Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

Re: your guest columnist Mr. Mischa Popoff, column “the vision of few imposed on all” February 16, 2009. I give credit to Penticton Herald for publishing Mr. Popoff views because a free flow of information and views, vitalizes democracy, even such that cannot be argued in reasoned terms. 

Mr. Popoff’s major premise in his recurring views is that tax on energy and gasoline and hence higher prices, doesn’t affect society’s behavior and ration consumption. Then inevitably his view must be that energy and gasoline are not price elastic, thus changes in price have no impact on demand or supply. Well, some still believe the earth is flat, and those who do not can draw their own conclusion, and I recommend the US Energy Information Administrations report Motor Gasoline Consumption 2008. Why is GM not selling masses of Hummers to the public anymore? 

In general nobody wants to pay tax. But the reality is that tax is like gasoline to the car. We hate to pay the price, but our democratic governed mixed monetary economy doesn’t work without. I assume most of us appreciate to live in Canada, if not I recommend spending some time in countries without taxes and a stable government. 

Make no mistake, contrary to Mr. Popoff beliefs, increased tax and hence higher prices on energy and gasoline, versus household’s disposal income is the only realistic method to reduce consumption of fossil fuels and the possible impact that may have on the climate; may because there are also other natural factors that affect the climate. Higher tax and prices on energy is also the only way to stimulate private and government tax investment, in relevant research. For instance, it is reasonable to assume that with higher taxes and hence higher price on gasoline in CA/US, would have spurred or forced industry to develop new technology. The US/Canada automotive industry and transport sector and hence the economy at large, would have been better shape today. 

Instead, however, government policies spurred industry during good years to disburse the profit out of their companies, instead of investing in R&D during bad times, they are asking or rather blackmailing government for a taxpayer’s bailout. When government lacks foresight and fails (tasks which are a not the private sector’s) in a mixed economy, capitalism fails and society suffers! 

Obviously resource and energy are two sides of the same coin. In my research and practice, my concern is for unlimited human aspiration and scarce resources that have alternative uses – the opportunity cost. My foremost concern is the lack of private and governments funding into relevant research that is imperative to early enough invent the life-sustaining processes humanity needs to survive as we face the future. For instance, the Canada North American Sweden European Union IISRE Research Initiative, is still waiting for matching seed funding from Canada, it is bizarre and internationally embarrassing for Canada. 

I do agree with Mr. Popoff that carbon trade systems is a vision of a few imposed on all, - like the Winter Olympics. But to British Columbia’s Premier Campbell’s credit, carbon tax is better than doing nothing, and also offers the opposition Carol James NDP another reason to just oppose, rather than offer an alternative. It’s not easy to be a voter, but don’t forget, the behavior in government reflects the understanding and moral and ethical value in society, - cast your vote! 

Mr. Popoff to get his ideas across used a parallel with Monty Python’s spam sketch; well for society I must trust society gets Mr. Popoff spam. 


February 26, 2009