Science

Federal carbon tax rebates to exceed cost for most people affected

Federal carbon tax rebates to exceed cost for most people affected”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that Ottawa will return to Canadians 90 per cent of the money it collects from a carbon tax.

He made the announcement on October 22 in the riding of carbon tax foe Ontario Premier Doug Ford in north Toronto.

Putting a price on carbon pollution is the best way to cut climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions, Trudeau says.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called it an "election gimmick" and said his party will scrap the tax if they get elected next year. Or maybe the carbon tax is just the Liberal plan to get out from under their deficits.

In a proposal unveiled by the federal government in 2016, starting in April 2019, carbon pollution will initially cost C$20 ($15.27) a tonne, rising by C$10 a year until it reaches C$50 in 2022, Reuters is reporting.

All four provinces are, or will likely soon be led by premiers who oppose the carbon tax and have vowed to fight the federal imposition of one.

All proceeds from the tax - to be collected from individuals and industry - will be remitted to households in the form of rebates or used to pay for projects to improve energy efficiency and cut Carbon dioxide emissions, making it revenue-neutral and to "help Canadians adjust to this new reality", he said.

"That may please some people but I'm not sure how it will work if they are already running a deficit twice as large as they have promised and have a pipeline they weren't planning to buy", said Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF). Are they paying anything?

"Will we kick this can down the road yet again to be dealt with in another place or at another time or will we show some courage and do what needs to be done for this generation and the next", he said.

Tuesday's announcement set the stage for what will be a key issue in next year's federal election.

Trudeau has long insisted the plan will be revenue-neutral for the federal government, with any revenues collected by the system staying in the province or territory where they are generated. The amount will also depend on how much businesses pass on to consumers to offset their extra costs for transporting goods and powering their businesses.

For Kenney, Wudrick, and those against carbon pricing, the higher taxes will not adjust behaviour in a significant enough way to get people to use less carbon emissions.

"The effects of climate change are everywhere, and they are a constant reminder of the need to act now", he said in a statement, citing recent heat waves, floods and forest fires.

Marco Navarro-Génie, president and chief executive of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, described Trudeau's plan as a consumption tax in the guise of helping the environment.

Canada pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. "What the prime minister must do is improve Canada's target" for reducing emissions, she said.

In the first year Canadians in the four provinces with the federal tax will receive their first full rebates after filing their 2018 tax return. For example, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, where most electricity still comes from coal, will pay more in carbon levies than Manitoba or Ontario, where most electricity comes from renewable sources.

The government expects the average cost impact per household in the province to be $403 in 2019.

The Conservatives also accused the government of letting big industry entirely off the carbon tax hook.

"My hunch is that's going to be a small fraction of the total carbon tax that the small business community is going to pay", he said, adding that he does not yet know what the overall costs of the carbon tax will be.



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