Platform

Message from Green Party of Manitoba leader, James Beddome

James Beddome, Leader, Green Party of Manitoba

James Beddome, Leader, Green Party of Manitoba

Manitoba needs Greens in the Legislature. The Green Party of Manitoba presents a new voice, and a focus on solutions that no other party offers. The Greens aim to eradicate poverty and grow local economies. We will work to achieve balanced budgets and we oppose unnecessary handouts. We are the only party to make environmental protection a priority, and to realize that security and economic prosperity depend on sustainable environmental practices.

In this election we are bringing forwarding bold ideas that will:

  • cut poverty rates in half, virtually ending child and elder poverty in Manitoba;
  • create green jobs, while at the same time protecting our waterways and reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
  • work toward balanced budgets; and,
  • scrap the education property tax.

Greens understand that Manitobans want security and long-term health for ourselves and our children. We all want clean air and water, rewarding jobs, good food and a comfortable home. What’s more, we want to be a part of our community, and we want to be able to continue to enjoy the beauty of the natural world.

The people of Manitoba must make a fundamental choice. Do we continue allowing the destruction of the environment which supports our economy, or do we fight for a progressive economic agenda that creates jobs, reduces poverty, protects the environment, and protects our health?

These are bold changes. True leaders pursue innovative policies for the benefit of the greater good. The Green Party is prepared to be that leader for Manitoba today. It’s time to elect Greens to the Manitoba Legislature.

On April 19, 2016, vote for a better future. Vote Green.

Sincerely yours,

beddome signature blue

 

James Beddome, Leader
Green Party of Manitoba

April 5, 2016

Download the Platform in a PDF Format (1MB)

See also Approved Policies of the Green Party of Manitoba ( PDF 753 KB)

 

Contents

The Economy Depends on the Environment

The Economy Must Work For Every Manitoban

Details of major Green Party Of Manitoba Proposals

Green Party Of Manitoba Proposal #1: Reduce Manitoba’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Challenge – Rising greenhouse gas emissions

Manitoba’s existing Climate Change and Green Economy Action Plan is short on action

The Green Response – $50/tonne carbon tax

Gross and net annual cost of goods and services induced by a $50/tonne carbon tax – Manitoba 2014

Boosting Manitoba’s economy with a carbon tax

Green Party Of Manitoba Proposal #2: Tackle Poverty With Guaranteed Annual Income

The Challenge – Poverty and unemployment rates have increased

Provincial anti-poverty and income support programs have not addressed the need

The Green Response – A Guaranteed Annual Income for all adult Manitobans

The design of the GAI

The financing and cost of the GAI

The net impact of a GAI on family after-tax income

Impact of GAI on the rate and depth of poverty

Green Party Of Manitoba Proposal #3:

Eliminate The Education Property Tax

The Challenge – Funding education with local property tax

The Green Response – Eliminate education property tax

Impact on taxes paid

High Mill Rate School Division – Kelsey: Mill Rate = 22.4

Average Mill Rate School Division – Seine River: Mill Rate = 15.5

Low Mill Rate School Division – Evergreen: Mill Rate = 11.5

Conclusion

Green Party Of Manitoba Proposal #4:

Fund Healthful Living Promotion

The Challenge – Healthful living promotion

The Economy Depends on the Environment

The Green Party vision is to shift to a sustainable society. We will develop a green economy built on the principles of sustainability, which stresses local production and self-determination. The green economy aims for full employment in rewarding, fairly paid jobs, and does not accept poverty or social exclusion. It thrives on meaningful citizen participation and promotes community involvement. It minimizes waste and uses resources efficiently and carefully. A green economy protects natural eco-systems as necessary for the continuation of life.

For decades, Manitoba’s environment has been taken for granted. Governments have allowed our rivers and lakes to become polluted and our natural resources to be carelessly and even dangerously exploited. More waste than ever is being generated, and urban sprawl and air pollution continue unchecked. Flooding has increased the provincial debt, and our food supply is being compromised as monocultures cause crop disease. Even though there is a growing awareness of water and air pollution, especially greenhouse gases (GHGs), our leaders keep repeating the same mistakes. They are saddling us with massive bills for infrastructure that will be mostly obsolete in a few short years as the carbon-free economy grows.

Manitobans want to embrace a clean, green economy without delay, with realistic planning decisions that prepare us for the carbon-free future. Do we spend a billion dollars on bypasses and roads for more cars and trucks? Or, can that billion dollars be spent instead on developing a clean transportation system powered by alternative energy? Because clean transportation will save as much as four times what it costs, will create decent jobs, reduce household costs, lower GHG emissions and reduce pollution, the answer is obvious.

Major steps the Green Party of Manitoba will take toward creating a clean, green economy include:

  • Creating more jobs. Addressing climate change and looking to new sources of energy will create huge economic opportunities. Studies show that by investing in industries that will help to green the economy (industries such as mass transit, building retrofits, smart grid technology, wind and solar energy production) we can create more jobs than by investing the same amount of money into more heavily polluting and resource extractive industries (such as oil & gas and mining). More people in Canada are employed in the renewable energy sector than are employed in the oil sands. More people in the U.S.A. are employed by the solar industry than are employed by the fossil fuel industry. Clearly, the way of the future is green.
  • Supporting small business first. The Greens are committed to supporting and investing in small Manitoban companies producing goods for local markets, instead of subsidizing large multi-national corporations. Much can be done within current existing budgets by capping subsidies and redirecting funds away from larger businesses towards smaller enterprises.
  • Localizing the economy. The Greens make local industry a priority. Manitoba Greens are not against trade; rather, we want to ensure that our trade is sensible, sustainable, and ultimately beneficial to Manitobans. The history of Manitoba is dominated by the extraction of raw products (grains, livestock, metals, raw lumber, and so on) which we sell to global markets and then buy back as finished goods at value added prices. The jobs we could create right here in Manitoba are being shipped elsewhere and we are left with the environmental impacts of extraction. The Greens support value added initiatives. We have already seen how a falling Canadian dollar has increased the price of imported food, and yet Manitoba has the capacity to grow more food right now, which would create more local jobs, reinvigorate family farms, provide protection from price shocks and enhance food safety and supply.
  • Moving away from fossil fuels. Not only are fossil fuels non-renewable and in limited supply, their use causes serious environmental damage. In Manitoba, the transportation and agricultural sectors are particularly reliant on fossil fuel energy. A steep rise in the cost of gasoline, diesel, and natural gas-derived fertilizer would place a financial strain on all sectors of Manitoba’s economy. Now is the time, when oil prices are low and before prices rise and supplies fall, to begin the transition away from a fossil-fuel based society.
  • Ensuring that polluters pay. The Green Party of Manitoba will introduce a $50/tonne carbon tax on a broad range of fossil fuels. This will generate $500 million a year, including $166 million to be invested in the transition to a carbon-free economy, which will provide funding for a range of initiatives designed to make it easier for citizens to shift to greener practices. Some of our plans include zero-emission buses, airships for freight to northern communities, flood reduction, sustainable farming practices, retrofit programs, and renewable energy.

