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‘I’m not imposing anything’: Hanson on tax

‘I’m not imposing anything’: Hanson on tax

By Sidney Cohen on April 28, 2016

Neither the NDP nor the Liberals say they would impose a carbon tax if elected, contrary to the premier’s allegation Wednesday in the legislature.

But they haven’t opposed carbon pricing either, and certainly not as vehemently as the Yukon Party.

“What is clear is that both the NDP and the Liberals, if elected, would put a carbon tax in place to make everything in this territory more expensive,” Premier Darrell Pasloski told the house.

The allegation came after Opposition Leader Liz Hanson asked the premier if he would say “no” to any conversation about carbon pricing if federal funding was at stake.

“The Yukon Party will stand up for what is best for Yukoners,” Pasloski said in response.

“We have a plan to create more employment, to reduce greenhouse gases and not make everything more expensive.”

After question period, Hanson told the Star, “I’m not imposing anything.

“What I am saying is we (the Yukon NDP) will have a discussion about how we can achieve our contribution toward the transition to a national low-carbon economy.”

As for the Yukon Liberals, spokesperson Jason Cunning said Wednesday the party has yet to develop a position on carbon pricing.

“We haven’t said anything, we haven’t even got there yet,” he said.

Cunning called Pasloski’s statement in the legislature “more fear mongering, more Harper-style attacks.” That was a reference to former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper.

Liberal Leader Sandy Silver did say he’s not afraid to put a price on carbon, Cunning said, but it’s not in the party platform right now.

Carbon pricing can take different forms.

One is a carbon tax, a levy that would be most apparent at the gas pumps.

A carbon tax puts a per-tonne price on greenhouse gas emissions. It’s meant to off-set the cost of damage done to human health, crops and infrastructure by drought, flooding, extreme weather and other effects of climate change.

British Columbia has had a carbon tax since 2008.

The province charges $30 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions, which amounts to seven cents a litre of gas.

The burden on residents is balanced by lower income taxes and additional benefits for low-income earners and rural British Columbians.

B.C. had the lowest income tax rate in Canada in 2014, according to The World Bank.

Another way to price carbon is through the “cap-and-trade” method.

Cap-and-trade sets a limit on how many tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a household, institution or business can produce, and that limit is brought down each year.

If, for instance, a company wants to emit more pollution than is permitted, it can buy carbon credits from another company that may not hit its own greenhouse gas cap.

Ontario introduced cap-and-trade regulations earlier this year.

Both The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are urging governments to consider carbon pricing.

“A price on carbon helps shift the burden for the damage back to those who are responsible for it, and who can reduce it,” the World Bank said in its statement on the issue.

Pasloski has come out strongly against any kind of carbon tax. He has said many times that a “one-size-fits-all” approach to addressing the impacts of climate change in Canada – i.e. carbon pricing – won’t work in the Yukon.

“It may be great in southern Canada, but it gets cold up here; we have to heat our homes,” the premier told the Star earlier this month.

“Almost everything that we consume, most of our food, our clothing everything that we buy in the stores, comes from somewhere else. It comes up here on a plane or a truck; everything would cost more money.”

At 10.2 tonnes per capita, the Yukon emits less greenhouse gas than most of the country, according to Enviornment Canada data compiled by the David Suzuki Foundation in its All Over the Map 2012 report.

Only Quebec (9.7 tonnes per capita) and Nunavut (6.1 tonnes per capita) rank better in keeping emissions down.

Half of the Yukon’s greenhouse gas emissions come from vehicles and a quarter results from commercial, government and residential energy use, said the report.

Indeed, supporting a price for carbon appears to be a national trend.

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) officially endorsed carbon pricing two weeks ago.

“Today, one of Canada’s largest industries is coming out in support of a carbon price, identifying it as the most effective and efficient means of driving emissions reductions and making real progress in the global fight against climate change,” Pierre Gratton, MAC’s president and CEO, said in an April 13 statement.

