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Carbon tax for Canadians flies in face of country's continuing tax-free coal and LNG exports

Twenty-three per cent increase that kicked in April 1 making it more expensive to live in Canada
The carbon tax increase that kicked in April 1st will impact food affordability across Canada and make it more expensive to heat buildings.

As the calendar turned over to April 1, carbon tax increases were put in effect across the country, by provincial governments with their own carbon tax schemes in place, and by the federal government, which applies their carbon tax to jurisdictions without one.

In our post-COVID economy, just existing has become more and more expensive. 

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades and housing prices have skyrocketed to a point where the majority of millennials and Gen Zs are unlikely to ever be able to purchase a home.

Taxes, which feed ever-growing bureaucracies at every level, continue to climb. Those who purchased a home, or renewed their mortgage in 2019 and 2020 are on the precipice of some very difficult decisions as that the end of those five-year terms comes to an end, with borrowing rates at generational highs.

 Now we get double-digit increases in our carbon taxes, which undoubtedly has an impact on everything that gets transported to us, the end users. Where the pain is most felt by those of us in and around Prince George is the carbon tax applied to home heating bills.

We can choose not to drive as much, or take transit. We don’t have the luxury of not heating our homes when nighttime lows fall well below -30, often for weeks on end. 

Canada makes up roughly 1.5 per cent of global greenhouse emissions, while our 40 million residents represent about 0.5 per cent of the global population. Even if we were somehow able to halve our emissions, that would only represent a 0.75 per cent decrease worldwide. 

But that isn’t happening, in fact, we’re not even close.

According to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, we’ve been in and around the 700 megatonne level of CO2 equivalent in emissions per year, with the only two noticeable significant reductions occurring during the 2008/2009 economic crisis, when the price of oil plummeted and domestic production was cut back, and in 2020, during the pandemic. 

The cruel ironies that pass through Prince George and across Western Canada are the train cars full of coal, and pipelines full of natural gas, both being exported to jurisdictions to use how they see fit. How many of those countries have no carbon pricing? How does that logic pair with attempting to curtail emissions in Canada by taxing businesses and residents? 

 If climate change and the reduction of emissions is really at the heart of these programs, why would the federal government allow them to be extracted and shipped across the country, and after that, across an ocean to fuel other countries’ homes and industries?  Doesn’t that practice run in direct conflict with the goals stated by the federal government’s carbon pricing plan? 

The majority of Canadians believe that climate change is real. Where we begin to diverge is taking the approach that taxing everyone on everything is going to do anything to solve it. 

Curtis Armstrong is the publisher of the Prince George Citizen.