New, Watered-Down Carbon Tax Changes Nothing

August 9, 2018 - 8:46am

A Made-in-Ottawa Carbon Tax will impact Saskatchewan’s economy to the tune of $1.8 billion each and every year while only marginally reducing carbon emissions.

After two years of telling us that a carbon tax would not affect Canada’s competitiveness and hurt our economy, the federal government has finally admitted that it will.

The Trudeau government recently announced that they will now reduce the amount of tax companies are required to pay on their greenhouse gas emissions.

The previous Made-in-Ottawa Carbon Tax scheme does nothing for the environment, reduces jobs and takes money from families. The new, watered-down Made-in-Ottawa Carbon Tax scheme is the same. It’s still a carbon tax that will affect jobs, businesses, and families across Canada.

In March of 2016, the Prime Minister said he would be willing to work on climate change with Canada’s premiers “in the spirit of co-operation and collaboration”. A few months later, his government announced that they would be imposing a carbon tax on every province in Canada.

Let’s recap.

Today, two or perhaps three provinces are actually in compliance with the federal carbon-pricing plan; Ontario has now joined Saskatchewan in challenging the Trudeau carbon tax plan in court; and a number of the remaining provinces and territories will not be in compliance.

It is our intent to fight this tax with every means at our disposal.

We accept that climate change is happening, and humans are contributing to the warming of our planet. We’re fighting the carbon tax because a carbon tax just doesn’t work. No jurisdiction in the world has imposed a carbon tax and seen a reduction in greenhouse gases because of that tax.

Our carbon tax challenge took a step forward recently with the filing of our constitutional argument. It is our position that under the Canadian constitution, provinces are sovereign in their assigned areas of jurisdiction. Therefore, the federal carbon tax is constitutionally illegitimate because it applies only in those provinces that have not exercised their own jurisdiction in a way that the federal government thinks they should.

It is our position that the federal government has no constitutional authority to second guess provincial decisions with respect to matters within provincial jurisdiction, yet that is exactly what the federal government is attempting to do by imposing a carbon tax only in certain provinces, like Saskatchewan, based on their evaluation of provincial climate change and carbon pricing policies.

We have always said that the provinces should decide for themselves what works best when it comes to addressing climate change.

The federal government would be well advised to take a step back, reassess, and reconsider its one-size-fits-all, Made-in-Ottawa carbon tax. It’s time to give the provinces the freedom to develop climate change policies that actually work, without a federal carbon tax.

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