Fool for the carbon tax?

On April Fool's Day, the carbon tax rate in British Columbia was increased from $35 a tonne to $40.

This translates to an increase on the carbon tax you pay on your gas home heating bills as well as when you fuel up your vehicle.

As a result, I am increasingly hearing complaints from citizens over higher gas bills and the price at the pumps.

One recent question I received was, how much higher the carbon tax increases will go.

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for a Pan-Canadian agreement on pricing carbon pollution in Canada, it mandated a carbon tax rate of $50 per tonne in 2022.

April 1 of each year, B.C.'s carbon tax rate will increase until it hits $50 per tonne, currently forecast for 2021.

In terms of revenue, the B.C. NDP 2019 provincial budget over the next three fiscal years reveals that the carbon tax is forecast to generate $1.7, $1.97 and $2.2 billion.

That is close to $6 billion of carbon tax revenue collected over the next three years.

There has also been some confusion as the federal government imposed a national carbon tax on provinces that did not agree to the Pan-Canadian carbon pricing agreement.

In those provinces, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick, the Trudeau government has indicated the intention is to ensure the national carbon tax is revenue neutral to citizens, although there is some debate on the veracity of those claims.

Is the carbon tax revenue neutral here in B.C.?

While B.C.'s carbon tax will generate close to $6 billion in tax revenue over the next three years, the climate action tax rebate, intended to offset those costs to lower income citizens over the same period, is forecast to return just $928 million.

"Clean B.C.," another climate relate provincial program, has a total spending forecast of $679 million over the same three year time frame.

Therefore, in order to meet Mr. Trudeau's $50 per tonne carbon tax target, B.C. citizens will pay close to
$6 billion in new carbon tax over the next three years.

Despite collecting $6 billion carbon tax revenue, only roughly $1.6 billion is being returned in various programs related to climate change.

That means, in B.C., the carbon tax is not revenue neutral.

I mention this as many citizens are confused when they hear the federal government suggest the carbon tax is revenue neutral when that is not what is being experienced here in B.C.

It is also important to be aware that while the federal government has dictated the $50 per tonne carbon tax increase, in B.C., it is the decision of the current NDP provincial government if the carbon tax is revenue neutral or not.

My question this week:

  • Do you support the carbon tax increasing to $50 per tonne by 2021-22?

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


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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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