The already high price of gas — nearly $1.50 yesterday — will rise 2.4 cents a litre tomorrow when North America’s first carbon tax comes into effect.
The controversial tax aims to shift consumer behaviour toward lifestyles and activities that don’t pollute.
And while environmental groups have called it a powerful economic incentive against climate change, B.C.’s New Democrats say it’s unfair to working families and have even launched a campaign to “axe the gas tax.”
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NDP Energy Critic John Horgan said the tax punishes ordinary families, particularly those in rural communities that lack public transportation.
Horgan said the NDP wants industrial polluters taxed instead.
Finance Minister Colin Hansen called the NDP’s anti-carbon tax campaign “disingenuous.”
“As a province we either have to come to terms that action is needed or we continue to leave this problem for our children and grandchildren,” said Hansen.
He said the carbon tax is something British Columbians should be proud of and will in fact return more money to average families in the form of tax cuts, credits and a $100-climate action dividend.
“There will be very, very few families in British Columbia that will be worse off, that will not have more money in their pockets.”
Williams Lake Mayor Scott Nelson said the tax would be especially hard on struggling lumber-dependant towns and predicted the new tax would be scuttled by a taxpayers revolt.