Carbon tax disaster

There was more attention than usual on U.S. politics this week as many watched the results of the U.S. mid-term elections.

In Washington State, there also was a vote to implement a state carbon tax.

This vote was Initiative No. 1631, which proposed a carbon tax of $15/ton and was rejected with a majority 56 per cent of roughly two million voters saying no.

This was the second time a Washington State carbon tax has been rejected by a majority of voters with the previous initiative being voted down in 2016.

Why does this matter to Canadians?

Here in B.C., some of our industries compete with industries located in Washington State.

When an industry in a jurisdiction paying carbon taxes cannot compete with that same industry in another jurisdiction, not paying carbon taxes, there is a serious concern for economic harm and job losses.

This situation is called carbon leakage, which is even referenced in the current B.C. NDP Provincial budget document.

Here is how carbon leakage is defined in that budget document:

  • “Industries that compete with industry in countries that may have low or no carbon price:

If Industry loses market share to more polluting competitors, known as carbon leakage, it affects our economy and does not reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.”

In Ottawa, the Trudeau Liberal government has also acknowledged this same principle.

Liberal MP Sean Fraser, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, recently admitted that when it comes to big industrial emitters in “trade-exposed industries," the Liberal government has recently softened carbon tax on big polluters because in the absence of carbon tax relief, the carbon tax could potentially have jobs leave and it will do nothing for emissions.

In New Brunswick, the Trudeau Liberal government has given a 95.5 per cent percent exemption on carbon tax that applies to coal-fired power.

Coal power is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases in Atlantic Canada. The largest emitter is the Irving Oil refinery, which imports oil from Countries that also do not have carbon taxes.

B.C. is also not immune from carbon tax exemptions.

As one example, despite the B.C. NDP government signing onto the Trudeau national carbon tax, the new B.C. LNG investment will be exempt from the carbon tax increases called for in that agreement.

This is not an isolated incident where a polluting industry in BC has secured some form of carbon tax relief.

Why do I raise these points?

The challenge is that increasingly some of Canada’s largest polluters are being given exemptions from paying carbon tax.

These carbon tax exemptions seldom draw major national media headlines and many citizens are unaware they are occurring.

However, for the average citizen and for small business owners there is no carbon tax relief.

Here in B.C., more increases in carbon tax remain on the horizon.

My question this week is one of fairness.

  • With large-scale polluters increasingly being given carbon tax relief, do you think it is fair that, here in B.C., average citizens are being asked to pay more carbon tax?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.

Libs' tactics Orwellian

I have been overwhelmed by citizens asking what can be summarized by the following question:

  • “Is it true that Statistics Canada is demanding access to certain Canadians personal financial and banking information, including all transactions along with bank account balances without citizens’ consent or even notification that this is going on?”

When news of this potential sharing of your personal financial information with Ottawa bureaucrats first broke (full credit to Global News) the Official Opposition immediately began hearing very serious concerns, even outrage, from many Canadians.

This was similar to what occurred when it was announced the Liberal government was going to claw back employee discounts and treat them as taxable benefits. 

In that case when the Official Opposition raised these concerns, the Liberals announced it was a policy directive that was not signed off by the Minister and would not go forward.

Our hopeful expectation was this might be a similar situation. 

Unfortunately, in question period this week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that he fully supports your personal banking information being shared with Ottawa bureaucrats without either your consent, or your knowledge.

The Prime Minister has stated that he believes your data will remain secure. The fact that you have not consented to your financial data being shared and that you will not be  notified that your banking information has been taken is perfectly acceptable and is something he supports.

On Thursday my opposition colleague, MP Candice Bergen, presented more than 800 pages of government documents showing hundreds of incidents of privacy breaches affecting thousands of citizens over the past 19 months.

Fortunately, on Oct. 31,  the Privacy Commissioner announced he will launch an formal investigation into these proposed actions from Statistics Canada.

In my view, this is not 1984. No government should be using Orwellian techniques to harvest your personal private banking information.

Your personal financial information belongs to you and you have a right to know when it is being accessed and for what purpose. 

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and our Official Opposition caucus do not support this Liberal supported assault on your personal financial privacy. 

My question this week is a simple one: 

  • Do you?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711. 

B.C. misses tax break

You may have seen or heard media reports regarding a carbon tax rebate plan announced by the Trudeau Liberal Government.

What is this new carbon tax rebate plan?