In addition, $274 million a year of that $500 million will go to reducing Manitoba’s bottom personal income tax bracket from 10.8% to 9.5%, thereby helping to offset any increased cost of goods and services due to the carbon tax. Another $60 million a year will go to reducing the Health and Education Levy (‘payroll tax’) on small businesses. The Greens are committed to a full and public annual accounting of revenues and expenditures for this initiative.

  • Introducing fare-free transit. Fare-free public transit is an important component of the Manitoba Greens’ climate action plan. In conjunction with a well-run transit system, improved service and zero-emission electric buses, free public transit will significantly reduce GHG emissions by making it easy and economical to reduce automobile dependence in urban areas. There are further benefits. Road building and maintenance costs will be reduced. Air quality will improve. And, because transit fares can take a big chunk out of the budget of someone with a small income, poverty will decrease. We will encourage the federal government to allocate the existing public transit non-refundable tax credit directly to those urban centres providing fare-free service.
  • Expanding green transportation. The Greens know that we also need to explore other green initiatives, such as restoring bus service to rural communities; promoting the use of more electric vehicles in Manitoba through fee-bate programs and government fleet purchases; improving active transportation opportunities such as cycling with further infrastructure investments; using airships for shipping freight to northern remote settlements; and promoting the use of rail for freight.
  • Improving food quality, creating rural jobs and restoring biodiversity. The Green Party wants to see Manitoba’s food production weaned off the chemical and fossil fuel dependence which has increased crop disease, drained money from farms, and gutted rural communities. This shift starts with removing impediments to organic production, moving research money away from the high-yield-at-all-cost industrial focus, ending the PST exemption on farm pesticides, mandating humane treatment of farm animals, and ending subsidies to factory farms. Our aim is to invest in organic agriculture so as to return biodiversity to the land and reduce the dangerous crop diseases caused by the monocultures of industrial farming.

It is a common myth that industrial agriculture provides the world with the great bulk of its food. In fact, industrial farming is inefficient; it produces about half the world’s food on half the world’s land, but uses nine times the resources, produces nine times the GHGs, and creates one quarter the jobs to do so. Globally, small local farms use the same amount of land, produce the same amount of food, and employ three times as many people. Fostering local production and local processing of food here in Manitoba will help sustain our rural communities by providing stable employment. It also will shorten the distance food is transported from farm to household, thus reducing GHG emissions and providing fresher, more nutritious food.

  • Stopping farmland drainage which causes flooding. Preserving and restoring wetlands protects our waterways from pollution while also protecting our communities from flooding. Years of ditching and draining farm fields have increased income for farmers but caused expensive flood damage for those downstream. The Greens propose a program to allow farmers to move ponds and wetlands around on their land for convenient farming, but require that the water be retained. We will end all drainage subsidies and use tax incentives to encourage the replacement of the natural water retention capacity where potholes and sloughs have been removed. The Greens will protect government owned wetlands and prohibit further wetland drainage.
  • Protecting Lake Winnipeg and Manitoba’s waterways. Lake Winnipeg has been dubbed the most threatened lake in the world, and many of Manitoba’s other lakes and rivers are also threatened by pollution. In addition to protecting wetlands, the Greens will protect Lake Winnipeg from harmful chemical, manure and sewage run-off. The Greens will ensure that all building permits for residential, commercial, institutional and industrial buildings include a water reclamation system so that only minimal amounts of treated water are used. We will push for more sustainable agricultural practices, and will eliminate government subsidies for large confined animal feeding operations. The Greens will demand the installation of leak detection systems to eliminate the dumping of raw sewage into our rivers.
  • Retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency and creating jobs. Huge savings can be gained from properly insulating Manitoba’s existing buildings. These savings are not just in money, but also in GHG emissions and other pollution. The Green Party promotes increased efforts to insulate buildings, with programs geared to making it easy and affordable. We will also bring in super-efficiency standards for new buildings, with the aim of making them energy self-sufficient.
  • Conserving energy and expanding green energy production. Through innovative policy, Manitoba can be positioned for an energy future that is robust, sustainable, clean and affordable. The Green Party strategy is designed to conserve energy and create jobs by insulating homes and building public transportation. We will invest in alternative sources like solar, wind and geothermal power, and in building storage capacity to level out energy fluctuations. By localizing energy production we reduce the need for wasteful high-voltage transmission lines and we minimize widespread power outages. The cost of alternative energy compares favorably, especially when it is subsidized to the same extent enjoyed by the oil industry and by hydro projects.
  • Putting a moratorium on building new hydro dams. Hydro dams flood valuable land, increase GHG emissions and cost Manitobans billions of dollars for a single project. This money could be used more effectively to build less damaging sources of power. The Greens will not saddle Manitobans with the further debt obligation of even more large hydro dams. Instead, we will focus on diversifying the energy grid with local alternatives such as solar and wind. In addition, the Greens will live up to promises of compensation for communities and sacred lands damaged by hydro projects.
  • Ending subsidies to unsafe industries. The Greens will not continue to prop up dangerous and polluting industries with public money and lax environmental standards. We will ban fracking, in which ground water is threatened by toxic chemicals pumped under pressure so as to release fossil fuels. We will ban uranium mining and exploration. We will protect the ecological integrity of Manitoba’s north – it is the last remaining pristine wilderness in Canada, and possibly in the world.
  • Opposing the TransCanada Pipeline Energy East project. The Energy East pipeline project involves using a 40-year-old existing pipeline with a history of leaks, spills and explosions – and a certainty that these accidents will increase. Continuing to burn fossil fuels at the rate the pipelines would demand is a recipe for climate catastrophe. The project will offer almost nothing in the way of economic benefits for Manitoba and carries great risks for contaminating water and, in the case of an explosion, rupturing nearby gas lines. The pipeline will endanger water supplies across Manitoba, including the Winnipeg Aqueduct. The folly of spending billions on building and maintaining pipelines to transport diluted tar across the country cannot be overstated.

