Re­bates bol­ster sup­port of car­bon tax plan

PressReader - Tke Channel - Re­bates bol­ster sup­port of car­bon tax plan
OT­TAWA • Cana­di­ans have warmed up slightly to the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment’s car­bon tax plan af­ter it an­nounced a mas­sive re­bate scheme in Oc­to­ber, a new poll from Angus Reid says.Sup­port for the car­bon tax has risen from 45 per cent in July to 54 per cent in mid-Oc­to­ber, af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau’s an­nounce­ment that 90 per cent of the rev­enues would be re­turned to vot­ers. That is close to the 56 per cent the tax en­joyed in mid-2015, when it was at peak pop­u­lar­ity.Al­though there has been talk of “re­bate cheques,” the re­bates won’t be ac­tual cheques or di­rect de­posits into bank ac­counts, but a credit ap­plied when Cana­di­ans file their taxes each year.Ac­cord­ing to Angus Reid, the main ob­jec­tion from peo­ple who don’t sup­port the plan is the be­lief, held by two-thirds of dis­senters, that it amounts to a “tax grab.” Thirty-six per cent say they have con­cerns about its ef­fec­tive­ness at fight­ing cli­mate change and only six per cent of re­spon­dents say their op­po­si­tion came from doubts about hu­man-caused cli­mate change.Con­ser­va­tive Leader An­drew Scheer and On­tario Premier Doug Ford got to­gether this week to em­pha­size their shared be­lief that the car­bon tax is a job-killing cash grab. Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau re­sponded by say­ing the two con­ser­va­tive lead­ers want to “make pol­lu­tion free again.”The On­tario gov­ern­ment passed leg­is­la­tion Wed­nes­day to re­peal the prov­ince’s cap-and-trade sys­tem, killing a pro­gram Ford has long promised to scrap.Only half of On­tar­i­ans now be­lieve the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment should have the fi­nal say on car­bon pol­icy rather than the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, com­pared to 64 per cent three months ago.The fed­eral car­bon tax is a back­stop pol­icy, de­signed to come into ef­fect only if prov­inces don’t im­ple­ment an emis­sions-re­duc­tion scheme ap­proved by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. So far, only res­i­dents of On­tario, Saskatchewan, Man­i­toba and New Brunswick will be af­fected by the fed­eral plan. Al­berta Op­po­si­tion leader Ja­son Ken­ney has vowed to re­peal Al­berta’s car­bon tax and fight the fed­eral plan in court along with the other dis­sent­ing prov­inces, if he is elected next year.The Angus Reid poll il­lu­mi­nates a deep di­vide across Canada. While Saskatchewan showed the big­gest bump in sup­port for the car­bon tax af­ter the re­bates were an­nounced, it re­mains the prov­ince where the plan has the least sup­port, ris­ing from just 11 per cent to 29 per cent. In Al­berta, sup­port for the fed­eral car­bon tax ac­tu­ally de­clined since the sum­mer, pos­si­bly due to the con­tin­ued un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line. Both the fed­eral and Al­berta gov­ern­ments have ar­gued that strong cli­mate poli­cies will pro­vide “so­cial li­cense” for pipe­lines that will carry Al­ber­tan bi­tu­men to the West Coast. That logic has been fiercely crit­i­cized by con­ser­va­tive politi­cians both fed­er­ally and provin­cially in Al­berta.On the is­sue of cli­mate change, Cana­di­ans are in­creas­ingly less likely to trust their gov­ern­ments and the me­dia, choos­ing in­stead to put their faith in "univer­sity sci­en­tists.”Nearly eight in 10 Cana­di­ans trust sci­en­tists, while 56 per cent say they trust in­ter­na­tional bod­ies, like the United Na­tions’ In­ter­na­tional Panel on Cli­mate Change, which has re­cently of­fered dire warn­ings about cli­mate change. Forty-seven per cent of peo­ple trust the news me­dia on cli­mate change, while 45 per cent trust the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and 37 per cent trust their pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment.The on­line poll was self-com­mis­sioned by Angus Reid and was drawn from a sam­ple of 1,500 Cana­dian adults. It has a mar­gin of er­ror of 2.5 per­cent­age points, 19 times out of 20.

Justin Trudeau

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