Swan City residents aren’t happy about Alberta’s new carbon tax, which kicked in Jan. 1.
The province has imposed a carbon tax of $20 per tonne for 2017, increasing to $30 per tonne in 2018, in order to nudge individuals and businesses into reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Judging by a straw poll at the pump and at Tim Hortons, there aren’t many supporters in Grande Prairie.
“I think it’s out of place,” said Jeff Fisk at the northside Safeway gas station on Monday, after gas prices across the province had gone up 4.5 cents to climb to more than $1 per litre.
“I don’t think we should be going ahead with it at this point, with the economy in the state that it’s in,” Fisk said.
Moreover, given that Canada’s emissions only account for less than 2% of the global total, Joe Griffith said the carbon tax won’t make any difference.
“We’re getting taxed $30 a tonne on carbon while the rest of the world, China and the United States, aren’t paying anything. So what are we helping, really?”
The Alberta government expects the tax to raise $9.6 billion over five years, $6.2 billion of which will go towards “renewable energy, bioenergy and technology” and “green infrastructure,” such as public transit. It will also pay for Energy Efficiency Alberta, a new agency that will try to persuade people to install energy-efficiency products in their homes and businesses.
But down the street at Tim Hortons, Bob Sharpe was skeptical about the government’s promise to “diversify” the economy.
“How? With wind power? Wind power’s not reliable enough. Solar power? Solar power’s not reliable once you get winter here.
“You can’t keep taxing people.”
The government has said it’s using the carbon tax as a way of changing Albertans’ behaviour “by encouraging individuals and businesses to become more energy efficient.” Premier Rachel Notley drew fire last month after suggesting that some people might decide to walk or take a bus if gas becomes too expensive.
This rubbed Terry Vigen the wrong way.
“If you’re in the country and you gotta go to work and it’s 30 below? She’s out to lunch.”
Vigen noted Australia’s failed experiment with its own unpopular carbon tax, which it eventually repealed. The same thing might happen here, he suggested.
A couple of other people said they didn’t know much about the carbon tax, or that they were confused about how the rebate is supposed to work.
According to the province, 60% of households will get a full rebate, based on income, and it will be sent automatically to those who have filed a tax return.
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