The Manitoba Greens want to make sure this project never happens. Because portions of it require provincial licensing and approval, we believe that withholding this approval will be the most effective way to protect Manitoba from the pipeline’s dangers, as well as helping keep dangerous amounts of GHGs out of the atmosphere.

  • Protecting forests, and ending mining in all provincial parks. Resource extraction and other industries have been so poorly regulated that they have been allowed to get away with dangerous and destructive practices. The regulations that do exist are too often ignored. The Greens will strengthen and enforce regulations to stop pollution from mines, and will end all mining, clear-cut logging, and peat mining in provincial parks. The Greens support responsible operations which protect the forest, wildlife, soil and water from damage.

 

The Economy Must Work For Every Manitoban

An economy that accepts the ongoing unemployment and social marginalization of large numbers of people is an economy that isn’t working. Manitoba’s perpetually high poverty rate is evidence that there are fundamental flaws in the current system. In spite of government investment in a range of programs and services, the poverty rate increased from 9.2% in 2008 to 12.3% in 2013.

The Greens understand that the complex issue of poverty has to be addressed on many levels. There need to be social institutions and an economic system in place to equalize opportunities and encourage ways out of the cycle of poverty. Improved systems of education, healthcare, child care and child protection are needed to solve poverty in the long-term.

The major steps the Green Party of Manitoba will take toward creating a fair and efficient economy include:

  • Reducing poverty through a Guaranteed Annual Income. The GAI is an innovative program designed to put more money into the hands of the poor and at the same time give greater incentive to work. It is to be administered through the income tax system and financed mainly by income tax reform.

The Green Party of Manitoba has developed a comprehensive plan to deliver a GAI now with minimal effect on Manitoba’s taxpayers in the short term and with significant tax savings in the long term. This program will reduce the percent of families living below the poverty line (the poverty rate) by 45%, and the depth of poverty by 33%. It will completely eliminate poverty for elderly couples, and reduce the poverty rate for elderly singles by 68%. The poverty rate for single parent families will drop by 89% and for two parent families by 86%. Non-elderly couples will see their poverty rate drop by 50%, and non-elderly single people will see their poverty rate drop by 31%. These are unprecedented reductions and will result in Manitoba’s poverty rate dropping from 2nd to 6th place, and its depth of poverty (percent below the poverty line) falling to the lowest in Canada.

The Green Party proposal starts with an immediate $6300 for every Manitoban who files income tax. This amount will be taxed backed from Manitobans at the lowered rate of 16% of total family income. Some level of GAI payment will be retained by everyone whose income is up to twice the poverty line. The estimated $1.39 billion cost of the GAI will be financed by eliminating many of the provincial non-refundable and refundable tax credits ($1.22 billion), by reinvesting savings from reduced Employment and Income Assistance payments ($130 million), and by eliminating the Manitoba Child Benefit, the 55PLUS and Rent Assist programs ($40 million). It will result in an average 22% increase in the incomes of the poor, and a 1.7% increase for those with incomes between one and two times the poverty line. For higher income tax payers, it will cost only an average of 1.5% of their disposable income. The GAI will allow Manitoba to gradually replace the broken welfare system with a support program which encourages recipients to work.

  • Focusing on children. The Green goal is to make sure all children in Manitoba receive what they need to thrive and to develop into engaged, contributing citizens. To achieve this, the Greens will invest heavily in the well-being of this generation. As we see our youngsters grow into healthy, self-reliant adults, we will start to see the rich return on this investment.

The first task is to fix the problems in Child and Family Services. Manitoba’s child protection system is failing, and children are suffering because of it. Increasing numbers are taken into care in a costly child protection system that too often perpetuates existing family problems. Overloaded social workers do not have the time to thoroughly assess and implement the best methods for family support. First Nations children are especially vulnerable, as families still suffer the effects of residential schools.

We must break the cycle of abuse and neglect, and whenever possible focus on reunification rather than apprehension. The Green reforms to the CFS will include lowering caseloads to a maximum of 20 per worker, and providing better training for workers in risk assessment procedures. We will equalize child welfare funding levels on and off reserves. We will make supports available to youth under child protection until they are 25, as well as implement changes to the Adoption Act to permit subsidized legal guardianship, and institute custom adoption practices to allow the child to be raised by a relative according to the custom of the community. In addition, the Greens will invest more resources to strengthen families’ capacity to care for their children at home.

Another major Green Party focus will be to establish a universal child care and early childhood learning program, publicly funded, high quality, and available to all. Such a program will help to ensure that all children have access to a safe and stimulating environment, which will help improve their future success in schooling and employment. Universal childcare elsewhere in Canada has been proven to increase employment and decrease poverty.

