively new information for investors—are not consistently related to financial returns, ESG ratings are likely not relevant to the expected future profitability of publicly listed companies in Canada.

This of course raises the question—if new information (i.e. ratings changes) about a company’s ESG-related practises is not statistically related to equity returns from investing in that company, why do money managers pay for the services of ESG rating companies?

One possible reason is that managers pass a substantial share of the costs along to customers who are willing to sacrifice financial returns (due to higher management fees) to express their commitment to environmental sustainability and other social causes. Another possible reason is that promoting ESG-focused investment alternatives appears to have been, at least until recently, an effective marketing tool.

But again, the empirical evidence suggests there’s no reliable statistical relationship between ESG-focused investing and the risk-adjusted returns earned by investors. And since asset managers typically charge higher fees for ESG-focused mutual funds, ESG investment strategies are more likely to underperform than overperform conventional investment strategies.

Certainly, if some percentage of investors choose to pursue ESG-related investment strategies, even at the cost of lower risk-adjusted investment returns, there should be no legal or regulatory restrictions on doing so. However, securities regulators should closely monitor the investment industry to ensure it provides reliable and up-to-date information about the financial performance of ESG-focused investment products that portfolio managers market to the public.

At the same time, when ESG advocates push for more government-mandated ESG disclosures from companies in Canada, policymakers should be wary of any claims that greater disclosure mandates will improve the financial performance of companies.

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Economy

Returning Trump To The White House Would Reverse Biden’s ‘Energy Ideocracy

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From the Daily Caller News Foundation

By DAVID BLACKMON

With a second term for former President Donald Trump suddenly seeming far more likely in the wake of President Joe Biden’s shocking debate performance, the decision by a Louisiana federal judge Monday to place a hold on the Biden Energy Department’s bizarre “pause” on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) permitting highlights a clear example of how energy policy would shift with a Trump win in November.

In rendering his decision, Federal District Judge James Cain, Jr. called the justifications for the paus offered by Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and DOE staff “completely without reason or logic and is perhaps the epiphany of ideocracy.”

Oof. Of course, that is pretty much what I wrote here about it back in February after the policy was put in place, though I did leave out the part about “ideocracy.”

Simply put, a second Trump presidency would put a quick end to interventionist efforts by the federal government to pick winners and losers in the energy space. Such ideocratic efforts have throughout history most often created unintended consequences that do great damage to impacted industries and the overall economy.

Indeed, Biden’s ideocratic efforts to force adoption of electric vehicles on an increasingly reluctant American public are already doing great damage to the domestic auto industry.

Last month, Fisker became the latest in a succession of pure-play EV makers to go into bankruptcy. Peer company Rivian was teetering on the brink of having to make a similar move before it was bailed out by angel investor Volkswagen’s pledge to pour $5 billion of new capital into its operations in the coming years.

Ford Motor Company has struggled in its own efforts to mount a successful line of EVs, reporting billions of dollars in losses in the process. Investor pressures became so intense after the company lost $132,000 on every unit sold in Q1 2024 that management announced a move to delay and cancel billions in planned additional EV investments in favor of shifting focus to hybrid cars instead.

Biden’s and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s similarly ideocratic efforts to subsidize massive wind developments off the North Atlantic shores of New England have predictably produced similarly damaging results. A parade of planned projects by major wind developers like Equinor, Orsted, and BP have been cancelled as Biden-induced inflation caused their costs to mushroom. A few have been renewed, but with renegotiated power supply rates that will cause utility customers’ bills to explode. Add to that the fact that at least 98 marine mammals — some listed as endangered species — have washed up dead on the beaches of New Jersey alone as wind development has ramped up. You can also add ecological disaster to the economic damage related to this ideocratic pursuit.

Economic and other displacements related to Biden’s ideocratic subsidies for wind and solar industrial installations onshore have become so noticeable and impactful that they are now being opposed in local communities all over the country, with many being rejected outright. Energy Analyst Robert Bryce keeps an excellent comprehensive database of these rejections at his own website.

Even with the local pushback, though, many more proposed wind and solar sites have been approved and developed while benefitting from an array of federal and state subsidies and tax incentives. Unfortunately, the flooding of power grids in Texas and across the rest of the country with unpredictable intermittent generation has had the ideocratic impact of dramatically reducing the stability and reliability of electricity service across the country.

The simple truth is that, in describing the Biden/Granholm LNG permitting pause as “perhaps the epiphany of ideocracy,” Judge Cain could have just as well have been describing the entirety of the administration’s energy policies.

I am asked every day by friends, family and readers alike what changes a second Trump administration would bring to energy policy. It is a question I have always struggled to answer in 50 words or less.

But now, thanks to Judge Cain, I will have a ready answer: “Trump would reverse Biden’s energy ideocracy.”

David Blackmon is an energy writer and consultant based in Texas. He spent 40 years in the oil and gas business, where he specialized in public policy and communications.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Featured Image Credit: Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

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