Do y’all like gladiator movies? What’s better than a bunch of big men trying to kill each other with swords, axes, spears and just good old fashioned bare fists. Not much in my opinion. It’s like UFC, except there is all that blood, dismemberment and death. The classic line by Russell Crowe in Gladiator “Are you not entertained?” always come to mind. Bravery, strength and honor even when forced upon you by slavery are admirable qualities, nonetheless. I know what you’re thinking, “What the hell does this have to do with anything?” Well let’s see if we can get there.

Like all screwed up stories in Canada lately, this one begins with our fearless leader, Justin Trudeau. Going back to 2019, on April Fool’s Day, no less, the “Carbon Pricing” (TAX!) began. In the interests of taxing the population into poverty, oh, sorry I mean “saving the world” the Liberal Party of Canada decided we could all pay money to do our part to stop climate change. It sounded so cheap and easy. $20/tonne of CO2 for starters, then rising $10/tonne per year, reaching $50/tonne by January 1, 2022. It gets even better, increasing $15/tonne per year until 2030 where we, the Canadian consumer will be $170/tonne. They say that this will increase costs in Saskatchewan and Alberta by $1100 to $1200 per year for each family.

What they don’t tell you is that this tax has GST on top of it. They also neglect to mention that it increases the cost of EVERY-F—ING THING. So those carbon tax rebate checks are a joke. Taxing the Canadian people into poverty will not stop climate change. Sorry Justin, it’s the only logical conclusion.

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Let’s get back to the present day. In order to save Liberal seats on the East Coast, Trudeau “lifts” the carbon tax off home heating fuel. Sensible, right? He just wants to help.  But by doing this, he opens a door that can’t be closed. In short, this is admitting the carbon tax doesn’t work. Apparently, there are different levels of Canadians. To paraphrase George Orwell’s quote from Animal Farm, “some Canadians are more equal than others.” The ultimate example of this is when Liberal Minister Gudie Hutchings was asked about western Canadians getting a carbon tax break for natural gas heating (and getting turned down) her reply was, “Perhaps they need to elect more Liberals in the prairies so we can have that conversation as well.” Unbelievable.

I am Spartacus! YouTube/Universal Pictures

Meanwhile in Western Canada, (You know, the region that funds a large portion of the ROC?) Premier of Saskatchewan Scott Moe proclaims that Saskatchewan residents shouldn’t be unfairly taxed simply for not wanting to freeze. Seems like a reasonable statement. Why give people in one part of the country a tax break to stay warm, but another part gets to continue paying? What the hell did the West do to deserve this? (Other than NOT vote Liberal, of course?) What this is really all boiling down to is the citizens of Canada are seeing the absurdity of the entire carbon tax scheme and are starting to rebel.

And speaking of rebellion, the premier of Saskatchewan has announced that as of Jan. 1, 2024, Saskatchewan residents will not be paying the carbon tax on all natural gas used for heating. You have to be proud of the provincial government for doing this. I will also give credit where credit is due, as the opposition NDP agrees on this. Decent.

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But wait! Apparently by not charging, collecting and remitting the carbon tax, the Saskatchewan government will be breaking the law. There is a “work-around” as the natural gas in Saskatchewan is sold by our very own Crown corporation, SaskEnergy. Apparently, this just may work, because it is a Crown and is owned by the people. The concern, of course, is that the federal government has legislated the potential for jail time for leaders refusing to collect and remit this tax. The possibility of this scenario sure livens things up a bit.

At first, I pictured the RCMP/CRA tax evasion squad pulling up to 1777 Victoria Avenue in Regina and putting the cuffs on Mark Guillet, the president of SaskEnergy. Then Scott Moe announced that the provincial government would absolve the leadership of the Crown corporation of any legal responsibility. This is all well and good for the SaskEnergy crew, but you just know Steven Guilbeault will want to extract his pound of flesh. (He’s kind of a jerk that way.)

I am Spartacus! YouTube/Universal Pictures

 

This is where the minister responsible for Crown corporations shows up for his gladiator moment. He has said if someone is to be arrested for the crime of saving the citizens of Saskatchewan money, he will gladly go to jail for it. That would be one Dustin Duncan from the riding of Weyburn-Big Muddy. The honorable minister of the crown said he will be the one to take the punishment for the carbon tax non-collection crime. I gotta give him credit for being a stand-up guy in this case. He’s doing Saskatchewanians proud.

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When I think of this, I am reminded of a very old, but very cool movie called “Spartacus.” It is based on a legend of Roman slaves and gladiators revolting against their masters. They are nearly successful in their quest to overthrow Rome, but lose the battle in the end. It is at this part of the story when the general of the Roman Legion asks the crowd of captured slaves for the leader, Spartacus, to be punished alone, so that the rest may return unharmed to their life of slavery. But when Spartacus stands up and says, “I am Spartacus!” he is drowned out by the chorus of the slaves, each proclaiming loudly it is they who are Spartacus. Over and over, slaves stand up and yell “I am Spartacus!” It’s a very dramatic ending, and sadly all are punished in a very cruel and unusual way.

I picture it like this; Steven Guilbeault and Justin Trudeau strut into the provincial Legislature to arrest Dustin Duncan. When Trudeau asks, “Bring forth Duncan, so we may punish him, and him alone. The rest of you can go back to your lives and continue to collect my, uh, THE carbon tax!” This is when Dustin stands up and cries out “I am Duncan!”

I am Spartacus! I am Duncan! (The guy on right, mabye?) YouTube/Universal Pictures

This is followed by the rest of the MLAs in the legislature following suit also proclaiming, “I am Duncan!” “I am Duncan!” “I am Duncan!” Hell, even the NDP MLAs join in. Alena Young, Trent Wotherspoon would be singing out, “I am Duncan!” You have to admit, it would be quite a parliamentary session.

Of course, common sense dictates that the federal government arresting any provincial government officials would be foolish at best and a world media nightmare at worst. This would be unprecedented in the first world. (It is however standard operating procedure in a “basic dictatorship”)

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I guess the point I am trying to make is that in the face of unfair taxation, a little bravery and some mild rebellion may be required. I truly believe that if taxing the population will save the planet, the people would get on board and make the necessary sacrifice. But the thing is common sense and math dictates that Canada is responsible for 1.5 per cent of global emissions. So, while the rest of the planet does little or nothing to improve (and NOT impose carbon taxes on the citizens), our leaders attempt to tax us into poverty. The proof of this is on display for all to see every time you buy food, fuel or necessities let alone any luxury items.

So, while the comparison of gladiators and slaves compared to modern day taxpayers may be apples and oranges, they aren’t as far apart as one might think. Real world problems require real world solutions. Making people suffer while the elites continue to live a life of excess is not a viable alternative. Let’s continue to improve current power sources, fossil fuels, hydro, geothermal and nuclear. “I am Spartacus!”

 

Brian Crossman is a partner at Independent Well Servicing based in Estevan.

If you have no idea about the gladiator references in this article, he recommends you watch the original “Spartacus” filmed in 1960 and starring Kirk Douglas. It is one of the best movies ever made. He also hopes Dustin Duncan doesn’t have to do any jail time. He has work to do.

 

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