  • Senior citizens. The Greens will end elder poverty through our guaranteed annual income program. We will expand resources to help to keep people living in their homes longer, and we will protect pensions from disappearing due to corporate skimming and bankruptcies.
  • Equalizing education funding. Manitoba is the only province to fund its public school system through property taxes. This method results in an unequal tax burden and unequal funding for schooling which is exaggerated by Manitoba’s geography. School property tax is also a burden on local economies as businesses get taxed twice, once by school divisions through the ‘special levy’ and once by the provincial government ‘education support levy’. Greens will equalize education funding by ending school taxes and folding education costs into general revenues. What’s more, we’ll put decisions into the hands of local residents and end forced amalgamation.
  • Respecting the treaty relationship with Manitoba’s First Nations and Métis Communities. The Green Party of Manitoba recognizes the treaties as the legal basis for relationships between the government of Manitoba and First Nations and Métis communities. We will work to improve these relationships. We will end government stalling on treaty land entitlements and settle land claims to protect traditional indigenous communities, burial sites, and gathering places. The Greens recognize and respect indigenous constitutional rights to hunt, fish, and gather. We will implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In addition, we will help to set up an Indigenous Youth Strategy initiative that will bring together experienced people from the areas of justice, child welfare, family services, mental health, health, and education, working to help indigenous youth stay in school and out of prison and working to remove the barriers imposed by poverty.

  • Saving through preventive healthcare. The Manitoba healthcare system is overburdened by an almost exclusive focus on acute care. There is a real opportunity to improve lives and reduce healthcare costs right now by expanding preventive care. A mere 4 cents out of every $100 of health budgets is spent on prevention. Health problems resulting from inactivity and poor diet are epidemic and the cost of obesity-related hypertension and diabetes is spiraling.

Sugary snacks and drinks contribute significantly to obesity, and they are cheap enough to be easily affordable even to children. To discourage poor food choices, the Greens will remove junk food from schools and create a 20% tax on sugary food and drinks, an initiative that research has shown reduces obesity. The revenues generated from this tax will be dedicated to funding health promotion and disease prevention programs.

The Greens oppose the privatization of healthcare, and will work for a strong, expanded public system that is equally accessible to all and includes Medicare coverage of mental health and child dental care.

The Greens will find significant healthcare cost savings by developing programs that would enable the elderly to continue living in their own homes, expanding facilities for long-term care so as to reduce hospital stays, provide more front-line nurse practitioners, and make greater use of midwife services.

  • Improving democracy through proportional representation. Voter apathy and disengagement threaten the legitimacy of governments. In the 1973 provincial election, 78% of Manitoba’s electorate voted. By 2011, the number was down to 56%. It is typical in our electoral system for parties to gain power and members to take seats with fewer than half the votes cast. Too many citizens, especially young people, have come to believe their votes don’t count. To re-engage citizens in political participation, the Greens will hold public consultations to study types of proportional representation voting systems, followed by adoption of the one best suited to Manitoba.
  • Balancing the budget. Since 2008, Manitoba’s government expenditures have exceeded revenues, and the fiscal stabilization fund has fallen from $864 million to $115 million. The net provincial debt as a percentage of GDP has risen to 34% from 26%. Manitoba’s long-term financial future is at risk.

Through a series of measures to increase revenues and reduce expenditures, the Green Party will work toward achieving balanced budgets. Doing this would mean constraining the increase in core government spending to the annual increase in the GDP. Our plan also includes increasing revenues by ending regressive tax breaks such as the PST exemption for farm pesticides, the farm subsidy on gasoline, and a large number of corporate income tax subsidies.

Details of major Green Party Of Manitoba Proposals

The Green Party proposals will be paid for by redirecting existing revenue and cutting failed programs, replacing them with new, efficient initiatives as outlined throughout this platform. Here we detail and cost our major policy proposals.

Green Party Of Manitoba Proposal #1: Reduce Manitoba’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Challenge – Rising greenhouse gas emissions

According to the 2015 National Inventory Report on greenhouse gas (GHG) sources in Canada (1990 to 2013), Manitoba had total GHG emissions of 21.4 kilotonnes of CO2 equivalent (ktCO2 e), which is 14.4% higher than 1990 levels and 21.7% higher than the Kyoto target of 6% below 1990 levels. This table shows that the key contributors to the GHG emissions in Manitoba are transportation, agriculture and stationary heating. More specifically, the largest contributors showing high growth rates are heavy duty diesel trucks; light duty gas trucks; enteric fermentation from livestock; agriculture soils; and heating of manufacturing, commercial and industrial buildings. By key source, GHG emissions in 2015 were:

Source

Per cent
of Total

% Change
Since 1990

Total Emissions

100.0%

+14%

Transportation – Total

38.4%

+14%

Road Transportation

26.7%

+51%

Heavy Duty Diesel Trucks

9.4%

+140%

Light Duty Gas Trucks

8.9%

+123%

Light Duty Gas Vehicles

6.2%

-19%

Off-road gas vehicles

3.2%

+50%

Agriculture – Total

31.3%

+40%

Enteric Fermentation

11.7%

+32%

Manure Management

3.6%

+59%

Agriculture Soils – Direct Sources

11.7%

+47%

– Indirect Sources

3.3%

+75%

Stationary Heating Sources – Total

20.0%

-15%

Manufacturing

5.6%

0%

Commercial & Institutional

6.5%

0%

Residential

6.0%

-26%

Waste – Total

4.7%

+37%

Solid Waste on Land

4.7%

+43%

Industrial Production – Total

3.3%

+53%

The other finding from this table is that the sources of GHG emissions are broad based and not concentrated in any sector or industry. Compared to other provinces, Manitoba has the 5th highest per capita emissions (16.9 tonnes CO2 e). The six provinces east of Manitoba all had reductions in their GHG emissions between 1990 and 2013 while the four western provinces all had increases in total and per capita emissions.

Manitoba’s existing Climate Change and Green Economy Action Plan is short on action

In December, 2015, the provincial government released its Climate Change and Green Economy Action Plan to address the province’s rising GHG emissions. The plan sets ambitious GHG reduction targets – a reduction of 6,900 ktCO2 e by 2030, which translates into an annual reduction of 490 ktCO2 e for each of the next 14 years. This is compared to an increase of 2.7 ktCO2 e between 1990 and 2013. However, what it proposes to do to achieve these ambitious reductions does not measure up. None of the measures have GHG reduction estimates attached to them. The government plan proposes:

  • demand-side management initiatives – 14 in all, but how will they be funded?
  • a five year $5 million Climate Change Action Fund to finance fuel efficiency retrofits, sustainable agriculture practices, assessing risks and finding solutions, expanding tree planting, community innovation, and green energy – all that for $1 million per year!
  • carbon pricing via a cap-and-trade on Manitoba’s largest emitters – there are only 13 of them and they account for only 10% of total GHG emissions.
  • carbon stewardship producer responsibility organizations tasked with reducing GHG emissions – no more than vague promises.
  • government-focused initiatives – no details or GHG reduction estimates.
  • sector reductions – good ideas in the list of initiatives, but how will they be funded?

