New Developments in Carbon Tax Debacle

Kirsten Ehlers - 1A Biomedical Engineering
Posted on: October 31, 2018

Those of you following provincial or federal politics will be painfully aware of the never-ending carbon tax debates. Last Tuesday, Trudeau announced $2 million in carbon tax rebates, as no one is happy.

Some provinces, including New Brunswick, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Ontario have refused to comply with Ottawa’s carbon tax, criticizing the negative impact it has on business. Trudeau had promised that non-compliant provinces would have a federally-imposed carbon tax and that’s exactly what has happened.

Canadians in these four provinces will now be charged a $20 tax per tonne of carbon to compensate for the lack of a provincial carbon tax. Trudeau has promised at least $2 million in rebates to help lessen the burden of the carbon tax on Canadians in these four provinces. These rebates can be obtained when Canadians file their income taxes.

Opponents of the carbon tax, including Ontario Premier Doug Ford have called the government carbon tax plan “the most divisive, most regressive tax in Canadian history”. It has also been criticized for being a cash grab.

Ottawa’s view on the carbon tax is that is one of the means of achieving Canada’s goals for Paris Agreement, but not the only way. Combined with investing in renewable energy and public transportation, the carbon tax aims to change the lifestyle of Canadians to be more green.

The objective of the carbon tax is important. Climate change is a  real problem that needs global effort to remedy. A carbon tax is an effective way for Canada to do their part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, what are the ramifications of this federally imposed carbon tax? Tensions between the provinces and Ottawa are incredibly high. The Canadian oil industry is already declining and the carbon taxes may threaten the future of the industry. Are the positive effects on carbon emission worth the negative side effects that may impact Canada’s competitiveness?

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