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Sunny Patch and Premier Sandy Silver

Confusion shares the air with the carbon

A senior official within the federal Department of Environment and Climate Change says the details of a carbon pricing plan in the Yukon are “up in the air.”

By Sidney Cohen on May 24, 2017

A senior official within the federal Department of Environment and Climate Change says the details of a carbon pricing plan in the Yukon are “up in the air.”

The official asked not to be named based on a decision made by his department.

He told the Star today that Ottawa is working with each territory to come up with a plan that takes into account the unique circumstances of the North.

“Hypothetically, the options range from no carbon pricing, to full carbon pricing, to anything in between,” he said.

The possibility that territories will not be subject to the same federal carbon pricing plan as the provinces is at odds with statements made by Premier Sandy Silver in the legislature this spring.

The premier said in April that the federal carbon pricing “backstop” will apply in the Yukon – and that the territory has little say in the matter.

The plan is called a “backstop” because it will only apply in jurisdictions that don’t develop their own carbon pricing plans.

“We don’t have a lot of options here as far as different types of mechanisms – cap and trade, and these types of things,” Silver said in the House on April 25. “It’s going to be the federal backstop.”

Ottawa said it will impose the backstop in 2018 for provinces that don’t already meet the government’s benchmark for carbon pricing.

However, “it’s a little less definitive about what it will do in the case of territories that don’t want to develop (a carbon price) on their own,” said the Environment official.

Last Thursday, federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna released a technical paper with details about the proposed backstop.

It would see a levy of 2.33 cents on a litre of gasoline in 2018, rising each year to 11.63 cents in 2018. The tax would be higher on dirtier fossil fuels.

Now, it seems, this won’t necessarily be the program for the North.

The official said the door is open to a “tailored approach” to carbon pricing in the territories.

The federal government is currently studying the impacts of carbon pricing with each territory, and how to address them. The studies are expected to finish up this fall.

The study will look at how a carbon tax in the south will affect the price of commodities shipped and sold in the territories, said the official.

It will also examine the impacts of a carbon tax on remote communities, indigenous people and industry.

Territorial governments will look at a range of carbon price design features, which could include an exemption for fuel used in remote communities, said the official.

A decision about “whether and how to apply carbon pricing in the territories” will be made later this year, he said.

The Yukon Liberals ran on a platform that included a carbon tax.

The official indicated it stands to reason that some kind of carbon tax will come down in the Yukon.

The premier was not available for comment before this afternoon’s press deadline.

“It’s our understanding that we’re still following the federal backstop,” cabinet spokesperson Sunny Patch said today.

Former Yukon Party premier Darrell Pasloski lobbied hard for a northern exemption to the carbon tax.

Silver, on the other hand, has said repeatedly that an exemption was never on the table.

When at least one premier called for a flat-out exemption for the North at a meeting of the premiers in December 2016, “that was not offered up,” said the Environment official.

“Instead, what was provided was a commitment to look at solutions.”

It remains to be seen whether a partial or total exemption will become an option once the carbon tax impact studies are done.

Patch said the Yukon study will inform discussions about the “flexibilities and northern-specific implementations of the backstop.”

She couldn’t say whether “flexibility” means the fuel levy could be less in the Yukon than in the South.

The Star asked Patch if she could answer “yes” or “no” to whether a carbon price will come to the Yukon in 2018. She replied:

“I can say that we have agreed to the federal backstop on carbon pricing and that commitment from the federal government is that they will implement a carbon pricing mechanism in 2018.”

See letter.

Comments (22)

Up 8 Down 1

north_of_60 on May 29, 2017 at 6:38 pm

I believe we can agree that the TrudieTax is a blatant cash grab with questionable science used as the flimsy justification. If Trudie hadn't shoved Canada deep into debt to give Billion$ to his rich Muslim buddies, "to stop climate change", then Canadians would not be seeing this unnecessary increase in our cost of living.

Up 13 Down 1

June Jackson on May 29, 2017 at 3:48 pm

I think its pretty clear that the carbon tax is nothing but a cash grab..Mr. Trudeau campaigned on running a $10 billion dollar deficit..in two years by 2019 it's projected to be over $90 million dollars. (that is just federally) http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/02/10/federal-shortfalls-could-total-90b-over-liberals-first-mandate-bank-study_n_9202872.html

One third of Canadian adults don't pay taxes http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/stts/menu-eng.html

https://www.therebel.media/what_they_won_t_tell_you_about_syrian_refugees (I don't think therebel is a reputable source, but the European figures are about the same). 90% of refugee's are receiving some sort of government assistance in month 14.

