Over the last two years, we have seen the carbon tax, what was once the most popular policy for managing carbon emissions, slowly decay into an almost unmanageable mess as it ran straight into the shredder of American policy.
While Canada attempted to lower carbon emissions it faced an obvious problem: to do so it would have to drastically tax it’s own production of carbon, at a time when its neighbour and largest trading alley would lower its own.
Earlier this week the comments from the CEO of Calgary-based airline Westjet pointed out the problem behind this, noting that costs would rise as a result of the tax, and in turn, the government should provide an industry-specific exemption.
The National Airlines Council of Canada sent letters to three federal ministers Friday cautioning the government about the reduction the levy would cause to revenues as well as marginal domestic routes. Lobby group president Massimo Bergamini says a carbon tax is “the worst tool” to reduce emissions, with fuel an inflexible demand that often amounts to airlines’ biggest expense.”
This request is by no means something new, and keenly shows the root of the failures of the carbon tax.
Canadians won’t stop flying because the Trudeau government puts a tax on their flights. They’ll just go to where the flights are cheaper, completely defeating the supposed purpose of the Carbon Tax.
— Scott Moe (@PremierScottMoe) October 19, 2018
As a whole, the tax aims to reduce carbon emissions, but the connection to the United States almost instantly forces the Canadian government to provide exemptions for the industry polluters, while leaving the tax on low-income and middle-class families, in order to ensure stable jobs market while still meeting campaign rhetoric.
Editor’s Note: It is worthwhile to note the U.N. has asked Canada to go far beyond the current Trudeau targets in order to meet carbon emission targets, something experts argue is impossible.
Targeting the Middle Class
Earlier this year, for example, Pierre Poilievre continuously questioned Liberal minister Catherine Mckenna, on the provision of a 90% carbon tax exception for industrial polluters, while families continued to face the full burden.
It is seriously important to point where the Liberals now expect cuts for carbon to be made. A recent GHG report by the Prairie Climate Centre shows that Canada’s emissions come largely from burning fuel and electricity, mostly to heat the frigid country, and to transport goods across the extremely large distances between our cities.
If industrial polluters are given exemption and transportation such as Westjet receive them as well, the remaining area for taxation is oil producers, heating our homes, and transportation for our already long and forced commutes.
This situation in which businesses receive an exemption, for the most part, screams of a mixture of welfare or crony capitalism and virtue signalling rhetoric combined into one package to almost everyone experiencing it on the other side.
Perhaps most disturbingly it seems only the pet projects of the Liberal government will be so lucky to receive that same level of government support, as Alberta’s Trans Mountain pipeline continues to be dragged down with no clear plans in sight, as the Liberals continue to fail in earning the social license promised so long ago.
This hopeless circle of business tax exemptions, lacking social licenses, and a half-hearted pipeline policy is perhaps why at this point Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, and P.E.I, a group representing 56% of the Canadian population now decisively oppose the carbon tax, and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Editor’s Note: While Alberta opposes the national carbon plan it has not removed the provinces $30 a tonne carbon tax.
Given the opposition from our American neighbours, and the completely botched rollout of the carbon tax it may be time to ask a very tough question.
Should we drop the tax entirely and begin to look for a new solution?
What do you think? Join the conversation by commenting below!