Touted by economists as a wondrous market mechanism that will deliver Canada from the evils of climate change, carbon pricing is emerging out of the political swamps as a regulatory nightmare. It is also shaping up as the Great Canadian Carbon Tax Grab.
In advance of a first ministers’ meeting next week with Prime Minister Trudeau in Vancouver to begin setting national carbon objectives, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that – just as consumers are beginning to benefit from lower oil prices – her province’s cap-and-trade version of a carbon tax will add 4.3 cents to the price of a litre of gasoline. Natural gas prices will also go up $60 a year per household.
More fiscal details are to come in a budget Thursday, but a Globe and Mail report says the government will ultimately collect $1.3 billion a year in fresh revenue from its cap-and-trade taxes on gasoline and natural gas. The money will slosh around a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account to be distributed by a greenhouse central planning authority to fund industrial and other initiatives deemed essential to give Ontario a new, green low-carbon economic nirvana.
On Wednesday, the province also introduced its cap-and-trade legislation, grandly titled the Climate Change Mitigation and Low Carbon Economy Act. Ontarians should get ready to pay.
The province already has a low-carbon electricity regime, imposed at a high cost of $9.2 billion in long-term indirect taxes on electricity consumers, to fund wind and solar. Electricity prices are soaring. The province also clearly intends to do the same to fossil fuel consumers, only more so.
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