Published: Sat, October 27, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Premier Doug Ford slams Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's carbon tax plan

Premier Doug Ford slams Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's carbon tax plan

He said the carbon tax rebate system, which will be enforced in four provinces, comes just as Ottawa prepares to roll out expanded CPP contributions, which will eventually raise the individual benefit rate by 33 per cent.

Groups that favour carbon prices argued Canada's proposed cuts were nowhere near big enough while opponents accusing the government from buying votes to outright lying about whether the rebates will really offset the increased cost to families.

In a statement, Trudeau's office rebutted those claims, noting that provinces that moved early to introduce carbon pollution pricing systems - Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec - had the best economic growth in the country in 2017. "We are going to place a price on the pollution that causes climate change", Trudeau said in a speech at a Toronto college. He said he plans on being in the middle of the debate next year when the federal election heats up. The federal fuel charge will apply in those provinces in April 2019.

In 2017, he gave them nearly a year to come up with a plan of their own that met federal standards.

The carbon tax will affect Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Yukon, and Nunavut - who did not sign onto the pan-Canadian framework on climate change - and Ontario, which broke away from the framework after Doug Ford became Premier.

It will add about $2 to a tank of gas, or $8 to a monthly natural gas bill.

How much am I going to pay in a carbon tax? The thing to keep in mind is that 70 percent of the people in the above-named provinces will get back more than they end up paying out as fuel costs rise to incorporate the carbon tax, with average household payments being about $248 in New Brunswick, $300 in Ontario, $336 in Manitoba and $598 in Saskatchewan, according to officials.

In August, Ontario quit the California market and joined Saskatchewan in suing the federal government to try to block it from imposing its carbon tax on them.

All Manitobans outside of the Winnipeg area will receive 10 per cent more than urban residents to accommodate for their higher energy use.

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The rebate depends on the province you live in and the size of your family.

"Nobody has to be convinced anymore that the environment is something we need to take care off, the questions now is, are we going to act or not?"

Carbon pricing is expected to be a key campaign issue, with the federal Conservatives pushing heavily against a carbon tax and insisting they would eliminate it entirely if they form government. Ottawa says it will remit roughly seven per cent of the revenues to small businesses, and about three per cent to hospitals and schools.

Not everyone believes him, and the next election is shaping up to be a battle royale over the carbon price.

"It will hurt taxpayers, will not be good for the economy and will not help the environment", Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said.

"This is Saskatchewan. Most of us have to drive a lot".

In Saskatchewan the carbon tax rebate for a family of four will be $609 in 2019, increasing to $1,495 in 2022. Pallister changed course and cancelled the plan on October 3, citing Ottawa's refusal to consider allowing a flat tax, which he claims would have reduced more emissions.

Ottawa's price will start at $20 a tonne on January 1, and rise $10 a year until it hits $50 in 2022.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May applauded the announcement but said Canada needs to increase its target and adjust its plans accordingly. In these provinces the federal "backstop" carbon tax-starting at $20 a tonne in 2019 and up to $50 per excess tonne by 2022-is being applied.

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