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ALBAS: Winter and the carbon tax

Dan Albas, member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla.
Image Credit: Contributed
February 07, 2019 - 12:15 PM

 


OPINION


This week my Summerland office was visited by an individual living on a fixed income who is very concerned about being unable to afford the monthly gas bill.

This individual also questioned why the carbon tax on the monthly gas bill was higher than the actual commodity cost of the gas used.

It was also asked, with the temperatures dropping below freezing this week throughout the Okanagan, “why was the (Provincial) NDP Government punishing citizens and cashing in on extra carbon tax revenue while people try to keep the pipes from freezing and try to stay warm”.

Fair questions.

Part of the answer to this question is due to the federal Liberal Government carbon tax plan.

British Columbia, signed onto this Trudeau Liberal plan, that calls for an annual increase of carbon taxes to $50 a tonne by 2022.

In B.C. there is a “Climate Action Tax Credit” meant to help offset these costs however the maximum payable to an individual is only $11.25 a month and the income threshold is $35,000 before a 2% penalty deduction is taken from that $11.25 a month.

In this case the individual’s monthly carbon tax on gas alone is higher than the climate rebate and with a net income of just over $41,000, the monthly climate rebate is reduced to just 54 cents.

Meanwhile in the House of Commons on Tuesday, during question period, Prime Minister Trudeau stated, and I quote: “low-income families do not benefit from tax breaks because they do not pay taxes.”

This was a remarkably untrue statement from the Prime Minister.

Currently a Canadian earning over $12,000 or more is, as we all know, paying federal income tax.

In fact the current federal income tax rate for citizens earning up $46,505 is taxed at a rate of 15%.

Also a fact, when the Liberal Government came into power in 2015,the low income tax rate was left unchanged.

It was citizens earning currently between $46,605 up to $93,208 that received the 1.5% tax cut.

In addition to paying income tax, low income citizens also pay GST, PST here in BC, carbon tax, provincial income taxes (after a certain threshold) as well as other government fees and charges and property taxes, if they own a residence.

The suggestion by the Prime Minister that lower income citizens do not pay taxes is patently false and I am hopeful the Prime Minister will clarify that and apologize to those lower income taxpayers who deserve to be acknowledged for paying their fair share.

My question this week relates to the carbon tax.

Does it seem fair that government carbon tax revenues will increase solely due to sub-zero temperatures, because citizens are forced to increase their use of energy to keep warm?

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

— Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola. This riding includes the communities of Kelowna (specific boundaries), West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Princeton, Merritt and Logan Lake.


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