Why Canadians Should be Hoping the Supreme Court axes the Carbon Tax
Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling will effect Canadians for years to come
With the Supreme Court of Canada set to issue a decision on the fate of the carbon tax on Thursday of this week, it has never been more important to discuss why Canadians should be hoping for the Supreme Court to axe the pillar of Justin Trudeau’s climate change plan for good.
In 2019, the Liberals began to implement an ambitious climate change plan. The centerpiece of this plan, the carbon tax, was to be implemented by provincial governments through a price on carbon or through the cap-and-trade system.
The kicker, however, was that the Liberals planned to use what they believe are constitutionally given powers to impose it on the provinces whether they liked it or not.
The result of this was lawsuits by three provinces (Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan) aiming to challenge the constitutionality of the legislation being imposed on the provinces by the feds. In Ontario and Saskatchewan, provincial appeal court judges ruled that it was constitutional, while in Alberta the opposite. All three suits have been combined to be addressed in this weeks Supreme Court ruling.
There are three reasons why Canadians should be hoping for the Supreme Court to strike down the federally imposed carbon tax for good. The first, is that it simply does not help fight climate change. The idea behind putting a price on the cost of pollution is that if you increase the price of goods and services that have a high carbon content the demand for those products and services will decrease.
It is also supposed to increase the incentive for companies to manufacture products that have less carbon content. The current problem with this theory, is that equipment to create more “green” friendly products is still extremely expensive, therefore many companies will find it less expensive to just pay the tax over time instead of ponying up a large sum of money for new equipment.
In terms of the idea that making products like oil more expensive will decrease demand, there is much evidence to show that it is simply just wishful thinking. According to the U.S Energy Information Administration estimates it would take a 25 to 50 percent per gallon price increase of gasoline to curb road traffic by just one percent. With Canada only being responsible for 1.7% of the world’s emissions, this will do little to fight climate change.
Next is the impact this tax will have on the most vulnerable people in society. Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government are always touting their dedication to helping people of marginalized communities, yet the carbon tax will only continue the onslaught of new costs that lower income Canadians have taken on in the last year.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, the gap between the rich and the poor was rising in all western countries. Now, with many people being out of work for a year, the Liberals want to continue to increase the price on carbon making everyday purchases such as food and gas become even more expensive.
Many places, such as California, have already pledged to stop the sale of gas-powered cars by 2030. I imagine it will not be long before parts of Canada adopt a similar policy. Gone will be the days where you can buy an old beater for a few grand, many people in society will be priced out of simple things like owning a vehicle.
It is easy for the wealthy of our society, the government employees and academics who are constantly pushing for more taxes to combat climate change to say that it is a good idea, but for the majority of Canadians coming out of the worst economic year of their lives, it is not. Overall, the tax is unproductive.
Many studies have shown that one of the best ways to fight climate change is to increase the wealth of a country. Once people are financially secure, they start to care about the environment. How are you supposed to convince someone who can barely make ends meet to lower their quality of life even more?
In the United States, former President Donald Trump received enormous flack for withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord. However, it was Trump’s policies around green energy innovation that ensured the U.S was one of the only G7 countries who hit the Paris targets. Canada on the other hand, saw a rise of emissions and is currently projected to be 15% over their Paris targets for 2030.
It would be much more productive for the Liberals to cut industry regulation to spur green innovation, putting more money into the pockets of the people and try to build back the thousands of jobs that are now gone due to Canada’s strict lockdown approach to fighting Covid-19.
Finally, if the carbon tax stays, it will be a big win for Trudeau’s big government Liberals, and a loss for the people of Canada. Throughout the last year, the size and power of the federal government in Canada has expanded enormously. On top of that, the government has mortgaged the future of Canadians to pay for their extreme lockdown policy, that now has Canada with the worst unemployment in the G7 and according to former PM Stephen Harper, on our way to a debt crisis.
Canadians would be foolish to think that new taxes will be brought in to pay for this reckless spending. In the 2019 election, Trudeau also claimed that the carbon tax would not increase again for a number of years — he then reversed that a year after he won, right in the middle of a pandemic.
Canadians should hope that Justin Trudeau, the prime minister best known for his scandals cannot continue to dampen the prosperity of Canada through anti job and anti business policies. And for the sake of democracy and representation, we must allow provinces to have a say in decisions that significantly affect the economies and livelihoods of millions of people. If Trudeau and the Liberals are victorious, it will give his government and future federal administrations more ambitions to continue to increase the reach of the federal government.
The Liberals are already looking to federalize operations of nursing homes and aspects of the prescription drug system, and the last thing we need to do is give Trudeau’s government more power and momentum ahead of what could be a spring election.