The Federal Liberal Government has mandated a national carbon tax to be implemented across Canada allowing individual provinces and Territories some flexibility to set the parameters of how this carbon tax program will be implemented.

As an example, here in British Columbia, a carbon tax has been in place since 2008. The Provincial NDP Government has announced it will continue to increase this carbon tax to meet the federal standard set by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Other provinces, most notably Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick have either openly refused a carbon tax or have enacted other environmental policies that Mr. Trudeau has decided do not meet his carbon tax threshold.

In these four provinces (and these four provinces only) residents will soon be getting annual carbon tax rebates from the federal government. 

In Manitoba, the rebate is $336, Ontario is $300, N.B. is $248 and Saskatchewan is $598. 

In British Columbia, the rebate is zero.

One local citizen recently shared with me that this Liberal carbon tax policy essentially rewards provinces that have rejected the Liberals carbon tax. 

An interesting observation.

In my view, this Liberal rebate is an admission that their national carbon tax is not truly revenue neutral and that people will pay more in costs related to the carbon tax.  

The intent in these four provinces, according to the Liberals, is to return a larger carbon tax rebate than what the Liberals calculate citizens in these provinces will pay in increased carbon taxes. 

In other words, the Liberals are suggesting that if you live in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario or New Brunswick, you will make money and come out ahead after paying a carbon tax. 

This same carbon tax credit that will be implemented through income tax returns, will also apply to the territories. 

In August, the Trudeau Liberals also lowered the amount of carbon tax that some of Canada’s largest polluters will pay as a result of “competitiveness” concerns as many of Canada’s largest trading partners do not have a national carbon tax.

It should also be noted that the recently negotiated USMCA trade agreement between Canada, U.S. and Mexico is also silent on the subject of a North American carbon tax meaning that competitiveness concerns will remain.

My question this week: 

  • Do you believe government claims that you will come out ahead financially after paying increased taxes?

I can be reached at [email protected] or at 1-800-665-8711.


Crude plan for oil delivery

The National Energy Board reported in June that crude oil-by-rail exports from Canada set a new record of 204,558 barrels a day. 

Industry analysts predict that by the end of this year, oil exports could increase to 300,000 barrels. 

The International Energy Agency has predicted that by the end of 2019, Canadian oil by rail exports could hit 390,000 barrels a day with the potential to possibly hit peak levels of as much as 590,000 barrels. 

For some added context, in 2012, the shipment of oil by rail was roughly 30,000 barrels of oil a day. 

I mention these things because the efforts to block the Trans Mountain pipeline have been successful to date and have only served to increased shipment by rail, a less environmentally efficient option.

At the same time the production of oil in Alberta continues to increase.

Oil production is on pace to hit 5.6 million barrels a day by 2035, an increase of over 30 per cent compared to current production levels. In the absence of increased pipeline capacity, it is clear why oil by rail exports will only continue to increase.

Aside from the logistical challenges, there is also the current inability to access new markets that are willing to pay more for Canadian oil then is currently the case with exporting to the United States. 

Industry experts predict that roughly $1 billion a month is being lost in potential increased revenue from accessing new markets.

As many will know, the Federal Liberal government has paid $4.5 billion to purchase the existing Trans Mountain pipeline and has repeatedly stated it will spend an additional $7-9 billion to build the expanded project. 

Currently, the project remains at an impasse with no clear deadline being set by the Government for completion let alone construction.

What if there was another way? 

Independent Senator Doug Black has tabled a private member's bill in the Senate — Bill S-245, An Act to declare the Trans Mountain Pipeline Project and related works to be for the general advantage of Canada. 

As many know, the B.C. NDP government has been making efforts to block the Trans-Mountain pipeline. 

Bill S-245 proposes that the authority of class 29 of section 91 and paragraph (c) of class 10 of section 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867 to be used to declare this project necessary for the general advantage of Canada.

This bill passed in the Senate and is before the House of Commons this week. 

Given that the Prime Minister has repeatedly stated that the Trans-Mountain project is in Canada’s national interests, it will be interesting to see if the Liberals support this Senate bill.

My question this week:.

  • Do you support Senate Bill S-245 and the intent to declare this project necessary for the general advantage of Canada? 

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.

More Dan in Ottawa articles

About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the shadow minister of innovation, science, economic development and internal trade, and sits on the standing committee on finance.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

In British Columbia, Dan has been consistently one of the lowest spending MPs on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

Dan is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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