Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax is an attack on our resource and agriculture-based economy

May 24, 2017
On Thursday, the Trudeau Liberal government released a discussion paper on their upcoming carbon tax. Sadly, it proves what Conservatives and our provincial government have been saying all along: Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax is an attack on our resource and agriculture-based economy, and to all of rural Canada.
And they’re not even trying to hide it. During a briefing on the carbon tax in Ottawa following the paper’s release, officials from Environment Canada said: “This is a behaviour-changing measure.”

The absurdity of this is beyond all comparison. Rural Saskatchewanians have no other choice but to drive from place to place because we do not live in cities where there are other options available to us. We farm with tractors and heavy machinery and we mine and forest with diesel-powered equipment. In the words of CTF Prairie Director Todd MacKay, farmers worry about climate change, but you can’t pull an air seeder with a Prius.
Yet Ralph Goodale and his Liberal friends in Ottawa don’t care. They have made it abundantly clear that rural Canadians and how we earn our livelihoods don’t matter to them, and they are going to tax us because of it.

The carbon tax that Justin Trudeau and Ralph Goodale will be forcing on Saskatchewan is a price on carbon pollution of $10 a tonne in 2018, rising to $50 a tonne by 2022. If the province doesn’t have a plan in place to collect a carbon tax by 2018, the federal government will impose one on Saskatchewanians. What does that mean for you? This tax is the equivalent of adding 11.5 cents to a litre of gas, which could add over $2,500 in new taxes each year to the average family’s tax bill.
For families of privilege like Justin Trudeau’s, $2,500 may not mean a lot. But families in Saskatchewan certainly do not have an extra $2,500 to spare to give to government, especially if we’re going to be paying more for everything from groceries to two-by-fours at the lumber yard, because of increased shipping costs.
I am proud that our Premier and the Conservative Opposition are together standing up to Liberal bullying on this issue. In his response to the Liberal announcement this week, Premier Wall called the carbon tax discussion paper a “ransom note”; and he is absolutely correct. What Ralph Goodale and his colleagues are saying to Saskatchewan in this discussion paper is either place a carbon tax on yourself, or we’ll do it for you.

Ralph Goodale has tried to justify this tax grab to Saskatchewanians by saying that “every single penny” collected from the tax would stay “under Saskatchewan’s control”. That is patently false. The federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said herself this week that the Liberals are considering ways to keep the program revenue neutral that do not involve Premier Wall’s government. Who’s to say that we’ll actually get it back in the first place if Ralph Goodale and Catherine McKenna can’t even get their stories straight?

There are better ways to protect our environment and combat climate change than by taxing hard working rural Canadians. Our Conservative Party is not against the Liberal government’s targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed the Liberals actually kept our previous government’s targets because they recognized that they are realistically achievable (while the NDP actually think that the Liberals have not gone far enough).
 
Where we differ is in how to get there. And the bottom line is that our Conservative Opposition knows that it can be done without increasing your taxes.
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