The key conclusion is that the NDP blueprint contains ambitious targets but no plan or adequate financial commitment to make it happen.

The Green Response – $50/tonne carbon tax

  • generate additional $500 million with a carbon tax
  • lower personal income tax by $274 million to offset costs of GHG reduction
  • reduce levies on small businesses by $60 million to offset costs of GHG reduction
  • invest $166 million in a Climate Action Fund

Because Manitoba has few large emitters responsible for only 10% of GHG emissions, and because the source of emissions is broad based, a broad-based tax on fossil fuels, with the tax proportional to the amount of GHGs emitted, is required to achieve significant reductions. Accordingly, the GPM is proposing a $50/tonne tax on the same range of fuels included in British Columbia’s Carbon Tax Act, but increased by 5/3, given that B.C.’s carbon tax is $30/tonne.

This level of a carbon tax on gasoline and diesel fuel would redirect 11.1 cents a litre toward emission reduction and lead to an estimated reduction of 281 ktCO2 e a year, based on analyses of the price elasticity of demand for fuels. It would also give incentive for retrofits to homes and businesses to reduce heating costs. The large proportion of the revenue would be raised from the tax on the following sources:

Type of Fuel

Carbon Tax

Total Consumption (2014)

Total Revenue

Clear Gasoline (per litre)

0.1112

1,555,060,000

$172,922,672

Clear Diesel Fuel (per litre)

0.1278

814,767,000

$104,127,223

Aviation Fuel (per litre)

0.1230

135,361,000

$16,649,403

Jet Fuel (per litre)

0.1305

9,660,000

$1,260,630

Natural Gas (per cubic metre)

0.0950

2,169,888,000

$206,139,360

Propane (per litre)

0.0770

239,000

$18,403

TOTAL

$501,117,691

Based on British Columbia’s experience of a carbon tax’s impact on the average cost of goods and services, it is estimated that a $50/tonne carbon tax would lead to the following increases in the per adult cost of goods and services:

Gross and net annual cost of goods and services induced by a $50/tonne carbon tax – Manitoba 2014

Total Disposable Income Per Adult

Average Per Adult Disposable Income

Per Adult Cost of a $50/tonne Carbon tax

Savings due to Lowering the Bottom Income Tax Rate

Net Cost of the Carbon Tax Per Adult

Under Low-income cut-off (LICO)

$12,245

-$218

+$96

-$122 (1.0%)

1 – 2 x LICO

$23,099

-$180

+$263

+$83 (0.3%)

2 – 3 x LICO

$32,536

-$270

+$323

+$53 (0.2%)

3 – 4 x LICO

$40,393

-$343

+$352

+$9 (0.0%)

4 + x LICO

$68,614

-$442

+$359

-$83 (0.1 %)

TOTAL

$34,422

-$294

+$294

$0 (0.0%)

Source: Statistics Canada, Social Policy Simulation Data Base and Model (SPSDM) Version 22.0. Calculations by the Party.

This table shows that, overall, a $50/tonne carbon tax would increase the average cost of goods and services by $294 per adult. The Greens will completely offset the cost of the carbon tax by using $274 million of the revenue to lower the bottom income tax rate from 10.8% to 9.5%. This results in an overall reduction in income taxes of $294 a year. Those whose incomes are below the poverty line experience a 1% reduction of their income. However, their average disposable income will increase by 23% due to the introduction of the GAI. Accordingly, they will still realize a net increase of 22% of their pre-GAI and carbon tax disposable income.

The $500 million a year in additional revenue generated by the carbon tax will be used in the following manner:

  • $274 million a year to lower the bottom personal income tax bracket from 10.8 to 9.5 per cent, completely offsetting the increased cost of goods and services due to the carbon tax;
  • $60 million a year to reducing the Health and Education Levy on small businesses, thereby helping to offset any negative impacts on job creation;
  • $166 million a year for use in a climate change action fund, to be used to finance a greatly expanded set of initiatives of the kind which are described but unfunded in the government’s blueprint document.

Boosting Manitoba’s economy with a carbon tax

Reviews of the impact of British Columbia’s carbon tax show increased economic growth and reduced GHG emissions relative to the rest of Canada. Manitoba is likely to see similar results as the shift toward innovation boosts the economy and creates jobs. The Green $166 million a year Climate Change Action Fund would support:

Cleaning up road transportation

  • replace diesel with electric buses
  • grants to municipalities to expand their public and active transportation infrastructure
  • create electric vehicle charging stations in public places across the province
  • grants to cover the cost of installing electric vehicle charging stations in homes and offices
  • grants to help the trucking industry offset the costs of energy efficiency retrofit equipment for medium and heavy duty diesel vehicles
  • introduce a ‘feebate’ for new and used vehicles to give a rebate on taxes at point of purchase for vehicles with a fuel economy lower than 6 litres/100km.

