Tax the big pol­luters, not work­ing peo­ple

Agri­cul­ture, trans­porta­tion ac­count for 65 per cent of P.E.I.’s green­house gases but will be ex­empt

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OPINION - BY LLOYD KERRY Lloyd Kerry, Char­lot­te­town has been a P.E.I. tax­payer for over 40 years with a strong con­cern for Is­land work­ing peo­ple.

Is there a more hated word than ‘taxes’? OK, ‘bank fees’ but that’s two words. The thing I hate most about taxes is that I have to pay them. It’s not an op­tion. And a new tax means I will have less money to spend. That means I spend less at lo­cal busi­nesses and that is not good for the econ­omy.

The other thing I hate about new taxes is it seems to in­di­cate a new lie by our lead­ers (I can say ‘lie’, I’m not in the leg­is­la­ture where there is a list of un­ac­cept­able words). For ex­am­ple, take Robert Ghiz and the prom­ise in the 2011 elec­tion not to in­tro­duce HST to P.E.I. OK, he says it was an­other Lib­eral. Same dif­fer­ence. It got ‘in­tro­duced’ (po­lit­i­cal term for ‘open your wal­let’).

Then those same Lib­er­als (I for­get which one) promised not to in­crease HST in the 2015 elec­tion. It got in­creased.

Let’s leave the past be­hind and move to the now in Canada. Sunny Ways Trudeau, king of the selfie and photo-op stood on the world stage in Paris and said Canada was go­ing to save the world from cli­mate change. Every­body loved his smile and his socks and thought all is right with the world. King Wade of the MacLauch­lan clan said he would fol­low his leader and bring the car­bon tax to P.E.I.

That’s where my blood pres­sure be­gins to rise. At the time MacLauch­lan said we will have a car­bon tax, CBC re­ported (Dec. 2016) “Agri­cul­ture and trans­porta­tion ac­counts for 65 per cent of P.E.I.’s green­house gas emis­sions, but MacLauch­lan said gas in the fish­ing and farm­ing sec­tors will be ex­empt.” Ex­empt? This shows you how se­ri­ous an ap­proach he’s tak­ing in the cli­mate change is­sue.

While we’re look­ing at the Is­land gov­ern­ment’s cli­mate change fight, let’s look at the two main pro­duc­ers of car­bon here on P.E.I. The first is en­ergy used in heat­ing our homes and busi­nesses. Re­mem­ber the win­ter of 2015? Cli­mate change, my butt. This cold weather is a given and we can all pat our politi­cians on the back when they sug­gest we buy more caulk­ing for the win­dows in the home­stead.

I tried to do some­thing about it in 2015; I got rid of my oil-spill-wait­ing-to-hap­pen oil tank and my car­bon-belching oil fur­nace and went with propane. Much cleaner, no chance of a spill. In­stead of a thank you let­ter from the premier for pro­duc­ing less pol­lu­tion, I get a kick in the teeth in the form of 10% more taxes on my en­ergy source. Huh? Aren’t we try­ing to save the planet here? I asked my MLA, Doug Cur­rie, if they were go­ing to rem­edy this. He said I wasn’t in the 95 per cent of Is­landers who use oil. Ex­cuse me?

Re­cently, lo­cal news has been talk­ing about the elec­tric ve­hi­cle ef­fi­cien­cyPEI. is tour­ing around the Is­land. Green Party leader Peter Be­van-Baker wants the prov­ince to bring back fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives, re­moved sev­eral years ago, to pur­chase elec­tric and elec­tric/ hy­brid cars.

The MacLauch­lan gov­ern­ment has said ‘they are con­sid­er­ing this as part of their cli­mate change strat­egy’. What that says to me is that if sub­si­dies are brought back, they will be paid for by a car­bon tax on gaso­line. This money will come out of the pock­ets of many low-in­come work­ing Is­landers who can barely af­ford to put over­priced gas in the fam­ily car now. This tax money will go into the pock­ets of those who, for the most part, can af­ford that shiny new elec­tric car with­out fi­nan­cial aid. Fair? You tell me.

So, Mr. Premier, if you bring in a car­bon tax, tax the right peo­ple. Tax those who pro­duce the most pol­lu­tion, the big busi­nesses, not work­ing peo­ple. These com­pa­nies claim fuel taxes on their cor­po­rate in­come tax. We work­ing peo­ple can­not.

And work­ing peo­ple vote.

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