Federal carbon tax rebate a 'vote-buying scheme:' Saskatchewan premier

Is the federal government carbon tax too punitive

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that Ottawa will return to Canadians 90 per cent of the money it collects from a carbon tax. He made the announcement on October 22 in the riding of carbon tax foe Ontario Premier Doug Ford in north Toronto.

Most studies suggest that to be effective, a carbon tax has to reach $200 to $400 a year by the middle of this century, said Mark Jaccard, a professor of sustainable energy in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University in B.C.

However, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has said that province's carbon levy will not increase as planned until the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is built, and opposition leader Jason Kenney has vowed to scrap the carbon tax if he is elected next year.

The provincial government will continue their fight against the federal carbon tax.

The average household payments will be $248 in New Brunswick, $300 in Ontario, $336 in Manitoba and $598 in Saskatchewan. The other six provinces have already complied with Ottawa's carbon pricing mandate of a minimum of $20 a tonne, and each will have its own separate tax scheme implemented by January 1, 2019.

That plan, brokered with most provinces roughly two years ago, includes a carbon tax on greenhouse gas emissions as part of a larger effort to tackle climate change. Roughly 47 per cent of Canadians live in provinces that have said they will not follow through on the national climate framework.

They will also get a four-month reprieve from the carbon tax as the government pushed the implementation of its $20 per tonne tax to April 1 to give more time to fuel distributors and other companies to put it in place.

Tuesday's announcement set the stage for what will be a key issue in next year's federal election.

They will also announce Tuesday which provinces will see the federal carbon price will be applied. The cheques are meant to offset some of the added cost the carbon tax will impose on goods like gasoline and natural gas. "But if it's just a pure additional cost then it's not going to achieve its objective - it's just going to drive investment out of the country".

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For Kenney, Wudrick, and those against carbon pricing, the higher taxes will not adjust behaviour in a significant enough way to get people to use less carbon emissions.

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Marco Navarro-Génie, president and chief executive of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, described Trudeau's plan as a consumption tax in the guise of helping the environment. "But we are the last generation that will actually be able to do something about it", Trudeau said.

Official data regularly show Canada has little chance of meeting its climate change goals of reducing emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

"Most of us have to drive a lot".

Ottawa estimates that the annual carbon tax cost to families in Ontario in 2019 will be $244, in Manitoba, $232, in New Brunswick $202 and in Saskatchewan $403.

"When the Conservative Premiers bailed on the Climate Plan, the only real option to fulfill that promise (now federal law) was to return the money to the people", he wrote. After coming into effect in 2012, the tax was axed in 2014-along with the federal government-after becoming wildly unpopular. "It would make the court case with Saskatchewan based on whether it's constitutional what the federal government is doing-it makes that court case disappear".

He warns, however, that Canada hasn't been clear with its strategy and can't afford to take a "cookie-cutter approach", with carbon taxes in each sector being the same.


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