Heating efficiency

  • grants to expand and extend geothermal and solar thermal heating incentives
  • grants to finance commercial building energy audits in First Nations communities
  • expand energy retrofit programs for residential, commercial and institutional buildings

Reducing agriculture emissions

  • financial support for the construction of manure digesters on livestock operations
  • support for on-farm production of biodiesel for on-farm use
  • expand programs for the adoption of ecological farming practices
  • promote crops that fix nitrogen in the soil to reduce GHG emissions of synthetic fertilizer
  • support for the transition to organic farming

Minimizing waste

  • support for the construction of methane capturing technologies at garbage dumps
  • support for the construction of composting of household and commercial food waste and other compostable waste products
  • support for low-cost waterless sanitation systems in provincial buildings and new developments
  • support for the creation of local industries for recycling of plastics, paper and other materials into new products, to save the transportation of recyclable waste

Ending dependence on ice roads

  • support for airships to carry freight to northern remote locations

Green Party Of Manitoba Proposal #2:
Tackle Poverty With Guaranteed Annual Income

The Challenge – Poverty and unemployment rates have increased

  • In 2008, there were 104,000 Manitobans with incomes below the after-tax low income cutoff (LICO) measure of poverty, representing 9.2% of the population. By 2013, there were 123,000, representing 12.3% of the population.
  • Children living in female lone-parent families had the highest poverty rate at 45% in 2013 and represented 13% of the low-income population.
  • Single adults 18 to 64 years of age experienced the second-highest rate of poverty at 30.7% in 2013 and made up 27% of the low-income population. They experienced the greatest depth of poverty, their average income being only 44% of the poverty line.
  • By comparison, the poverty rate for children living in families was 6.9%, for adults 18 to 64 living in families it was 7.1%, and for elderly persons not living in families it was 10.7%.
  • Part of the reason for the rise in poverty rates was the rise in unemployment rates – from 4.2% in 2008 to 5.4% in 2013 and 5.6% in 2015 – and the fall in employment rates – from 66.3% in 2008 to 64.9% in 2013 and 64.4% in 2015.

Provincial anti-poverty and income support programs have not addressed the need

  • Since 2008, the Province has had in place a broad anti-poverty strategy called All Aboard which has focused on providing the following: affordable housing; education and employment training, and income supports to adults; supports to families with children; and co-ordinated service delivery. However, the employment training and income support components have not been sufficient to offset the effects of the worsening labour market.
  • Manitoba has four income support programs for low-income adults and families – the Manitoba Child Benefit (MCB), the 55PLUS Junior and Senior, and the Rent Assist programs. The first two have not had their benefits increased for decades and the take-up rate is low; of the eligible population, only 7% apply for the Rent Assist program, 21% for the 55PLUS Junior program and 36% for the MCB program. Low-income homeowners are not covered by these programs.
  • The social assistance program has not increased its basic needs budget for food, clothing and footwear, personal needs, and household supplies since 1996. The rent allowance is now 75% of median market rents. Applying for assistance requires multiple pieces of identification, confirmed rent amounts, application for Employment Insurance, proof of bank accounts, etc. Those with outstanding warrants do not qualify. While justifiable from an audit perspective, these requirements create barriers to qualifying for the program and long delays in accessing income support by those with little or no savings. Once inside the welfare system, the design of the programs discourages recipients from getting a job, creating the ‘welfare trap’.

The Green Response – A Guaranteed Annual Income for all adult Manitobans

  • The total GAI program cost is $1.39 billion and is paid for with:
  • $1.22 billion saved in redundant tax credits and programs;
  • $130 million from reduced income assistance benefits; and,
  • $40 million from eliminating the Manitoba Child Benefit, the 55PLUS and Rent Assist programs.

The design of the GAI

  • A Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) will be provided to adult (18+) Manitobans in the form of a refundable tax credit delivered through the income tax system. It will feature a guarantee based on family size, which will then be reduced at a fixed benefit reduction rate against total family income (market income + pensions + federal transfer payments) until the net benefit reaches $0. For those claiming the federal disability tax credit or infirm dependants tax credit, the guarantee will be increased by a fixed amount.
  • Based on the budget available for a GAI, the Green Party is recommending the following parameters for the program:

    Family Size

    Guarantee

    Benefit
    Reduction
    Rate

    Exit level of Family Income

    Amount

    % of 2014
    After-tax LICO

    1

    $6,300

    16.0%

    $39,375

    195%

    2

    $8,910

    16.0%

    $55,687

    227%

    3

    $10,912

    16.0%

    $68,200

    223%

    4

    $12,600

    16.0%

    $78,750

    207%

    5

    $14,087

    16.0%

    $88,044

    203%

    6

    $15,432

    16.0%

    $96,450

    201%

    7 or more

    $16,668

    16.0%

    $104,175

    197%

    Top-up For Disability $1,000
    Top-up for Infirm Dependants $500
  • The net amount of the GAI will be based on the total income of the ‘nuclear’ family (parents + children under 18) but divided equally by the number of adults in the family unit. Adult (18+) children living with their parents will be entitled to their own GAI, based on the amount for a single person.
  • All those who are permanent residents of Canada and who have filed a tax return in each of the previous two years will be eligible for the GAI, including Status Indians living on reserves.

The financing and cost of the GAI

  • The proposed GAI will cost an estimated $1.39 billion (based on 2014 estimates).
  • The revenue will come from the following sources: $1.22 billion from the elimination of a broad range of non-refundable and refundable tax credits and provincial income-tested benefits; $130 million from recovery of income assistance benefits; and, $40 million from the elimination of the Manitoba Child Benefit, the 55PLUS and Rent Assist programs.
  • The GAI will replace the following fixed-amount non-refundable tax credits: basic, married, married equivalent, age, pension income, disability and infirm dependants, and the Manitoba Family Tax Benefit.
  • The following variable-amount non-refundable tax credits will be replaced: the fitness tax credit, the tuition tax credit, the education amount, the interest on student loans, and the transfer of education and tuition tax credits.
  • The remaining non-refundable tax credits will be left in place. They include the charitable donations, medical expenses, dividend tax credit, EI and CPP contributions.
  • The following refundable tax credits will be replaced: tuition fee income tax rebate, primary caregiver tax credit, property tax credits, farmland school tax rebate, school tax credit for tenants and homeowners, and the cost-of-living tax credit.
  • The four provincial income transfer programs will be replaced by the GAI (MCB, 55PLUS Junior and Senior, and Rent Assist).
  • To reduce dependency on social assistance and to lower the welfare wall, any GAI benefits received by those receiving social assistance benefits will be deducted at the rate of 67% from their welfare benefits, such that their total income will increase slightly. This measure will lead to an 18% reduction in social assistance caseloads and annual savings of $130 million which will be used to enrich the GAI.