The Yukon Chamber of Mines has yet to develop a stance on carbon pricing.

“It’s still early days here, and we’re working with the climate change secretariat and voluntarily following some of the new imposed targets,” said executive director Samson Hartland.

“Northern territories are unique and do require unique solutions. We do have a responsibility to bear, but we face higher operating costs – higher costs altogether – and we need to take that northern reality into context.”

Hartland said the territory’s mining industry and Yukon College are working in partnership to come up with innovative ways to reduce emissions.

The prime minister has made clear his intention to transition Canada to a low-carbon economy, and that pricing carbon will play a major role in that shift.

Asked whether the Yukon Liberal leader would follow in the federal leader’s footsteps, Cunning said the territorial party is not bound to the national one.

“We’ve had our differences with the federal Liberals on policy, most famously over the gun registry. We don’t always have the same policy as the feds,” he said.

Pasloski and other Canadian premiers were with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Paris, where Canada committed to keeping global temperatures below two degrees during the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in December 2015.

However, a directive to price carbon in the provinces and territories has not yet come down from Ottawa.

Hanson said a discussion about carbon pricing “has to include the other part of the conversation, which is with respect to fossil fuel subsidies.

“It was a key issue in a number of the forums at the climate change conference in Paris,” she said.

“It can’t be taxing people who are already stretched to the nth degree.”

Immediately following his election, Trudeau instructed Catherine McKenna, the minister of Environment and Climate Change, to work with provinces and territories to establish emissions targets.

Another goal is to ensure that all jurisdictions have the federal funding, and the flexibility, to draft their own plans to address climate change, “including their own carbon pricing policies.”

Comments (17)

Up 16 Down 2

Rorex1983 on May 2, 2016 at 3:48 pm

Was looking to write a long comment after reading the story about the writers bias, the political double speak, and the effects of carbon taxes on an economy which I and many others consider to be the cleanest and most eco-friendly in the world. Alas, its all been said, good on you Yukoners!

I just hope the masses don't elect the NDP. Anyone who says they are going to fund everything, not increase taxes, and keep the books balanced is clearly either living in a dream world or lying.

Up 6 Down 3

NDP - Not developing programs aimed to stop pain for Yukon's most on May 1, 2016 at 10:04 am

needy seniors in special care. They just don't support seniors in need.

Up 17 Down 3

90% of Liz statements are rejected by voters in the Yukon on May 1, 2016 at 10:01 am

Voters are already stating no way for NDP in the Yukon. NDP is dangerous for Yukon economy and future programs like our specialty seniors care center.

Up 12 Down 1

Josey Wales on Apr 29, 2016 at 11:34 pm

Hmmm...."If you want to use fear mongering then give them the boot and hard!!"

So using fear to illustrate your loathing of said tactic?
Say hi to Liz for me at your next love in.

Up 25 Down 2

north_of_60 on Apr 29, 2016 at 6:37 pm

The YP clearly says NO carbon pricing/tax, while the NDP&LIB give us the usual weasel-word political double-talk.

The first line of the story should read:
Neither the NDP nor the Liberals DENY they would impose a carbon tax if elected.

That's the important point.

The reporter's subjective 'pro carbon tax' bias is all too obvious in this story.
Nowhere in the story does the reporter tell us how increasing Yukon fuel taxes in the name of "carbon" will stop the climate from changing. The "Everybody Outside is doing it" argument isn't sufficient justification in our unique situation.

Up 24 Down 5

NDP governments in Canada has raised more taxes than on Apr 29, 2016 at 4:39 pm

any other government.

Up 24 Down 2

lyin' liz on Apr 29, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Yeah right...sure you won't

Up 8 Down 27

steve on Apr 29, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Oh man can you see YP is identical to Harper. They fear monger then have all these trolls jump on line to make comments. Once the election is over they all disappear.

