Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Canada Already Has A 1¢ Carbon Tax

Last year this Conservative government collected $424,418,000 in taxes to pay for carbon emissions.

That same year Canadians used 38,208,346,000 litres of gasoline.

Doing the quick math, Canadians paid 1.1¢ or $0.011 for every litre of gas they consumed in 2011.

Now Canadians weren't taxed at the pump, though it would have been far more efficient, our government instead taxed things like income to cover the cost of carbon emissions; this did nothing to reduce pollution but did everything to reduce the incentive for Canadians to work more and improve our economy.

According to the Treasury Board Secretariat's Main Estimates for 2010-2011, this government spent over 424 million dollars on programs that are a result of carbon emissions and similar pollutants. The figure breaks down into separate costs for individual programs: $240,145,000 on Climate Change and Clean Air, $41,129,000  on Compliance Promotion and Enforcement – Pollution$22,527,000  on Clean Air from Transportation; and $120,617,000 on Substances and Waste Management.

Of course some of these programs don't exclusively focus on emissions, but the 424 million dollar figure also doesn't include the additional cost of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, tax rebates for clean energy generation equipment, nor the Environment Ministry's cost of administrating these services, which would be a sizeable portion of the department's 209 million budget for "Internal Services".

The amount of carbon tax the Canadian government collects would also dramatically increase if indirect programs are included such as the 274 million dollars it invested into research for Clean Energy and the Environment not to mention the indirect health care costs associated with increased lung damage because of carbon emissions.

Considering our government is taxing Canadian workers' incomes instead of gas to pay for carbon emissions, it's clear we already have a carbon tax, the only debate left is whether Canadian workers should have to pay for someone else's carbon emissions.

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