What Are "Carbon Taxes"?

What Are "Carbon Taxes"?

The Predatory Carbon Tax


A carbon tax is the method by which government directly or indirectly places a price on carbon dioxide emissions. A straight up, "direct" carbon tax, directly raises taxes on goods and services that emit carbon dioxide. This is the type of carbon tax which Premier Rachel Notley has imposed on Albertans in 2017, which Premier Brian Pallister plans on imposing on Manitobans, and, which Ontario PC Party Leader, Patrick Brown, had in mind for Ontario.

The "cap and trade" carbon tax is just an indirect carbon tax by a different name. It compels businesses to buy permits from the government for every tonne of carbon dioxide emitted, at a price set by the government. These businesses are forced to pass this cost on to the consumer in the form of higher prices – with gas, heating bills, food, electricity and many other essentials affected.

Either way – the result is a higher cost of living for the taxpayer.

Carbon taxes are the leading fiscal policy issue of the day in Canadian politics and will be for years to come.



Who Supports "Carbon Taxes"?


On December 9, 2016, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed a Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change; his attempt at coercing the provinces to adopt carbon taxes.

Unfortunately, at the time, nine of the premiers seemed to support Trudeau's plans for a national carbon tax. At the time, then PC leader Patrick Brown's support of a carbon tax ensured that a Justin Trudeau Carbon Tax would not face opposition from any of Ontario's three major party leaders. This "rolled out the red carpet" for Trudeau to boldly announce a carbon tax would be "mandatory" by 2018.

The AxeTheCarbonTax.ca campaign, with the help of others, gained tremendous grassroots support among Ontario conservatives in the latter half of 2017. Following Brown's resignation as PC leader, the PC leadership campaign was dominated by the question of the carbon tax and our sister campaign, TakeBackOurPCParty.com. All four PC leadership candidates opposed a carbon tax. Eventual winner Doug Ford carried his leadership campaign pledge to "Axe the Carbon Tax" into the general election and as newly elected Premier of Ontario, Ford announced that "scrapping the 'cap-and-trade' carbon tax" would be his first order of business.

As a result of Premier Ford and Premier Scott Moe's leadership on the file, what was once nine premiers supporting Trudeau's carbon tax is now down to five, or maybe four. Soon it might be down to three. 

Who else supports and opposes "carbon taxes" in Canada?



The "Revenue Neutral" Lie


Some proponents of "carbon taxes", including British Columbia's Liberal government and former Ontario PC Party Leader Patrick Brown, have touted that the introduction of a "classic" carbon tax could be "revenue neutral", slyly suggesting that each taxpayer would supposedly recoup the lost money through reductions in other taxes. This has been proven to be a deeply deceptive claim!

The facts show that individual taxpayers only see their taxes reduced by a fraction of the amount that they lose to carbon taxes.

In 2015/2016, the BC Liberal government generated $1.2 billion in revenue from their carbon tax, yet the government only passed along reductions of $579 million to the individual taxpayer.

Since the introduction of their carbon tax, BC's greenhouse gas emissions have continued to increase (despite the carbon tax) and their economic recovery since the last recession (2008/2009) has been slower than the rest of Canada's provinces (largely due to their carbon tax).



The Economic Disadvantage of Carbon Taxes


Our biggest trading partner, the United States, under newly elected President Trump, is set to eliminate Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, embracing the clean development of oil, natural gas, and coal. President Trump has also promised to repeal Obama's environmental regulations, drastically cut the EPA, and withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

As such, it is fair to assume Trump won't be embracing the notion of carbon taxes, either in the form of the "direct" carbon tax, or the "cap-and-trade" carbon tax.

If Canada implements carbon taxes, we'll see our energy prices rise – just as our biggest trading partner and competitor begins to lower theirs. This would put us at a significant economic disadvantage.

Carbon taxes pose a dangerous blow to our economy and do nothing to improve the environment.