You may have heard Carole James, the leader of the B.C. NDP, announcing that if she is elected, she will get rid of the “gas tax.” Why haven’t you heard of this tax before? Don’t worry, your memory isn’t failing: This particular “gas tax” doesn’t exist.
The B.C. NDP are using a cheap trick to attract voters. They have mislabelled B.C.’s carbon tax as a “gas tax,” perhaps to get us to associate it with the high prices at the pump in the past year, which were almost entirely due to completely different issues.
Putting a price on carbon is a smart way to reduce the pollution that is causing climate change, and British Columbia has been internationally praised for taking this action.
The carbon tax is designed to affect all fossil fuels, including natural gas and coal. The best part is it is “revenue neutral” — it taxes the pollution that we are worried about without increasing overall tax burden. We’re certainly no B.C. Liberal apologists, but we call it as we see it: The carbon tax is a bold, bright move.
So what are your options if you care about climate change, but don’t like the social programs of the B.C. Liberals? First, let the B.C. NDP know when you see them out campaigning. And maybe take a look at your Green party candidate and his or her party platform. We think you’ll be impressed.
Carbon tax facts
• Two-thirds of Canadians believe climate change is a “very serious” problem and a carbon tax is an important way to address this problem
• B.C.’s carbon tax is targeted at carbon dioxide pollution, not gasoline.
• The carbon tax is revenue neutral — which means taxpayers get back this money in tax cuts and credits (remember the $100 cheque you received in the mail last year?)
– Kai Chan is an assistant professor and Canada Research Chair at the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability (IRES) at UBC; firstname.lastname@example.org. Conor Reynolds is a PhD?candidate in IRES, doing research on energy and transportation emissions.