Back in late November, I wrote an MP’s report that covered several issues that constituents raised with me.
One of the concerns was the high cost of home heating. A resident sent me their home heating bills and shared that they had to go on the “equal payment plan” to afford the cold winter months. For the individual in question, that worked out to 12 equal payments of $170 monthly, for a total of $2,040 for the year.
It was also pointed out nearly a quarter of that bill, $473 (23%), was solely paying for the carbon tax. As is often the case, the individual in question is not eligible for the provincial B.C. Climate Action Tax Credit. (In B.C., individuals earning $79,376 or more do not qualify for this credit).
That led to the question about the B.C. carbon tax, and would the province fall in line with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mandate and raise it beyond the previously agreed $50 per tonne?
Back at the end of November, we did not know the answer to that question. Previously B.C. signed onto the federal Pan-Canadian Climate Strategy. That agreement, dictated by Trudeau, called for the carbon tax in B.C. to rise to $50 per tonne as of April 1, 2022, which it did.
With the agreement now concluded, up until yesterday we did not know what the B.C. government would do on April 1, 2023.
Now we have the answer. In yesterday’s B.C. budget, the government announced it is increasing the carbon tax ($CAD/tonne CO2e) on April 1 to $65/tonne. It further revealed it intends to increase the carbon tax every year until it reaches $170/tonne in 2030.
How will that impact you? Based on the budget forecast this year, residents of B.C. will pay an extra $600 million. By 2030, that could be as much as $5 billion a year in total carbon tax paid.
One thing that did surprise me in the provincial budget was a note in the supplementary tax information that pointed out, “rural communities may have higher indirect carbon tax burdens (e.g. through higher shipping costs resulting in a higher price for goods) and colder regions of the province may have higher carbon tax costs for home heating.”
That surprised me as governments, both provincially and federally, who support carbon taxes rarely admit so candidly that it does adversely impact those who live in rural communities.
Federally, the Bank of Canada has also confirmed the carbon tax does increase inflation here in Canada. Yet heating and shipping costs aside, rural areas will attest that their residents don’t have publicly funded public transit as an alternative to the carbon tax to get to work, medical appointments and for kids who require transportation to get to school.
My question this week is not about if you support the carbon tax but rather, the inequality in how rural residents end up paying more of it.
Do you believe provincial and federal governments should make more effort to offset the impact of the carbon tax on those who live in rural areas?
I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll-free 1-800-665-871.
Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.