Canadian News

Trudeau government's carbon tax meant to punish Canadians into using less heat and fuel

The Canadian government put the federal carbon tax in place as a "powerful incentive" for homeowners to use less heat during winter months.

Sam Edwards High Level, Alberta
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According to a 2018 Access to Information memo from the Department of Natural Resources, the Canadian government put the federal carbon tax in place as a "powerful incentive" for homeowners to use less heat during winter months, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.

The "incentive" has been called impractical by tax critics.

"Canadians should not be punished every time they drive their kids to school or turn up the thermostat on a cold winter day," Conservative MP Dean Allison said. "In my riding of Niagara West public transportation is almost non-existent."

Winter heating was one of the reasons officials gave for increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

"A price on carbon pollution gives households and businesses a powerful incentive to save money by making choices like turning down the thermostat and taking transit," noted the memo—Carbon Pricing Impacts. "Pricing pollution works. It is the most effective, least expensive way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve our climate goals."

It was confirmed by the Department of Environment that in 2018—the first full year that Canada had a carbon tax—greenhouse gas emissions increased. The department blamed the findings on "colder winter weather" in a National Inventory Report 1990-2018.

Emissions still increased though the remaining coal-burning power plants in Ontario and Manitoba were shuttered and billions were spent by the Department of Environment.

"Between 2014 and 2019 the Government of Canada invested $60 billion to drive down greenhouse gas emissions, generate clean technologies, help Canadians and communities adapt to a changing climate, and protect the environment," the National Inventory Report said.

Under the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act the price of diesel is set to raise by 14¢, aviation fuel 13¢, gasoline 12¢, natural gas 10¢ (cubic metre), and fuel tax 8¢.

Research found that vehicle emission went up "largely due to more driving"—confirming earlier studies that claimed a large number of Canadians could not shorten commutes despite the fuel tax.

"Few recognized how charging businesses or consumers a tax would result in effective change," noted a report called Public Opinion Research On Energy Issues from 2015.

"A few did recognize the cost implications of global warming and did think that taxing greenhouse gas emissions could be a way to spur behavioural change and the development of cleaner technology, but these participants were outnumbered by those who expressed cynicism about how the money from a greenhouse gas emissions tax would be spent by the government collecting it," wrote researchers from the Department of Natural Resources.

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