May 26th, 2017

How will carbon tax play out?

By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on January 4, 2017.

Alberta’s carbon tax is now a reality, with the levy being implemented as of Jan. 1. The effects of the tax showed up immediately with prices at the pumps taking a sizable jump. The amount of the carbon levy added to gasoline was 4.5 cents per litre, but locally that hike followed a six-cent increase at some gas stations just before the new year, meaning the price at some pumps in Lethbridge is 10.5 cents per litre higher than it was last week, suggesting there are other factors involved than just the carbon tax.

It remains to be seen how that will affect the cost of other goods and services as the trickle-down effect takes place. The predictions in that regard are wide-ranging. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation estimated a carbon tax would mean an annual hit of $2,500 to the average household’s wallet. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has said the additional costs would be $1,250 per year. A Maclean’s magazine article in October noted Alberta government estimates were suggesting indirect costs of $100 to $200 per year for the average household. The Trudeau government, which had been pressuring provinces to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions or the feds would do it for them, hasn’t offered much in the way of projected costs to Canadian households.

The Notley government’s carbon tax was introduced with good intent as part of the government’s Climate Leadership Plan and to ensure Alberta would not have to settle for an emissions solution imposed by Ottawa.

In November, when a series of rallies took place in a number of communities across the province to oppose the carbon tax, Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said the opposition was fuelling Albertans’ concerns with “a lot of mistruth.”

Phillips said the costs to Albertans and to the economy were being exaggerated and pointed out that two-thirds of Albertans will receive rebates that will be paid out from the carbon levy. The rest of the carbon tax money will go toward investments in energy efficiency for homeowners and small business owners, and to investments in innovation and technology, “keeping those good jobs right here in Alberta, and cleaning up our air and getting rid of dirty coal plants. That’s what we are re-investing that price on pollution in.”

B.C. has had a carbon tax since 2008, and while some commentators say its effect has been negligible, an article in the Globe and Mail in July 2014 said according to figures from Statistics Canada, “B.C.’s policy has been a real environmental and economic success after six years. Far from a being a ‘job killer,’ it is a world-leading example of how to tackle one of the greatest global challenges of our time: building an economy that will prosper in a carbon-constrained world.”

Certainly we in Alberta can expect to see the carbon tax push up the prices of goods and services, since higher transportation costs will have an impact on businesses. But the October Maclean’s article said according to a study by University of Ottawa economist Nic Rivers, the effect on consumers is “fairly small – only a few per cent for most non-energy items.”

Albertans will be hoping that analysis is correct. Suffice to say that with Alberta’s carbon tax now in place, we will start to see how it all shakes out – and just what impact it has on Albertans, and on the province.

Comment on this editorial online at http://www.lethbridgeherald.


4 Responses to “How will carbon tax play out?”

  1. johnny57 says:

    How will carbon tax play out?…For those of us that track our exspences like a blood hound following a scent in the grass, i think we know how its going to play-out. Pay pay pay. Even after her so called rebates are paid out most will have less disposable income at the end of the day. The Nutley socialists are way off base on this one, especialy when we are contributing such a small amount of their so-called green house gases. And to rub salt in the wound she did not even have this tax on her campaign plate before our election.

  2. alberta1 says:

    Albertans did not give the NDP socialists the mandate to institute a carbon tax. This tax is a theft from Albertans , it is not democratic, and it goes against most Albertans wishes. We are all going to pay through the nose for this mess. More government workers to process the rebates, more taxes to pay for them. Less workers in the private sector due to NDP ideology. If you do not agree with their view they want you thrown out of government. Does not sound like the beautiful prosperous free province of yore. This NDP disaster is beyond disgusting! Looking forward to seeing the whole lot of them thrown out on their ears come next election.

  3. manby says:

    Seems to me that the conservatives robbed us for years, both provincially and federally! Not saying it is better now just saying I am glad we got rid of the liars. I am hoping that electoral reform will make the balance of power more equal, and therefore more co operative…maybe I am just a dreamer.

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