The net impact of a GAI on family after-tax income

The above example of a GAI featuring a guarantee of $6300 for a single adult reduced at a rate of 16% of total family income will generate the following net benefits:

After-tax LICO Level of Family Income

Per cent of Nuclear Families

Average Family

After-tax Income
Before GAI

Net Impact
(GAI – Tax Increase – SA Clawback)

Amount ($)

% of After-Tax Income

Below LICO

12.0%

$13,712

+$3,050

+22.2%

1 to 2 x LICO

31.4%

$30,940

+$517

+1.7%

2 to 3 x LICO

28.0%

$47,978

-$770

-1.6%

3 to 4 x LICO

15.7%

$63,201

-$1,098

-1.7%

4+ x LICO

12.9%

$110,115

-$1,069

-1.0%

TOTAL

100.0%

$48,894

$0

+0.0%

Source: Statistics Canada, Social Policy Simulation and Database Model, Version 22.0. Calculations by the party.

The following table provides a summary view of the impact by family type and income level:

Average percent change in disposable family income due to the GAI by family type and income

After-tax LICO Level of Family Income

Type of Nuclear Family

Total
Families

Single
Parent

Two
Parent

Non-Elderly
Single

Non-Elderly
Couple

Elderly
Single

Elderly
Couple

Below LICO

+15.5%

+18.6%

+30.9%

+14.1%

+7.3%

+26.3%

+22.2%

1 to 2 x LICO

+2.3%

+0.9%

+5.0%

-0.4%

0.0%

+0.2%

+1.7%

2 to 3 x LICO

-1.9%

-2.6%

+2.9%

-3.4%

-1.8%

-4.5 %

-1.6%

3 to 4 x LICO

-2.3%

-2.1%

+1.8%

-2.6%

-1.5%

-3.8%

-1.7%

4+ x LICO

+0.3%

-1.1%

+1.6%

-1.6%

+0.0%

-1.9%

-1.0%

TOTAL

+2.1%

-1.0%

+5.0%

-2.0%

-0.1%

-2.6%

0.0%

Source: Statistics Canada, Social Policy Simulation and Database Model, Version 22.0. Calculations by the Party.

Overall, the single non-elderly person gains the most (+5.6%), followed by the single parent family (+2.6%) and the elderly single person (+0.5%). These are the family types most at risk of poverty.

Impact of GAI on the rate and depth of poverty

The rate of poverty (percent of nuclear families in poverty) under this plan would decline from 12% to 6.6%, for a 45% reduction. The depth of poverty (percent of their income below the poverty line) would decline from 44.8% to 30.0%, for a 33% reduction. By family type, the change in the rate and depth of poverty is presented below:

Nuclear Family Type

Rate of Poverty

Depth of Poverty

Pre-GAI

Post GAI

Impact (%)

Pre-GAI

Post-GAI

Impact (%)

Single Parent

24.5%

2.8%

-89%

27.8%

56.3%

+102%

Two Parent

5.1%

0.7%

-86%

22.0%

35.3%

+60%

Non-Elderly Single

20.0%

13.9%

-31%

57.9%

31.9%

-45%

Non-Elderly Couple

2.6%

1.3%

-50%

30.6%

12.1%

-60%

Elderly Single

10.4%

3.3%

-68%

6.1%

2.9%

-52%

Elderly Couple

1.9%

0.0%

-100%

43.8%

0.0%

-100%

TOTAL

12.0%

6.6%

-45%

44.8%

30.0%

-33%

Source: Statistics Canada, Social Policy Simulation and Database Model, Version 22.0. Calculations by the Party.

The biggest improvements on the rate of poverty is for elderly couples (-100%), followed closely by single parent families (-89%) and two parent families (-86%), followed by elderly singles (-70%). With the GAI, the largest improvements in the depth of poverty are for the elderly and the non-elderly couple. The depth of poverty increases for the single and two parent families only because the poorest of the poor are left below the poverty line.

Green Party Of Manitoba Proposal #3:

Eliminate The Education Property Tax

The Challenge – Funding education with local property tax

  • Manitoba is currently the only province in Canada where school boards have the power to tax locally to meet divisional budgets, with local education taxes making up approximately one-third of the operating budget for public schooling.
  • Per pupil spending varies widely by division, from a low of $9,552 in the Hanover School Division to $18,845 in the Frontier School Division.
  • However, there is a wide discrepancy in the revenue capacity of school divisions, as reflected in the total value of portioned assessment in each division. Expressed as assessment per pupil, this revenue capacity varies from a low of $31,156 for the Frontier School Divisions to a high of $528,260 for the Evergreen School Division.
  • This discrepancy in tax base creates two equity problems. First, divisions providing close to the same level of per pupil funding but having different assessment bases require very different education tax rates. For example:
  • Seine River SD: $10,705 cost/pupil; assessment/pupil = $317,222; required mill rate = 15.5
  • Seven Oaks SD: $10,789 cost/pupil; assessment/pupil = $240,505; required mill rate = 17.0

or,

  • St. James/A SD: $11,841 cost/pupil; assessment/pupil = $458,666; required mill rate =13.4
  • Kelsey SD: $11,874 cost/pupil; assessment/pupil = $119,549; required mill rate = 22.4
  • Second, divisions with the same tax rate but differing levels of assessments end up providing very different levels of per pupil funding. For example:
  • Western SD: mill rate = 18.4; assessment base/pupil = $239,988; expenditure/pupil = $10,189
  • Flin Flon SD: mill rate = 18.4; assessment base/pupil = $119,523; expenditure/pupil = $13,436
  • The province’s equalization formula covers only 64% of variation in school divisions’ unsupported expenses (those not covered by provincial grants).

The Green Response – Eliminate education property tax

  • end mill rate inequities
  • equalize funding per pupil

To eliminate these inequities in the levels of taxation across school divisions in Manitoba, the Green Party proposes eliminating the education property tax and replacing it with funding from the personal and corporate tax systems.

