Imagine a world where the trees are vibrant, waterways are clean, and farmland is nutrient dense. A lot of people don’t realize the change that is occurring around them. Rainforests are being destroyed, species are becoming extinct, waterways are being polluted, and our once vibrant planet is starting to suffer from a lackluster appearance. There is no doubt in my mind that humans have something to do with this. The planet is not ours to destroy, it was given to us to use, to enjoy and to nourish. The main contributor to climate change (Or as I like to call it, the black sheep in the room) is fossil fuel emissions. We are aware of climate change, but what can we possibly do about it? Enter the carbon tax!
Justin Trudeau introduced the idea of a carbon tax which will affect all Canadians by 2018. This carbon tax is a fee charged for burning fuels and emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This tax increase will inflate the cost of gasoline at the pumps and inflate the cost of shipping goods and services. This means that groceries, clothing, and other products will also rise in price.
This is upsetting to a lot of Canadians. There is this underlying implication from the Liberal government that Canadians don’t care about the environment. This is not true at all. The issue is that Canadians have been getting gouged by taxes for years, and we’ve had enough.
Ontarians are already suffering with the highest electricity bills in the country, and this tax will only add yet another financial burden. It was noted by CBC that the Liberal administration think that the carbon tax will “only” cost an extra $5 per month to heat your home – and an extra 4 cents per litre for gasoline. Not only do many Canadians see this as a naïvely low estimate, but even if it’s accurate, that is an extra 60 dollars a year just to heat your home, not to mention those extra dollars at the pump add up quickly.
Of course, these numbers will vary in different parts of the country. In Northern areas, winters reach extremely low temperatures and heating costs make up a large portion of a family’s annual budget. There are people in Canada struggling to make ends meet even while working 40+ hours per week. This is the sad reality of this country, and no one seems to want to talk about it, but that is another topic for another day.
I believe, however, that there are solutions to the problem of climate change. Solutions that don’t involve penalizing hard-working Canadians.
What we need to stop doing is implementing more taxes.
What we need to start doing is incentivizing behavior that is good for our environment.
This includes switching to eco-friendly electric vehicles, switching to solar and wind-operated power, and energy-efficient light bulbs. These changes will not only decrease our dependence on fossil fuels and lower the amount of pollution we emit, they will also create a whole new platform for the development of new technology. People will actually have to think outside the box and use innovative thinking to encourage eco-friendly alternatives. Not to mention all of the jobs that it will create! The use of solar and wind power generation is on the rise, but there needs to be a bigger push by the federal government.
The Canadian people aren’t as stupid and naïve as the government thinks they are. I know a lot of people who are willing to learn about alternative ways to live a healthier lifestyle for themselves and for the planet. Instead of creating a new tax and causing economic suffering for Canadians, the Liberal administration could make moves to create awareness and educate the public on consumption levels.
In provinces like British Columbia, a carbon tax has been in existence since 2008. While it started out being “revenue neutral”, that all came to a halt in 2013. British Columbians are no longer receiving tax breaks which begs the big question, is this carbon tax working? And, if it isn’t, why are we considering it at a federal level?
California is doing something similar by fighting to keep their clean air act and regulations to try and decrease the use of fossil fuels. While this sounds nice and fluffy on the outside, another tax may be on its way for Californians! Don’t worry, the Republicans haven’t agreed on anything, but the option is still on the table.
Australia is a prime of example of how a carbon tax can fail miserably. Their carbon tax only lasted two years, and they happen to be a greater contributor to global warming than Canada is.
Lake Superior – Photo by me.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand that taxes are important. Not only for health care and improving roads, but also for giving back to the community. However adding another tax is not the solution to combating climate change in Canada. While it may bring awareness, it will also piss people off.
We have the tools, resources, and technology to make the changes we need to combat climate change and it will benefit Canadians, both today and for future generations.
The only way to make change happen in this world is if we stand forward and defend what is right. Canada and the United States have the eyes of the world upon them as shining examples of freedom, democracy, and modernity. If we want the rest of the planet to take combating climate change seriously, perhaps it is time to lead boldly by example.