Church at cen­tre of tax furor is ‘happy’ to pay car­bon levy

PressReader - BRUCE_CAROL_ROWE Channel - Church at cen­tre of tax furor is ‘happy’ to pay car­bon levy
A Medicine Hat church that was thrust into the po­lit­i­cal spot­light when a UCP can­di­date wrongly claimed it faced a $50,000 car­bon tax bill will hap­pily pay its tab of about one-tenth that size, says the lead pas­tor.“For us the car­bon tax is not a po­lit­i­cal is­sue,” said Hill­crest Evan­gel­i­cal Mis­sion­ary Church pas­tor Steve Pahl in a state­ment. “We are more than happy to pay our bills, what­ever they are and need to be.“Many peo­ple in our con­gre­ga­tion are con­cerned about en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues.”UCP can­di­date for Brooks-Medicine Hat Michaela Glasgo caused waves on so­cial me­dia Sun­day when she tweeted that the church was fac­ing a mas­sive $50,000 car­bon tax bill for 2019.She later re­tracted the state­ment and clar­i­fied the cost would ac­tu­ally be around $5,400.But the as­tound­ing $50,000 fig­ure was retweeted by UCP Leader Ja­son Ken­ney, who added the note “we hear sto­ries like this all the time, sadly.”The NDP slammed the Op­po­si­tion for the er­ror and re­sult­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion, call­ing it a “Trump-es­que po­lit­i­cal strat­egy.”The UCP has re­peat­edly blasted the car­bon tax, ar­gu­ing that it hurts work­ers and fam­i­lies.Ken­ney has promised to re­peal the tax if his party wins the next elec­tion.The NDP said Ken­ney’s retweet was part of a pat­tern of push­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion to stir anger.“All can­di­dates for pub­lic of­fice and their lead­ers have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to check the facts and think crit­i­cally be­fore shar­ing in­for­ma­tion on so­cial me­dia,” said Matt Dyk­stra, spokesman for En­vi­ron­ment and Parks Min­is­ter Shan­non Phillips, in a state­ment. “It’s more than dis­ap­point­ing.”UCP spokesper­son Chris­tine My­att said Ken­ney had no rea­son to doubt the ve­rac­ity of Glasgo’s tweet.“Ms. Glasgo tweeted the in­for­ma­tion re­lated to what the NDP car­bon tax is cost­ing her lo­cal church in good faith and, upon learn­ing that she was mis­taken, is­sued a cor­rec­tion. Mr. Ken­ney retweeted Ms. Glasgo in good faith, and has also shared her sub­se­quent up­dates,” My­att said in a state­ment.Glasgo said she tweeted about the bill af­ter an ap­peal was made to her church’s con­gre­ga­tion dur­ing Sun­day’s ser­vice. She crit­i­cized the car­bon tax for cost­ing the church too much.“To­day at church we learned that the car­bon tax is go­ing to cost our church $50,000 this year ALONE,” she tweeted Sun­day.“That’s the cost of one less pas­tor for the sick and suf­fer­ing & less help for those who need it most in our com­mu­nity.”But crit­ics were swift to ques­tion whether that num­ber was ac­cu­rate.The prov­ince es­ti­mates that a $50,000 price tag would be equiv­a­lent to the car­bon tax for more than 100 house­holds com­bined. A typ­i­cal four-per­son house­hold uses 135 gi­ga­joules of nat­u­ral gas and 4,500 litres of gaso­line per year.That would amount to a to­tal car­bon tax of $508 an­nu­ally be­fore any re­bates.In a Face­book post Mon­day morn­ing, Glasgo dou­bled down on her claim. She said the $50,000 price tag in­cluded a num­ber of fa­cil­i­ties along with the main cham­ber.“But as an in­sti­tu­tion, it is still re­ferred to as ‘the church,’” she wrote. “And yes, it is be­ing ad­versely af­fected by the NDP’s car­bon tax.”About two hours af­ter that post, Glasgo said she re­ceived clar­i­fi­ca­tion from her church. She said she had con­fused the car­bon tax bill with the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s to­tal in­creas­ing op­er­a­tional costs for 2019.“I re­ported the ini­tial fig­ure in good faith and did not in­tend to mis­lead,” she said.She added that the $5,400 price tag is still a siz­able sum and it shouldn’t be down­played.“I fully stand by my crit­i­cism of the NDP’s car­bon tax.”For us the car­bon tax is not a po­lit­i­cal is­sue. We are more than happy to pay our bills, what­ever they are and need to be.

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