Column – Bad Timing for Federal Carbon Tax

July 27, 2016

Recently in a CBC interview, Prime Minister Trudeau seemed to indicate that he could force the hands of provinces with a federal carbon tax as early as next year. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-carbon-tax-provinces-1.3686769

This is highly concerning to me, as many of you have written and called to express your opposition to a carbon tax.

It’s important to point out that, as this article points out, the Alberta government is already in the midst of implementing a carbon tax at the provincial level.

Premier Notley, and Premier Couillard of Québec, have indicated that they essentially do not want the federal government getting involved and complicating what they have decided to execute at the provincial level.

My biggest concern is that what we don’t find ourselves in a situation where we have a carbon tax on a carbon tax in jurisdictions like Alberta. This would have a crippling effect on our energy sector, which has already taken a battering due to low oil prices, and a lack of attention from the federal and provincial government.

Another thing I’d like to point out is that these carbon taxes are not just a tax on consumers or businesses. This is a kind of tax that essentially affects every facet of our daily life.

This affects charities, who will see many of their costs increase exponentially. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/06/08/alberta-carbon-tax_n_10360568.html

We can’t expect charities to find efficiencies. Most charities can only ever survive by being as frugal as possible, and the effects of these carbon taxes will take their toll.

Mr. Trudeau promised to work collaboratively with the provinces to meet his goals. Now it seems as though that promise has been forgotten, and that we are looking at a time limit being placed on this promised collaboration.

I hope that the provinces do indeed tell the federal Liberals that we need time to come up with a good plan, with a plan that does not duplicate carbon taxes, and penalize provinces that already have a provincial tax (like Alberta). Another crippling tax on top of an already crippling Alberta Carbon Tax would be bad public policy.

This tax could also penalize our Northern territories because goods and services such as food and transportation are already incredibly expensive, as was mentioned in the CBC article. This would be an unfortunate side effect of such an ill-conceived course of action.

I hope that the Prime Minister will listen to provinces, and not choose to impose a national scheme, or one-size-fits-all approach on Canadians.

Should you need assistance over the summer months, my offices can be reached at 613-992-0761/martin.shields@parl.gc.ca(Ottawa) or at 1-844-241-0020/martin.shields.c1@parl.gc.ca (Brooks).