Santa's carbon footprint by bma14744


									                                                                                                                                         THE FORESTER, Wednesday, December 16, 2009    A7

                                                                                The Huntsville Forester

LETTERS                                                                                                                   OPINION
Help save Canadian jobs by                                                                                                              Santa’s
challenging American policy
   Mayors across the country are           The city of North Bay has writ-       payers, we go with the best price,
                                                                                                                                    carbon footprint
                                                                                                                          By Andrew Paterson
being asked to take the buy Ameri-      ten to mayors of U.S. cities where       no matter where they’re located.
can battle directly to their U.S.       we made large purchases and                 We really need you to contact            For years, Santa deniers have used
counterparts, and we need you to        reminded them their city would           your mayor. Go to www.BuyAmer-           the laws of physics to argue that the jolly
contact your mayor or councillor        have had layoffs last summer if it and you’ll see the
today.                                  weren’t for our orders.                  whole campaign, including the let-
                                                                                                                          man cannot exist. They cite so-called
   Simply put, U.S. cities are             Naturally, we prefer to buy           ter we need your mayor to write.         facts that a reindeer traveling at 1,050
restricted from buying Canadian-        Canadian goods, but sometimes               Will you join us to help save         km per hour would burst into flames
made goods for their stimulus pro-      we simply don’t make the prod-           Canadian jobs?                           and be vaporized in milliseconds,
grams, whereas Canada has no            ucts here. And because we want to                       Mayor Victor Fedeli
restrictions.                           get the best value for our local tax-                           North Bay         because of the heat generated from the
                                                                                                                          tremendous air resistance. Or that it           — ANDREW PATERSON
                                                                                                                          would take more than 2 million reindeer
                                                                                                                          to pull the estimated 300,000 tons of toys,
HST will hit snowy areas harder
   On July 1, 2010, Ontario will        table) in order to save the HST          ment for lift tickets prior to May 1,
                                                                                                                          plus the estimated 250 pounds of the man himself, which
                                                                                                                          they call a gross underestimate.
switch to the harmonized sales          component on the un-ORST-taxed           2010 if you would like to save the
                                                                                                                             The issue came to a head recently in what Santa deniers
tax (HST). What this will mean is       services. A new underground econ-        HST for the 2010/2011 ski season.        are calling “Santa-gate.” Hackers reportedly broke into the
that real people and communities        omy is likely to develop, which will          Communities in the snow belt        North Pole’s secure e-mail server and released what they
in Ontario’s snow country will see      hurt existing legitimate business        and in Northern Ontario may be           are calling “clear evidence that Santa does not exist.” In
out-of-pocket costs increase for        operators who have already made          disproportionately affected by
important services such as snow         the capital expenditures and paid        the switch to HST because snow           three separate e-mails Santa was reported to have written
removal. Currently snow removal         GST and ORST on snow plows,              removal and home heating are             “Santa,” “not,” and “real.” Santa responded by pointing
services are subject to the five per    trucks and equipment. As a result,       necessities in the harsh Canadian        out that “Santa” is how he signs all of his e-mails and that
cent goods and services tax (GST)       seasonal service businesses may          winter. However, since Dwight
and not the eight per cent Ontario      be negatively affected by the HST.       Duncan is from the Southern-most
                                                                                                                          the words were taken out of context; deniers continue to
retail sales tax (ORST). After July     The Ontario and federal govern-          community in Windsor, Ontario,           puzzle over how Santa could respond to the allegations if
1, 2010, the 13 per cent HST will       ments will likely also be affected as    he has not given adequate consid-        he’s not real.
apply whether you purchase pay-         the actions to save HST are likely       eration of the needs of residents           Personally, I’m willing to believe that magic trumps
as-it-snows or a winter flat rate       to result in underground income          who experience the effects of win-
deal.                                   tax revenues (a.k.a. tax evasion).       ter more acutely. The changes to         logic on this one, or at least that’s what I’ll believe for a
   Not only will the HST affect             If you shovel your own drive-        the ORST laws needed to switch to        few more years, until my boys tell me otherwise. To be
people who need their driveways         way and walkway (which is good           the HST were pushed through the          honest, I’m much more concerned about the troubling
plowed and those who live in more       exercise), you will not have to pay      Ontario Legislature and those Lib-
remote areas and need a roadway         HST on the labour. However, you          eral MPPs who live in remote areas
                                                                                                                          new numbers that are coming out of reputable think
plowed, it will affect municipalities   will have to pay HST on the shovel,      were forced to vote with the party       tanks, like YouTube. Numerous experts have now
that have entered into contracts        snow blower, salt, gravel and ice        and not necessarily in the interests     calculated Santa’s carbon footprint, and while there are
with third-party snow plow busi-        pick. Most of these items are cur-       of those who elected them.               small differences depending on the assumptions made,
nesses to assist in keeping road-       rently subject to both GST and               You may calculate the potential
ways into and in town cleared. It       ORST and, therefore, the cost will       effects of HST on you and your           the numbers are staggering.
is essential that roads are cleared     not increase significantly for you       family by taking all of the invoices        Toy production alone will produce emissions equivalent
so that police and ambulances           in winter 2010/2011.                     you receive and if GST only is being     to more than 1,000 of the world’s largest toy factories.
can assist when needed and so               If the temperatures drop, you        charged, calculate the HST at 13         Making the assumption that all of the 2.2 billion children
that necessities can arrive at local    will have to pay HST on home             per cent (instead of GST at five
stores. Municipalities currently        heating fuels to stay warm and to        per cent). If you are paying ORST        in the world receive an average of one toy, and allowing
pay GST and receive a 100 per cent      make sure that your water pipes          at eight per cent, make sure you         for a naughtiness rate of about 10 per cent, about 5.5
refund; but, do not pay ORST on         do not freeze. Currently, fuels are      do not double-count. Municipali-         million toys per day would have to be imagined, designed
snow removal services. After July       subject to GST and depending on          ties may also undertake this exer-
1, 2010, municipalities will pay 13     the type of fuel you use, it may be      cise to determine how much more
                                                                                                                          and assembled. Six months of the year, these activities
per cent HST and will recover 100       subject to fuel tax or gasoline tax.     money they will spend if next snow       would take place in the dark and frigid arctic winter,
per cent of the 5 per cent GST          If you currently pay fuel tax or gas-    season is like this year. This exer-     meaning very high emissions from heating and lighting
component and only 78 per cent          oline tax, you will continue to pay      cise will be important for munici-       the workshop (which incidentally must be an enormous
of the eight per cent provincial        those taxes along with the HST. As       palities, especially if they use their
component.                              a result, the worse the winter tem-      snow budget early and have to            building, although it is suspiciously not visible on Google
   With the record snow fall over       peratures, the greater the HST and       find additional revenues as next         Earth).
the past few days in Huntsville and     other taxes cost.                        year they will need to also find the        And none of this has even considered the emissions
Bracebridge, it is worth mentioning         Other     snow-related       cost    HST component. The next realistic
that should the weight of the snow      increases include ski lift tickets       question is whether municipali-
                                                                                                                          from delivering the goods! Even if you believe the classic
cause a roof to fall, the labour and    and ski/snowboarding lessons,            ties will have to increase property      reindeer sustainability argument, that reindeer energy
materials to repair a roof will be      hockey ice time and hockey asso-         taxes, business taxes and other          consumption can be fuelled by children’s carrots alone,
subject to HST (currently labour        ciation fees, and figure skating les-    fees to have enough money to pay         all of this fibre must produce a tremendous amount of
in respect of real property is not      sons. These activities are currently     for the unrecoverable HST next
subject to ORST, but the materials      subject to GST, but not ORST. The        year. This exercise will be critical
                                                                                                                          methane. Indeed, a recent publication in the journal
are subject to ORST). Please hire a     ski rentals are currently subject        for people and municipalities to         Microbial Ecology (Sundset et al. 2009) reported finding
snow removal service provider to        to GST and ORST and, therefore,          communicate important informa-           methanogenic bacteria in reindeer guts at higher
clear off your roof, but that will be   the cost will not increase in win-       tion to Ontario and Ottawa prior         numbers than expected (I’m not joking). When one
subject to HST also.                    ter 2010/2011. The new transition        to July 1, 2010.
   Many law-abiding people will         rules that were announced on Oct.                Cyndee Todgham Cherniak
                                                                                                                          considers that burping cows produce 18 per cent of US
be asked to pay cash (under the         14, 2009 may permit a pre-pay-                                        Toronto     greenhouse gas emissions, gassy reindeer may well be
                                                                                                                          the skeleton in Santa’s closet. All in all, total emissions
                                                                                                                          from Santa’s operations are estimated to be on the order