Put an unemployment rate of about 7% on top of all that, and we have a federal government desperate for money. Alberta's credit rating just went down...Nationally, federally and provincially the debt is mind boggling. 1.3 TRILLION

So.. that brings me to the carbon tax... Next year see's personal tax increases..again, the elimination of transit deductions, child fitness, child creativity, possibly the elimination of the principal home sale deduction (haven't had a reply on that yet) ...if our national credit rating fails, Canada will lose its borrowing power.. when that happens, other countries and banks will start calling in their debt, when Canada can not service its debt... well.. ask Greece..

Half of Canadians are $200. away from insolvency.. yup.. we are insulated here in the Yukon..The rest of Canada is not so lucky..

So.. the carbon tax is strictly about putting money into the federal government coffers without saying, we're going to tax your ass off because... "the budget will balance itself".

Up 8 Down 1

ProScience Greenie on May 29, 2017 at 3:25 pm

Well at least we agree on the bad crazy uselessness of the carbon sin tax north_of_60 and are joining ranks see that go away. Also definitely agree with you on a few other issues. And yeah, the powers that be, left, right, center and green, like us scared, distracted, overtaxed and divided - global devastation, evil music/cartoons, war on some drugs, war on some terror etc.

Up 6 Down 1

north_of_60 on May 28, 2017 at 4:30 pm

The effect of CO2 in the atmosphere is not linear. It's like adding more insulation to your house. The first inch does the most heat loss reduction; from that point on it's a case of diminishing returns for every inch added. Any warming effect from CO2 has already happened; additional CO2 will have negligible effect. CO2 concentration during the Jurassic age of dinosaurs was 5 times greater than today and temperatures were only a few degrees warmer. CO2 concentration has steadily increased for the past two decades but global temperatures have only increased slightly, if at all.

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." -- H. L. Mencken

Up 0 Down 6

Alex Gandler on May 27, 2017 at 10:50 pm

Hey - Nile - read my second sentence again
Independent ? NOT !

Up 1 Down 3

ProScience Greenie on May 27, 2017 at 4:43 pm

Some simple atmospheric physics - Wiki 'Earth's energy budget'. Can't stand Gore, the carbon tax or far left and deep green fear-mongering but science is science. We're a big deal on the planet, simple as that. 'Greenhouse effect' was coined by Ekholm in 1901 way before Gore was born. Not the best phrase but we are stuck with it.
"The major atmospheric gases (02 and N2) are transparent to incoming sunlight but are also transparent to outgoing thermal (infrared) radiation. However, water vapor,C02, CH4 methane and other trace gases are opaque to many wavelengths of thermal radiation. The Earth's surface radiates the net equivalent of 17% of the incoming solar energy in the form of thermal infrared. However, the amount that directly escapes to space is only about 12% of incoming solar energy. The remaining fraction, 5 to 6%, is absorbed by the atmosphere by greenhouse gas molecules.

When greenhouse gas molecules absorb thermal infrared energy, their temperature rises. Those gases then radiate an increased amount of thermal infrared energy in all directions. Heat radiated upward continues to encounter greenhouse gas molecules; those molecules also absorb the heat, and their temperature rises and the amount of heat they radiate increases. The atmosphere thins with altitude, and at roughly 5–6 km, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the overlying atmosphere is so thin that heat can escape to space.

Because greenhouse gas molecules radiate infrared energy in all directions, some of it spreads downward and ultimately returns to the Earth's surface, where it is absorbed. The Earth's surface temperature is thus higher than it would be if it were heated only by direct solar heating. This supplemental heating is the natural greenhouse effect. It is as if the Earth is covered by a blanket that allows high frequency radiation (sunlight) to enter, but slows the rate at which the low frequency infrared radiant energy emitted by the Earth leaves."

Up 5 Down 1

ProScience Greenie on May 27, 2017 at 1:01 pm

Fentie, being a rural Yukoner, was kind of independent but once Paz took over the YP, when Harper or the Chamber of Commerce said jump, Paz said how high. Hopefully the next version of the YP smartens up. No matter what the party we elect here they need to represent and work for Yukoners 100% rather than be trained seals for Ottawa. Copy that Sandy?

Up 5 Down 3

north_of_60 on May 26, 2017 at 8:05 pm

CO2 is not a Greenhouse Gas

Up 15 Down 8

Nile on May 26, 2017 at 11:42 am

@Alex. Whether you like them or not the Yukon Party is the only independent party in Yukon.

