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ALBAS: Competitiveness and the Federal Carbon Tax

Dan Albas a Member of Parliament.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Dan Albas
August 05, 2018 - 12:00 PM

 


OPINION


For three years now the national carbon tax has been one of the signature policies of the Trudeau Liberal Government in Ottawa.

However the Province of Saskatchewan has continued to be a hold out and is refusing to implement the federally imposed carbon tax.

More recently, the new Ontario Government also announced its intentions to reject what is often called the “Trudeau Carbon Tax” and has created the potential for a significant legal challenge.

This week the Office of Environment Minister Catherine McKenna announced that the Liberals will be doing some back peddling on the Liberal carbon tax policy.

The Liberal Government announced plans that, as the CBC reported, will reduce the carbon tax so “large polluters will be taxed on 10-20% of emissions rather than 30%” as was previously planned."

One well known Canadian columnist observed, these carbon tax changes amount to “a carbon tax that taxes you less the more carbon you emit.”

Why are the Liberals making this change to reduce carbon tax on large scale polluters?

In short, over concerns related to competitiveness.

In my view these concerns are quite valid.

As for example, the United States does not have a national carbon tax nor do many of Canada's largest trading partners.

I believe this is a major policy change as it is the first time the Trudeau Liberal Government has publicly admitted that the costs of the carbon tax can place Canadian industry at a competitive disadvantage when compared to other countries that have no carbon tax whatsoever.

The bigger problem is that these carbon tax changes announced by the Liberals only apply to large scale polluters; unfortunately they do not apply to small business owners or hardworking Canadian families.

For the average family and small business owner there are no exemptions whatsoever.

In some Provinces there are rebates for certain citizens however they are not applied in the same manner as an across the board exemption that would benefit all taxpayers.

I believe this creates a challenge and also leads to my question for this week.

As the Liberals have now admitted that the carbon tax makes heavily polluting industry less competitive would it not also be fair to recognize the adverse impacts on small business owners and Canadian families who in comparison are not large scale polluters?

I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free  1-800-665-8711.


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