A local MP is decrying the federal Liberal Party’s carbon tax
plan that he calls a “nightmare” waiting to happen.
Chuck Strahl, the Conservative member for Chilliwack-Fraser
Canyon, a riding that includes Pemberton, told reporters on a June 20
conference call that the Liberal Party’s proposed “Green Shift” is “bad public
policy” that could see heavy impacts on rural and First Nations communities.
The federal Liberals announced their “Green Shift” last week, a
multi-fold plan that aims to fight climate change as well as reduce poverty,
according to a handbook released with the plan. It includes a federal tax on
fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas that will start at $10 per tonne of
carbon dioxide, a rate that would peak at $40 per tonne in four years.
The “Green Shift” would also place a tax of 7 cents per litre
on diesel in the fourth year of its existence, as well as an extra 12 cents per
litre on heavy fuel oil. There would be no additional tax on diesel in the
first year of its implementation. The proposed tax would not be added to the
price of gasoline.
The Liberals say their plan will be “revenue neutral,”
generating about $15.5 billion in additional revenue by the fourth year, but it
would be paired with $15.5 billion in tax cuts.
The plan will not be implemented unless the Liberals form a
government, but it nevertheless has Strahl, also the minister of Indian and
Northern Affairs, balking at the proposed taxes.
“The only shift you’ll get is from your wallet into the oil
companies’ hands,” he said.
It is not yet clear whether the taxes would be in addition to
British Columbia’s carbon tax, which takes effect July 1. However Joyce Murray,
a Liberal MP, said British Columbians will not be penalized for being “out
ahead on this issue,” though she did not rule out that the taxes could come on
top of existing ones.
“How this will be structured, it will be a matter of
negotiation,” she said. “We will not handicap British Columbians for being out
Strahl’s biggest problem with the “Green Shift” is the impact
it could have on First Nations communities.
“Any remote community in Canada uses heating oil for heat, and
diesel generation to produce electricity, the two things that they’re going to
tax the most,” he said.