Some refreshing common sense from Tom Brodbeck at the Winnipeg Sun. Personally, the last thing I want is to pay another tax that will simply disappear into the government coffers with no quantifiable results. What do you think? Editor
Talk of levying a “carbon tax” at the gas pumps is heating up in some provinces, including in British Columbia, where the Liberal government there is considering saddling motorists with a new tax as early as this year.
So far there’s been no talk of it in Manitoba — at least not publicly — which is a good thing, because like every other province we already have carbon taxes, lots of them.
Climate change alarmists have for years been urging governments to jack up taxes at the pumps, arguing the move would discourage people from driving and would reduce emissions.
Their theories have been largely discredited. Evidence in Canada has shown little relationship between higher gas taxes and pump prices and reduced driving habits.
For example, the federal government raised its gas taxes from 1.5 cents a litre in 1985 to 10 cents a litre in 1995 and began applying the GST on gas in the early 1990s. During that time, vehicle emissions went up, there were more cars on the road and there was a shift from cars to the more polluting SUVs.
More recently, market-driven prices at the pumps have risen sharply over the past year and there’s no evidence it’s having any measurable impact on our collective driving habits.
Which means applying a new carbon tax at the pumps — either directly or through the manufacturer — of say five or 10 cents a litre would do little, if anything, to reduce emissions.
Despite that, Canada’s National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy has recommended putting a price on carbon as a way of reducing consumption.
The federal government has rejected that recommendation. But some provinces are already looking at bringing in their own carbon tax.
The B.C. government is considering such a tax. They say if they do bring one in this year it would be “revenue neutral.” They’re pledging to use all the money from the tax for emissions reductions programs to ensure it’s not just a “tax grab.” Right.
Proponents of a carbon tax also say low-income and middle-income earners wouldn’t be affected because they could get some type of tax credit in return.Sure, let’s start another hare-brained, bureaucratic-heavy tax credit program — on top of the many we already have — to offset a new tax that would have no effect on emissions.
Besides, we already pay several carbon taxes at the pump.
We pay a carbon tax to our respective provincial governments, which range from nine cents a litre in Alberta to 16.5 cents in Newfoundland and Labrador.
In Manitoba, it’s 11.5 cents a litre.
We pay Ottawa a 10-cent-a-litre carbon tax.
And we pay a carbon tax through the GST, which is applied on top of the other carbon taxes — a tax on tax.
So what would another five or 10-cent carbon tax achieve on top of the existing ones, except to fatten the already bulging treasuries of our governments?
Nothing. It would not discourage people from driving, it would not lower emissions and it would hit low-income families the hardest.
It would be a good-old-fashioned tax grab, period.
Nothing more, nothing less.