Up 12 Down 5

north_of_60 on May 25, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Independent Satellite Records Agree: Little to No Global Warming over Past 18 Years. You've been scammed and duped into accepting a tax on the air you breathe. CO2 is plant food, it does not cause global warming.

Up 12 Down 6

ProScience Greenie on May 25, 2017 at 4:00 pm

CO2 and other GHGs do cause a greenhouse effect north_of_60. That's basic physics and math. We're stupid to burn hydrocarbons as fast as we can get them out of the ground and stupid to have a 'big box store' throwaway economy.

However, we both strongly agree that a stupid sin tax on 'carbon' going into general revenues is not going to do a darn thing to make the planet a better place. The rich will ignore it, the poor and middle class will pay it and governments will waste it. Smarter ways to ensure a greener planet. Carry on with your many excellent points against this useless sin tax.

Up 8 Down 8

At home in the Yukon on May 25, 2017 at 1:29 pm

North_of_60:"CO2 does not cause any 'greenhouse effect'. That myth has been totally debunked by science."
North, it really depends on which scientist you listen to. These guys agree with you: http://www.oism.org/pproject/s33p36.htm
These guys don't: https://www.skepticalscience.com/empirical-evidence-for-co2-enhanced-greenhouse-effect.htm

The formula: hydrocarbon + combustion = CO2 (sometimes CO) is simple chemistry. If we are burning compounds of carbon, we get a compound of carbon -- CO2. To point the finger at carbon is reasonable.

Up 8 Down 18

Alex Gandler on May 25, 2017 at 11:23 am

Hey Nile - what's your point ?

the Pasloski-Fentie Party did exactly what the Harper Party wanted them to do for TEN years

Up 20 Down 2

Groucho d'North on May 25, 2017 at 11:12 am

The federal Liberals are making it up as they go. The only real plan is to extort more money from Canadians, how they do that exactly depends on a number of things - like what can they get away with. But here at home, there are still opportunities to talk about what ‘plans’ have been made by the YG government to reinvest any monies that will be returned. Will money flow back to we who were taxed? If so - how? Will the money be invested in greener energy systems? if so what, where and how much? We don’t need to wait for the Tater-Tot to begin discussing our taxation future. We need our local politicians to start answering questions without hiding behind the Feds. I anticipate the same situation will be arriving soon regarding how the marijuana project will unfold here in the Yukon. The Yukon government needs to start talking with we constituents about these matters now before the next bill of goods gets dumped on us.

Up 24 Down 3

Trudeaus Tax Is Fixing The Planet on May 24, 2017 at 9:27 pm

I'm confused, does this mean that for every 2 cent carbon tax increase the global temperature will drop 1 degree, glaciers will expand a kilometer, and ocean levels drop 1 centimetre? How exactly is the Liberal carbon tax going to save the planet, and when will we see the end result? When will I see the planets atmosphere return to normal thanks to me paying 2.3 cents a litre more for gas in 2018? 100 years from now will history lessons teach that Yukoners paying 2.3 cents more for gas in taxes was the turning point that saved humanity?

Up 19 Down 5

jc on May 24, 2017 at 8:49 pm

The Yukon Liberal Puppet Party. Try to explain that to Yukoners in the next election Mr. Silver.

Up 2 Down 2

Clifford on May 24, 2017 at 8:32 pm


Up 20 Down 5

make a deal on May 24, 2017 at 5:52 pm

Silver is looking pretty lame here. Looks like this is something he doesn't want to waste his mental energies on. "Just let Ottawa figure it out and tell us what to do."

Not very premeirial.

Up 8 Down 6

make a deal on May 24, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Let's make the Peel area a park, and swap all that tundra for our carbon tax.

Up 23 Down 4

Oops on May 24, 2017 at 5:41 pm

the other 2 premiers fought against it. Silver said we had no choice. They were right and he wasn't. Should we hold our breath for a sorry?

Up 15 Down 4

north_of_60 on May 24, 2017 at 5:29 pm

The only 'carbon' in the air is from smoke. The alarmists claim the problem is carbon dioxide, which is a trace gas essential for plant life. CO2 does not cause any 'greenhouse effect'. That myth has been totally debunked by science.

Anyone who calls CO2 "carbon" is showing 'politically correct' brainwashed ignorance of what's actually happening in the atmosphere. They will no doubt show that ignorance with 'thumbs down' to this comment.

Up 48 Down 8

Nile on May 24, 2017 at 4:48 pm

So basically the Yukon Libs just do what ever Trudeau tells them to do. That's so reassuring.

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