• Clarke Wallace

Surely there’s something we can do to help our planet survive. You can’t expect it to if we Canadians ship tons of live lobster from the east coast in one shipment to satisfy China and the Chinese.  We’re wiping our oceans’ bounty.

Or scraping the bottom with special nets catching whatever comes in its path. It’s illegal, and by some counts fishing that’s not reported brings in between 10 and 25 million tons of fish yearly. Oops.

I wanted to write about carbon taxes to reduce what they call greenhouse emissions (GHGs) which cause global warming. From all accounts, that’s the best way to handle it. At least for a start. Let’s give it a chance to prove itself.

I found a good explanation of carbon taxing recently in the Globe & Mail by veteran columnist David Olive. He tells us how Canada is a pioneer in carbon taxing dating back (2006 & 2007) to Alberta and British Columbia respectively, who launched North America’s first carbon taxing systems.

Everything since then hit the fan beginning with five provinces who won’t go along with it.

David Olive summed it up by reviewing the facts. I’ll paraphrase what he had to say:

- The carbon tax will rise each year until 2022, and so will the federal rebate. - The bureaucratic costs of carbon pricing are so low as to be negligible. - The cost to Canada of global warming effects…has been estimated at 21 billion to 43 billion a year by mid-century. - Canada’s conservatives are offering no real alternatives. - The B.C. model is a free-market approach… leaving it up to the individual the decision how to reduce the carbon footprint. -  Worldwide, 74 countries, states, provinces and cities have implemented or are scheduled for implementation of the carbon pricing systems.

I’ve touched what Olive tells us, but it gives us food for thought.

Author’s comment: Last week I wrote about Olga and Charles putting some $2,500 into a condo yet to be built. They paid this to the builder over two years. It turns out my figures were askew. Somewhere around $175,000 which was returned to them when the construction was called off. They received no interest on it by the contractor.

  • Clarke Wallace

Buying an apartment or condo these days must be more that stressful. Let’s try damn right agonizing. Especially when you’re putting money down on a building that’s still a hole in the ground, or has a structure that’s ready for demolition.

You visit the contractor. He shows you the plan for the building. There’s give and take until you settle on what you want. Fourth floor, two bedrooms. Balcony a must. Good view. You read it through multiple times, and sign it. Put money down. Say two thousand five hundred. You’re all smiles.

Construction will begin, the contractor tells you – after you’ve signed – soonest. Or relatively soon. Shovels will be in the ground as early as possible. In the near future. Maybe even sooner…

In the near future? This gives you pause. Hmm. The contractor shrugs. Don’t worry, he says.

Don’t worry?

When driving by the lot some time later, hoping the building is well on its way, you find nothing has been done. Zilch. At least the building that was there has been demolished. Now it’s just a messy hole in the ground.

You call the contractor for the umpteenth time. He assures you that getting everything in place before the actual construction begins, takes time. Obtaining city permits, a bore. Etc.

Two years is coming up when you learn the project has been dumped. The contractor has decided the cost isn’t worth the effort. He’s willing to pay back your advance. Fully. But with no accruing interest. You’re kidding. After how long he’s held it? It’s legit, says your legal eagle.

That’s how it works. The contractor pays you back, the twenty-five hundred dollars, only.

Author’s comment: I was peddling my heart out on the gym’s life cycle the other day next to Olga, who peddles much faster than me. She told me about being caught in a similar situation. She and her husband, Charlie, had put down a down payment on a condo, only to be told much later the project had been cancelled.

What bothered her most was hearing the same contractor was building a new complex on the same site. With each condo selling for a much higher price. Can you believe it? No? Go to city hall. Ask what can be done. Their answer will be a shrug. *^#&$%%@#* is all I can say.