Hey folks,

How you been? I know you can’t answer, I just thought it was a nice gesture to ask. By the way, it’s Jeremy (@JeremyAppel1025) here to be your guide through the top news in this wretched hell world for December 11. 

Today we’ve got stories about: a massive carbon tax increase over the next decade; Calgary’s impending COVID nightmare; workers being put in harm’s way at Amazon’s Canadian warehouses; another Canadian military member outing themselves as a horrid piece of shit. 

Enough of the small talk, let’s get to it. 

Feds Vow To Increase Carbon Tax To $170 A Tonne By 2030

Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released part of his plan to get Canada to net zero emissions by 2050. The first step of this plan is to get emissions down 30 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 by increasing the carbon tax from $30 to $170 over the next decade. To do this, the tax will increase by $15 a year for eight years starting in 2022. 

This will, of course, result in higher prices at the gas pump, which will increase by 37.57 cents a litre by 2030. To offset the cost and account for increases in the price of living, the government will continue its current rebate regime, but the funds will start going out every three months rather than just at tax time

Beyond the tax hike — designed to disincentivize carbon-intensive activities — the government also plans to invest $15 billion on climate-friendly initiatives, including $2.6 billion over seven years to give out 700,000 grants for people to improve their home’s energy efficiency, as well as $287 million over two years to continue existing incentives for people to purchase electric vehicles. 

This plan is rooted in the assumption that the Supreme Court of Canada will rule in favour of the federal government on the constitutionality of their carbon tax, which is being challenged by three provinces with conservative governments — Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan. These hearings began back in September. 

“There is no vaccine against a polluted planet,” Trudeau said at today’s press conference announcing the plan. As Emma Jackson from Climate Justice Edmonton observed, this is a bit rich coming from someone who purchased the failing Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to ensure tar sands production will expand. 

And without the massive public investments in renewable energy of a Green New Deal, the carbon tax increase will only serve to antagonize those who don’t earn enough to focus on their quarterly earnings.

DIG DEEPER: The Court And The Carbon Tax

Calgary’s Hospitals Filled To Capacity With COVID-19 Patients, Including Young People

  • The worst case pandemic scenario is happening in Alberta’s largest city, forcing doctors to make difficult choices about whom to help as hospitals exceed capacity.
  • As of Wednesday, Calgary’s hospitals had an average occupancy rate of 107 per cent, and as of yesterday morning it was 99 per cent.  
  • One Calgary physician says that while he saw mainly older patients with major underlying health conditions hospitalized during the first wave, the second wave has seen patients of all ages, some with no underlying health issues at all. 
  • This is probably why the Canadian military could deploy to Alberta as early as tomorrow to set up field hospitals. 

COVID Exacerbates Worker Safety Issues At Amazon’s Canadian Warehouses 

  • The Toronto Star obtained records of 2016 to 2019 workplace injuries in Amazon’s 11 warehouses across Canada that were serious enough that they required employees to take time off.
  • Amazon’s rate of 7.7 injuries per 100 employees in the United States is nearly double the industry standard there. But Canada’s is even higher, at 9.1.  
  • Amazon won’t release the number of COVID-19 cases at its warehouses, but the Star was able to confirm at least 25 at its Brampton plant, which only makes a bad situation worse. 

ICYMI: Investigation Launched After Canadian Armed Forces Cadet Trainer Speaks At Anti-Lockdown Rally, Calls On Soldiers Not To Distribute Vaccine

A uniformed member of the Canadian Armed Forces spoke at a December 5 anti-lockdown rally in Toronto, where he called on his fellow members of the military to refuse distribution of the COVID vaccine, the Ottawa Citizen reports

The Department of National Defence confirmed the individual speaking at the rally was Leslie Kenderesi, whom they acknowledged to be a cadet instructor. They said they haven’t decided on a course of action, but that an investigation is underway. 

“I might get in a lot of shit for this, but I don’t care anymore,” Kenderesi said in a speech posted to YouTube. “I’m asking military, right now serving, truck drivers, medical, engineers, whatever you are, do not take this unlawful order (for) the distribution of this vaccine.” 

Context: The military has plans to assist in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine across the country, including assisting the Public Health Agency of Canada in planning for distribution, flying the vaccine in from various European countries and the U.S., and helping transport it to remote communities. 

DIG DEEPER: Canadian Media Has Failed To Hold Our Military To Account

That’s a wrap on your Friday Passage Daily. Have a good weekend, and we’ll see you again Monday for more news and analysis from a staunchly progressive viewpoint.

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