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The Clean Fuel Standard – What’s in a name?

The cost to the middle class could push some into poverty

The Clean Fuel Standard, what a clever moniker. Who doesn’t want clean fuel? If you don’t support a clean fuel standard, does that mean that you want dirty fuel? Gasp!

Shouldn’t we strive to use low-carbon fuels? Absolutely! But don’t be fooled by fancy terminology. There may be no more humorous example than the often-circulated ‘dihydrogen monoxide petition’. Sometimes done in jest, and other times in all seriousness due to lack of knowledge, periodically someone creates a petition to remove the corrosive, GHG-producing, acid-rain component from the local water system. Unfortunately for those who take it seriously, it turns out dihydrogen monoxide is a scientific term for “water”. Yes, they want to remove water from the water system. Be careful what you wish for; unintended consequences may get you.

Like an episode of The Twilight Zone, sometimes things are not what they seem. It’s why we must understand what the impact of any new legislative changes are to our livelihoods before wholeheartedly endorsing them.

Recall the 1962 episode of The Twilight Zone, To Serve Man, which features an uninvited alien race decending upon earth under the guise of benevolence towards humans. As a gesture of good faith, they give a book in their own language entitled “To Serve Man” that explains the purpose for their visit. The aliens lead the humans to believe they will provide advanced technology to end hunger, energy shortages and the arms race, all things that are desired and gain the trust of the humans. Invited back to the aliens’ home planet, these humans sign up in droves to get on the space ships that will take them to a promised paradise. Unfortunately, at the end, when it’s too late, the book is decoded and determined to be a cookbook – “To Serve Man”.

Like the cookbook, the CFS is not all it seems. It goes beyond the oil and gas sector; this regulation impacts all Canadians and people need to start paying attention. The government is advancing its own agenda to the detriment of Canadians, particularly the already hard-hit middle class.

It’s those in the lower and middle classes that have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic that will be hit again with the CFS. Additional costs that cannot be offset could push people into poverty, forcing them to rely on government help, crushing their dignity.

Poverty doesn’t help pollution. When you’re trying to pay for basics, paying extra to deal with pollution and the environment becomes a very low priority. We’ve seen this in countries that can’t manage their waste because they don’t have the financial ability, and they have basic needs that must be met first.

Canadians, we’re being bamboozled. The CFS isn’t an overt consumer tax, so it won’t show up as a line item on your home heating bill or at the gas pump. It’s more clandestine than that. It won’t be transparent like other taxes that enrage us into action when we see how much it actually costs when we are asked to “pay just a little more”.

The government’s newest indirect tax will cost you. In fact, the CFS will be applied in addition to existing carbon tax plans. Another tax on top of a tax. The current national carbon tax has set price increases up to 2022 when it reaches $50/ tonne of CO2, but the PBO says it needs to be higher to meet the Paris targets. Much higher. It may have to increase to as much as $289/ tonne by 2030. Note that every $10/ tonne increase in the carbon tax increases gasoline prices by 2.21 cents.

Don’t be fooled by nomenclature, semantics, or impressive-sounding names. It’s important to understand the ramifications of any new legislation, especially the Clean Fuel Standard.

The government’s “cookbook” (the Clean Fuel Standard) is almost guaranteed to “serve” the Canadian middle class a tall, cold glass of “dihydrogen monoxide” when it comes to their personal wealth and savings being eroded by poorly thought-out and fancifully-named legislation.

Call to action

If you would like to learn more about the CFS and biofuels, please check out:

If you have concerns about this legislation, talk to your provincial and federal elected representatives and senators. Tell them you want regulations that enhance Canada’s competitiveness and that you don’t want more costs placed on your overburdened household.

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