The Yukon government isn’t conducting its own carbon tax impact analysis, despite persistent calls from the official Opposition to do so.
The Climate Change Secretariat – a Yukon government entity – is instead participating in a federal study to assess the impacts of carbon pricing in the North. The completed study is expected to include a chapter on the Yukon.
The question of a carbon tax impact analysis for the territory resurfaced again after a cold snap in the final days of December saw an energy consumption record broken repeatedly (see Tuesday’s Star).
In times of high demand such as this, Yukon Energy supplements hydroelectricity with diesel and natural gas.
This prompted the Yukon Party to issue a statement Tuesday urging the government, as it has done in the legislature, to conduct a carbon tax impact analysis.
“In a cold climate, Yukoners are required to heat their homes with energy generated from fossil fuels,” the statement reads. “The premier’s carbon tax scheme is designed to make these fuels more expensive.
“For over a year, the official Opposition has been asking the premier to provide Yukoners with an analysis of the impacts on the territory.
“For over a year, the premier has deflected and blamed while conducting no such analysis.”
The Yukon government reiterated its commitment to accepting the federal government’s carbon pricing backstop as recently as Dec. 20, when it announced the results of its public engagement on a carbon tax rebate.
All provinces and territories in Canada will be subject to the federal backstop in 2018 if they don’t have in place their own carbon pricing mechanism that meets a federal benchmark.
The backstop will see a carbon tax applied to liquid, gaseous and solid fuels – including gasoline, diesel and natural gas.
When the backstop comes into effect this fall, gasoline will be taxed at 2.33 cents per litre, diesel at 2.74 cents per litre, and marketable natural gas at 1.96 cents per cubic metre.
Environment Yukon spokesperson Sophie Best was asked whether the government will conduct its own analysis of the impacts of the impending carbon tax.
“Because this is a federal carbon price – not a territorial one – the analysis of the impacts of carbon pricing is being studied at that level,” Best said via email.
The federal study, with the Yukon government’s support, will “assess the territorial impacts of carbon pricing, recognizing the unique circumstances of northern and remote communities,” according to the carbon tax rebate consultation document released by the Department of Finance.
The joint study is “pending completion,” the document reads. Its results will be considered as a carbon tax is enacted in the Yukon.
Today, asked for comment on the Yukon government’s decision to forgo its own carbon tax impact analysis, the official Opposition provided a statement to the Star.
“There is nothing preventing the premier from conducting this analysis and sharing this information with Yukon families so that they can understand how they will be impacted,” it reads.
“He promised Yukoners that his government would be open and transparent, and unfortunately, after over 400 days in office, he hasn’t even told Yukoners how the carbon tax scheme he signed onto will impact Yukon businesses or our electricity rates.”