Trudeau’s carbon tax takes aim at Alberta, Saskatchewan

In a few short months, Canadians will begin paying a highly contentious carbon tax that is being sold as a price on pollution with the promise of rebates.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled the details of the carbon tax and rebates at Toronto’s Humber College last week.

trudeau humber
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to students at Toronto’s Humber College.

“Starting next year, it will no longer be free to pollute anywhere in Canada.” Trudeau told the students he is not willing to pass the burden of climate change on to the nation’s children and grandchildren.

The announcement, of course, comes as no surprise. The PM told provinces two years ago that the federal government would be levying the tax nationally and called on them to devise their own climate change plans.

In the ensuing two years, however, opposition to the carbon tax has been growing, with a number of provinces challenging the constitutionality of the tax in court. The court challenge reflects the voters’ disenchantment with Ottawa’s policies.

In fact, the Trudeau government’s climate change policies are rich in irony.

For one thing, Canada is not a major emitter of CO2. Its share of global emissions is a trifling 1.5 per cent. Even the prime minister himself recognizes that fact. As he told Tour Le Monde Parle, “Even if Canada stopped everything tomorrow, and the other countries didn’t have any solutions, it wouldn’t make a big difference.”

Exactly. Opponents of the carbon tax have pointed this out for years. A carbon tax in Canada makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for the simple reason that the costs will be incredibly high with no benefit to the goal lowering global emissions. Canada could disappear tomorrow and it would not make one bit of difference to global emissions.

There is, however, a more sinister aspect of the carbon tax that is going unrecognized in the mainstream media. The tax will disproportionately hit Alberta and Saskatchewan for the simple reason that the majority of CO2 emissions come from these two provinces, primarily Alberta.

ghg emissions map
Map shows locations of facilities reporting GHG emissions.

In other words, the real goal of the carbon tax is to gut the country’s energy industry.

Proponents of the tax, of course, will argue that isn’t unfair and is merely the consequence of pricing pollution.

Two examples of how this so-called pricing of pollution is being unfairly applied will show that is a disingenuous argument.

Take Energy East. The proposal to build a pipeline to carry Alberta crude oil east should have been a no-brainer. It would have allowed Canada to supplant foreign oil in favor of domestic oil. Ottawa opposed it because it now requires consideration of downstream CO2 emissions in project applications. So while the pipeline in and of itself would emit negligible amounts of CO2, the end product would be refined and burnt and, hence, produce CO2.

That consideration of downstream emissions, however, is not being made in other industries. The automotive sector, after all, produces products – cars and trucks – that will produce copious amounts of CO2 when they are eventually driven, yet Ottawa will do just about anything to keep the automotive manufacturers happy up to and including writing off billions of dollars in loans to Chrysler.

GHG by sector
GHG emissions by sectors.

Or what about Quebec’s new government supported cement plant which is not only receiving taxpayer dollars but will be exempt from the carbon tax? Cement production is one of the largest contributors to CO2 emissions, yet it is given a pass.

Why is that? Politics. The Trudeau government needs votes in Ontario and Quebec and it’s not about to destroy industries that produce jobs even if they produce CO2 emissions as well. The Liberals, on the other hand, do not need Alberta and Saskatchewan to win elections, so the jobs there can be sacrificed without a tear being shed.

Little wonder that anger and alienation are growing in the West. The carbon tax is just another reminder that the Laurentian elite which govern Canada cares nothing for Canadians outside of Central Canada.




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