Car­bon tax show­down looms

PressReader - Tke Channel - Car­bon tax show­down looms
“Will we kick this can down the road yet again to be dealt with in an­other place or at an­other time, or will we show some courage and do what needs to be done for this gen­er­a­tion and the next?”That was the propo­si­tion Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau pre­sented on Tues­day, Maura For­rest re­ports, when he un­veiled his long-awaited plan for a car­bon tax that will be levied in prov­inces that haven’t al­ready adopted a car­bon-pric­ing scheme of their own.It would be some­thing much like On­tario had in place be­fore Doug Ford led his Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives to power and promptly re­pealed the cap-and-trade pro­gram put in place by the pre­vi­ous Lib­eral gov­ern­ment.Did Trudeau’s mak­ing his an­nounce­ment at a Toronto col­lege in Eto­bi­coke North, Ford’s own rid­ing, Chris Sel­ley asks, not send a mes­sage to other premiers and premiers-in-wait­ing united against his car­bon plan that he was not to be tri­fled with?Trudeau, Ford thun­dered in a news re­lease “should be ready for a fight.” He called the tax “mas­sive,” “pun­ish­ing ” and “job-killing,” claim­ing it would do “noth­ing for the en­vi­ron­ment” and would harm se­nior cit­i­zens, soc­cer moms and small busi­ness own­ers.The fed­eral gov­ern­ment will re­turn 90 per cent of all the money it col­lects from a car­bon price di­rectly to Cana­di­ans, Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau promised Tues­day.Trudeau un­veiled the de­tails of the car­bon tax re­bates at a Toronto col­lege, in an at­tempt to sell Cana­di­ans on the need to pay for pol­lu­tion with­out break­ing their pock­et­books.“Start­ing next year, it will no longer be free to pol­lute any­where in Canada,” Trudeau said. “Putting a price on pol­lu­tion is the best way to tackle cli­mate change, be­cause it works.”Trudeau said he be­lieved Cana­di­ans would be on the side of pric­ing pol­lu­tion to en­sure emis­sions were cut and cli­mate change was kept in check, not­ing they had seen the im­pacts from for­est fires and floods to droughts and heat waves.“Will we kick this can down the road yet again to be dealt with in an­other place or at an­other time or will we show some courage and do what needs to be done for this gen­er­a­tion and the next?” he said.Cana­di­ans in the four prov­inces with car­bon pric­ing plans the fed­eral gov­ern­ment con­sid­ers in­ad­e­quate will re­ceive pre­emp­tive re­bates from Ot­tawa when they be­gin pay­ing the fed­eral car­bon tax in April 2019.The gov­ern­ment es­ti­mates that av­er­age house­holds in On­tario, Saskatchewan, Man­i­toba and New Brunswick will get back more than they pay through the fed­eral car­bon tax, in what Ot­tawa is call­ing a Cli­mate Ac­tion In­cen­tive.For in­stance, in On­tario, the av­er­age house­hold — cal­cu­lated at 2.6 peo­ple in af­fected prov­inces — will pay $244 in 2019, but will get $300 back as part of their in­come tax re­turns in the spring of 2019, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment es­ti­mates.The fed­eral price on fuel will come into ef­fect in the four prov­inces in April 2019, the be­gin­ning of the next fis­cal year. Be­gin­ning in July 2019, the sys­tem will also be ap­plied in Yukon and Nu­navut, which have opted for the fed­eral tax in lieu of cre­at­ing their own.The fed­eral gov­ern­ment says 90 per cent of the rev­enue from the fuel charge will be re­turned di­rectly to house­holds through the an­nual re­bate. The re­main­ing 10 per cent will sup­port small busi­nesses, univer­si­ties, hos­pi­tals, schools, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, non-prof­its and In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties — or­ga­ni­za­tions that won’t be able to pass 100 per cent of the cost on to con­sumers.Dur­ing a brief­ing in Ot­tawa on Tues­day morn­ing, se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials said 70 per cent of house­holds should make back more than they pay, with higher-in­come fam­i­lies less likely to break even. Peo­ple in small com­mu­ni­ties and ru­ral ar­eas will also re­ceive a 10-per-cent sup­ple­ment. How­ever, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment will need par­lia­men­tary ap­proval to send out re­bates be­fore it’s ac­tu­ally be­gun col­lect­ing car­bon tax rev­enue.A sep­a­rate car­bon pric­ing sys­tem for heavy in­dus­trial emit­ters will come into ef­fect in Jan­uary 2019, but the gov­ern­ment has yet to de­cide how those pro­ceeds will be used, and says fur­ther de­tails will be an­nounced next year. That rev­enue will not be re­turned to house­holds. Heavy emit­ters will have to re­port on their emis­sions from 2019 af­ter the end of the cal­en­dar year, and will then have the op­tion to pur­chase cred­its or car­bon offsets, or to pay the fed­eral car­bon price. That means Ot­tawa will only see pro­ceeds from heavy emit­ters in mid2020, and can­not cur­rently es­ti­mate how much rev­enue will be gen­er­ated.The gov­ern­ment now es­ti­mates its car­bon pric­ing plan will cut green­house gas emis­sions by 50 to 60 mil­lion tonnes in 2022, far less than an April 2018 es­ti­mate that found the plan would cut emis­sions by 80 to 90 mil­lion tonnes. Fed­eral of­fi­cials say the dif­fer­ence is largely be­cause the On­tario gov­ern­ment scrapped its cap-and­trade sys­tem af­ter Premier Doug Ford was elected ear­lier this year.The fed­eral fuel charge will be levied at $20 per tonne of car­bon emis­sions in 2019, ris­ing by $10 per tonne each year un­til it reaches $50 per tonne in 2022. The gov­ern­ment es­ti­mates the car­bon tax will in­crease gaso­line prices by 4.4 cents per litre in 2019, in­creas­ing to 11 cents per litre in 2022. Nat­u­ral gas will in­crease by 3.9 cents per cu­bic me­tre in 2019, ris­ing to 9.8 cents per cu­bic me­tre in 2022.

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