Carbon tax to make everything cost more: taxpayer federation

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May 18, 2017 - 12:14pm
Todd MacKay is the prairie director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Lauren Golosky/980 CJME
Todd MacKay is the prairie director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Just as the federal government laid out how it’d impose a carbon tax on the provinces, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) sounded the alarm on the impact of a carbon tax.

“A lot of people think the carbon tax is just about getting people out of their SUV’s and riding their bikes to their job downtown, but for a lot of people that’s not the reality,” said CTF prairie director Todd MacKay after an event in Regina for Gas Tax Honesty Day.

MacKay brought out two pieces of a machinery that rely heavily on fuel – a semi and a loader – to further that point, adding, “There’s no Prius version of those things, there’s no hybrid, no electric vehicles for that.”

He said all a carbon tax will do is make everything – from construction projects to groceries on store shelves – more expensive for everybody.

“From a taxpayer point of view, if it becomes more expensive for those folks to run a loader or a semi, it’s going to be more expensive for the government to build an overpass. Ultimately, those expenses come back to taxpayers,” MacKay said.

“You’re going to see those costs ripple through the economy because in Saskatchewan if you want bananas, there’s nowhere to get them other than truck them in here.”

MacKay said the government should focus on innovation instead.

“A carbon tax won’t make (companies) more efficient – they’re already doing their best – it’ll just cost them money, it’ll make them uncompetitive, it’ll just punish them,” he said.

“If you want to help the environment, you’ve got to ask for a better policy than a carbon tax because it doesn’t help the environment, even though it costs everyone more money.”

According to MacKay, the proposed carbon tax of $10 per tonne would cost an extra $0.03 per litre at the pump. However, he said that number would be ineffective at hitting climate targets. He pointed to another number experts said would work: $300 per tonne, which would cost consumers an extra $0.90 per litre.