Thursday, July 25, 2024

More Thoughts on Carbon Taxes & Levies

Dear Editor,

May I correct the mistake in Mr. Furgiuele’s letter from June 27, please? Conservative MPs get the same thing wrong, so I think it’s essential we correct the record.

The Federal Carbon Tax in Canada is in fact a carbon levy. This forbids the Federal Government from adding Carbon Taxes collected to general tax revenue. It forbids the Federal Government from spending that money on any other Government programs. Period. The law requires the Federal Government to return Carbon Tax dollars collected to the people who paid into those receipts. 90% of the Carbon Tax collected goes back to individuals. 10% goes towards grants so schools, hospitals, farmers, and other businesses can reduce the amount of fossil fuels they burn. 100% of the money collected is returned.

It took me less than 30 seconds to verify this information on the Government of Canada website using Google. Conservative MPs have assistants we pay for who could help them do this too.

Carbon polluters are forced to pay a higher price to pollute. But returning the money directly to Canadians ensures the economy and Canadians don’t suffer damages. That money comes back to us, and right back into the economy. Dollar for dollar. Simply the best, most efficient, and smartest thing Canada does to fight Climate Change.

We just deposited our $210.00 quarterly Carbon Levy Rebate cheque in the bank. We (and 80% of Canadians) would have less money to spend if the Poilievre Conservatives ended the Carbon Tax in Canada. “Axe the Tax” is just a simpler, shorter way to say “We have chosen to not acknowledge reality”. MP Alex Ruff should know better. They all should.

Levies are more commonly used at the Municipal level. If Meaford Council passed a 0.5% levy above and beyond regular Meaford taxes with a requirement to spend every dollar on replacement bridges? Every dollar, not some of the dollars? That’s a Levy. Not a Tax. A targeted Government initiative. Like the Federal Carbon Tax is in Canada, only at the Federal level.

If Mr. Furgiuele was writing to you from BC his confusion might be understandable. The BC Government introduced their own Provincial Carbon Tax prior to the introduction of the Federal one. BC’s is a conventional tax. Not a levy. Their revenue goes into general Provincial revenue accounts, but the Province of BC claims they direct that money to initiatives that will alleviate Climate Change. BC residents argue about whether they’re really doing that every day. But as Mr. Furgiuele is writing to you from Bognor, not BC, I’m afraid he’s just wrong about the Federal Carbon Tax.

Governments make deliberate choices to invest, or to not invest, their various other taxes collected (such as GST revenues – the Federal portion of HST revenues here) in the kind of initiatives that Mr. Furgiuele advocates. They should do it. They would certainly help alleviate Climate Change. They can’t use Carbon Tax money to do so though. That would be illegal.

We get charged GST on practically everything. Suggesting the levy applied to the carbon in products isn’t somehow part of “everything” is just silly political talk. I should pay GST on my cell phone bill and laundry detergent, but MP Ruff would prefer to not pay GST on the levy portion of pollution producing products prices? The carbon levy is just one more thing built into the price of those products now. Like labour. Or shipping. No one, not even a Conservative MP, gets to tell the sales clerk what “portion” of any product’s total price they’d like to pay the GST on when they purchase something.

Rather than fall for MP Ruff and the Conservatives’ sad joke – cutting the GST on the tax they’d foolishly like to eliminate – the Federal Government should definitely dedicate all of the GST collected on carbon pollution product sales to building a high-speed train link here or there. Not eliminate more money they should be doing it with. The GST is not a levy. It’s not a Carbon Tax. The Government is free to spend GST money wherever they think is best. (I support the high-speed rail idea too. It’s time.)

The Feds can’t do that with Carbon Tax money though. And they absolutely should not want to do it with Carbon Tax money.

P.S. Anyone else worried about all these Extreme Storm Warnings in Meaford? All the Tornado Warnings and Tornado Watches? Already? See they had a tornado last time at Base Borden? And it’s still only June!?! Man, it has been scary weather here some days! Wouldn’t it be the worst idea EVER to promise to “Axe the Tax” and put more Canadian lives at risk – just to get yourselves elected?

Bruce Mason, Meaford

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