Amateur theatre alive and well                                                                                            of 300 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, or 11
                                                                                                                          times current global emissions.
                                                                                                                             Why are we hearing nothing of this from the
   The last few Saturday evenings       was written and directed by John         theatre and showcase what they
found us at the Algonquin The-          Oliver Peel, who also had the star-      are capable of doing.                    international climate talks in Copenhagen? If no country
atre, in each case a wee bit appre-     ring role — a very busy man. He             This is a wonderful opportunity       owns the North Pole, then who is responsible for
hensive, as both productions were       came across as a most impressive         for them to gain confidence either       measuring and reporting emissions? A lack of ownership
local amateur theatre.                  Scrooge. When our children were          on stage or behind the scene. Set        may be the reason why the numbers have fallen through
   Scrooge, a week ago, and Foot-       small, the record of Scrooge was a       changes were amazingly well done,
loose this past Saturday, were both     common accompaniment to din-             as was the singing and acting. I         the newly formed cracks in the high arctic. Clearly,
excellent productions. It proved        ner during the Christmas season,         hope we all appreciate how for-          without a concerted effort to get the big jolly guy to take
once again how fortunate we are         so this brought back memories.           tunate we are to have dedicated,         responsibility to reduce his enormous greenhouse gas
to live in a town that has so much         The second show was Footloose.        talented leaders willing to work         emissions, steps taken by the rest of the world will be
artistic talent. It also reminded       This was an entirely new show for        with these young people, encour-
us that we usually get far more         us, one we would not have con-           aging them to put forth their very       meaningless.
enjoyment from local theatre than       sidered had it not been done by          best effort. Thank you to everyone          Andrew Paterson received his PhD in biology in 2000
we do from the big-name expen-          our local high school. Again it was      involved. Again, you made us real-       and is now an adjunct professor at Queen’s University, and
sive acts that are brought in. The      enjoyed immensely. There were a          ize how thankful we are to have          the Universities of Waterloo and Nipissing. His research
exception to that would be Robert       tremendous number of youth in            retired in Huntsville.
Pilon and Friends.                      both shows, a fantastic opportu-                      Ches and Betty Fulton       examines the impacts of environmental stressors on the
   The musical version of Scrooge       nity for them to take part in live                               Huntsville       water quality and ecology of inland lakes.

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