We are now entering the second year of living under Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax regime in Canada. The beginning of a new year is a good time for us to step back and reflect on how federal policies are affecting the lives of everyday Canadians. At the same time, we are only a few months away from an annual carbon tax hike coming in April.
While firmly believing that this tax is generally harmful and ineffective, I want to focus on a telling feature of the Liberals’ so-called plan for reducing Canada’s carbon emissions. When the Liberal government first introduced their carbon tax in the last parliament, they reassured Canadians that it would be revenue neutral. Related to this claim, they announced that Canadians would receive a rebate in proportion to the amount collected from each province. According to them, it should acknowledge and adequately offset the costs of the tax on consumers.
Right before the end of 2019, we learned that the government is walking back their previous projections for the rebate a family of four could receive. Coincidentally (or not), the rebate happens to be going down for all the provinces that have not gone along with putting their own carbon tax into place. My home province of Saskatchewan is getting the biggest decrease in rebate money.
While the cost-increasing effects of the carbon tax can hurt many vulnerable members of our society, it is particularly making life harder for families and seniors. I have seen and heard about the damage it is causing my constituents and others living in rural Canada. I come from a riding and a region of the country where, along with making everything more expensive, the carbon tax is delaying economic recovery and draining away our agricultural and resource-based economy.
Of course, this is just another insult added to injury. The Liberals have also said that most households would receive more money back than they are paying under the tax, despite some indications to the contrary. After regularly spending extra for home heating or driving long distances in a part of the country where both are necessary, the full compensation through a rebate is questionable at best. On top of that, there have also been farmers calling attention to paying hundreds of dollars in additional tax for drying their grain after a difficult harvest year, which must be done if they want to make a living. Is there real compensation for them?
Considering all this, it gives us a perfect picture of how Canadians can expect the carbon tax to work in actual practice. As the tax rate and costs are on the rise, there is less support for taxpayers and struggling families. So far, the carbon tax rebate is turning out to be another letdown.
As tax season approaches after the first year of living under this policy, we are left to wonder if this discouraging trend will continue.
Jeremy Patzer, Member of Parliament for Cypress Hills—Grasslands