  • In 2013/14, the replacement of the education property tax would have cost $487.6 million and the replacement of the Education Support Levy on businesses would have cost $150.9 million.
  • Raising the $487.6 million from personal income taxes will require a 10.9% increase in the tax rates for the top two tax brackets – the middle tax bracket rate will rise from 12.75% to 14.14%, and the top tax bracket rate will rise from 17.4% to 19.3%.
  • The lowest tax bracket will not see any change because $274 million from the proposed carbon tax will be used to keep it constant at 10.8%.
  • To replace the $150.9 million raised by the Education Support Levy, the income tax rate for large corporations will have to be raised from its current rate of 12% to 15.9%.

Impact on taxes paid

The following charts show the current education property taxes paid on houses of differing value, along with the change in personal income taxes (PIT) paid due to a 10.9% increase in tax rates for three different school divisions, characterized by high, medium and low mill rates. By comparing the education taxes paid with the change in personal income tax, one can see who wins and who loses with this change.

It is important to note that, in these charts, the property tax credits of $700 for non-seniors and $1,170 for seniors have been deducted from the education property taxes. However, if the Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) proposed by the Green Party is introduced, lower income households living in low-cost homes will see their average after-tax incomes rise by 22 per cent which will more than offset any losses they experience in replacing the education property tax with a higher income tax.

High Mill Rate School Division – Kelsey: Mill Rate = 22.4

House Valued At:

$100K

$200K

$300K

$400K

$500K

Ed. Prop. Taxes – Non-Senior

Ed. Prop. Taxes – Senior

$308

$0

$1,316

$846

$2,324

$1,854

$3,332

$2,862

$4,340

$3,870

+10.9% In PIT by Total Income of Homeowner:
$0 – $10K

$5

$5

$5

$5

$5

$10 – $30K

$55

$55

$55

$55

$55

$30 – $50K

$258

$258

$258

$258

$258

$50 – $70K

$490

$490

$490

$490

$490

$70 – $90K

$782

$782

$782

$782

$782

$90 – $110K

$1,003

$1,003

$1,003

$1,003

$1,003

$110K+

$2,515

$2,515

$2,515

$2,515

$2,515

Note: The education property tax formula is: ((Assessed Value/1000) x 0.45) x Mill Rate) – Property Tax Credit. In 2015, the non-senior education property tax credit was $700 and the senior’s property tax credit was $1,170.

Average Mill Rate School Division – Seine River: Mill Rate = 15.5

House Valued At:

$100K

$200K

$300K

$400K

$500K

Ed. Prop. Taxes – Non-Senior

Ed. Prop. Taxes – Senior

$0

$0

$695

$225

$1,393

$923

$2,090

$1,620

$2,788

$2,318

+10.9% In PIT by Total Income of Homeowner:
$0 – $10K

$5

$5

$5

$5

$5

$10 – $30K

$55

$55

$55

$55

$55

$30 – $50K

$258

$258

$258

$258

$258

$50 – $70K

$490

$490

$490

$490

$490

$70 – $90K

$782

$782

$782

$782

$782

$90 – $110K

$1,003

$1,003

$1,003

$1,003

$1,003

$110K+

$2,515

$2,515

$2,515

$2,515

$2,515

Low Mill Rate School Division – Evergreen: Mill Rate = 11.5

House Valued At:

$100K

$200K

$300K

$400K

$500K

Ed. Prop. Taxes – Non-Senior

Ed. Prop. Taxes – Senior

$0

$0

$335

$0

$853

$383

$1,370

$900

$1,888

$1,418

+10.9% In PIT by Total Income of Homeowner:
$0 – $10K

$5

$5

$5

$5

$5

$10 – $30K

$55

$55

$55

$55

$55

$30 – $50K

$258

$258

$258

$258

$258

$50 – $70K

$490

$490

$490

$490

$490

$70 – $90K

$782

$782

$782

$782

$782

$90 – $110K

$1,003

$1,003

$1,003

$1,003

$1,003

$110K+

$2,515

$2,515

$2,515

$2,515

$2,515

Conclusion

The shift from property to income tax funding of schools will see an increase in costs for households living in low valued homes while those living in higher valued homes of low to moderate incomes will see a reduction in taxes paid. Offsetting any increased costs for lower income households will be the GAI. Small businesses will see no tax change and large corporations will take on a greater responsibility for funding education.

Green Party Of Manitoba Proposal #4:

Fund Healthful Living Promotion

The Challenge – Healthful living promotion

  • The current healthcare system devotes only 0.04% of its budget ($21 million of $5.3 billion) on health promotion programs, including healthful living and healthy populations, seniors and aging, mental and spiritual health, tobacco cessation and control, and addictions.
  • Yet lifestyle related health conditions like obesity are on the rise and are responsible for the rise in hypertension and diabetes. Both of these conditions cause higher morbidity and mortality and are related to the development of other serious health problems, most notably heart disease and stroke – the leading causes of death, according to the 2011 Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP) report Adult Obesity in Manitoba: Prevalence, Associations, and Outcomes.
  • The MCHP study documents that between 1989 and 2008 the obesity rate among adults in Manitoba rose from 18.4% to 28.8% for males and from 16.6% to 25.9% for females.
  • Among all Manitobans, the percent of those who were overweight or obese rose from 54% in 2003 to 60% by 2014. Thus, the upward trend has continued.
  • Two factors strongly correlated with obesity are leisure time activity levels and the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages and junk foods, particularly among young people. According to the annual Community Health Surveys, in 2014, 46% of Manitobans were inactive during leisure time.
  • A number of studies have shown that a 20% tax on sugar sweetened drinks would lead to reductions in obesity. The United States, Mexico, Ireland, Hungary and France have instituted such a tax.

The Green Response – Fund healthful living promotion with a sugar sweetened drink and junk food tax

  • generate funds with a 20% tax on sugar sweetened drinks and junk food
  • increase funding for health promotion and active, healthful living

Given the evidence that a 20% tax on sugar sweetened drinks and junk food leads to reductions in consumption and obesity, the Green Party proposes that a 20% tax be levied on these items.

The Green Party further recommends that the revenue from that tax be dedicated to funding a broad range of health promotion and healthful living programs.