It's time for YP to wakeup and stop using fear mongering for elections. I do think Yukoners are more knowledgeable and can see through this political game. If not then we get what we get because of our stupidity. Time to send the fear mongers packing and I don't care which party it is. If you want to use fear mongering then give them the boot and hard!!

Up 18 Down 4

When you look at the Yukon Government history on Apr 29, 2016 at 9:01 am

80% of any revenue generation in the way of taxes get 70% eaten by administrating managing the funds.
That leaves 30% to actual go into doing something.

Up 19 Down 6

Josey Wales on Apr 29, 2016 at 12:01 am

So.....what if say "we" like the folks in AB recently elect the National Destruction Party?
Then where would all our most recent imports flee to, those economic refugees called our Albertan brothers/sisters that fled in mass exodus post NDP shutting shop vilifying real work and the folks who do it.
Can happen here folks, again...remember?
The whole thing is a smoke and mirrors sham anywayzz, this artificial democracy we are fed here at the mushroom farm.
Crooks, thieves and absolute liars the great majority of them.

Up 16 Down 5

Liberals and NDP make statements that have no real substance to what Carbon on Apr 28, 2016 at 7:56 pm

changing out from fossil fuels means. All this shows is that these two parties have no clue how to deal with carbon.
Look at all the people who don't like the truth about carbon tax and what it really means and how to deal with it in the Yukon.
There is some other facts out there on the Yukon and carbon that might come out some time that these and a lot of Yukoners did not realize how the Yukon does its part in carbon reduction in Canada.
In BC they have put 7 cents a liter on fossil fuels.
In Europa they put on anywhere from 30 to 50 cents a liter on fossil fuel.
Do politicians want to know the thought about carbon or just talk and say nothing?
How does the Yukon measure up on net carbon input/output?
Answer that question and you learn something about carbon in the Yukon!

Up 32 Down 7

jc on Apr 28, 2016 at 5:59 pm

NDP = higher taxes to pay for their pet projects. With a population of only 35,000 people, the Yukon does not pollute. We still have the cleanest air in the world. The NDP should form a committee to go to China and b!*%@ about their polluting the world. But that would require nerve.

Up 12 Down 20

Onefourtytwo on Apr 28, 2016 at 5:28 pm

This is a real awkward attempt at creating an election wedge issue. Much like the strange non-issues instigated by the Conservatives during the Federal election. While the Yukon has real issues to discuss during this election..... the YP: "They are going to tax you more, we won't!" Libs/NDP "We have actually never said that." YP: "Yeah you did....see we are right. Vote Yukon Party!" Meanwhile, money squandered... like anyone remember the golf course?

Up 31 Down 0

north_of_60 on Apr 28, 2016 at 5:14 pm

We already make a large "contribution toward the transition to a national low-carbon economy."

Our grid hydro is 97+% renewable, and a large, growing segment of residential heating is biomass. If the rest of Canada was like the Yukon, then there would be no perceived 'carbon' problem that needed "carbon pricing" or taxes.

We already do our fair share. NO fuel tax increases no matter what you choose to call it. We already get hit with price increases because of 'carbon taxes' south of 60, don't make it worse.

If you want to do something useful and meaningful to address your 'carbon concerns' then plan to build at least one wood pellet plant in the HJ area.
When locally made wood pellets become cost competitive with fossil fuel, then more homes and businesses will switch to biomass heating.

Up 7 Down 45

Any carbon tax has to be spent on reducing carbon omissions on Apr 28, 2016 at 3:50 pm

For example support change out from fossil to electric heat in homes.
In fact ban heating systems that use fossil fuels period.
Than build hydro projects to off set the energy change out.
That 25% of carbon problem solved.
Then there will have to be industry adjustment fund for all the fuel suppliers that go out of business.
Place toll both at the Alaska border at Beaver Creek going both ways to use for making changes to transportation of trucks to electric power trucks.
A lot traffic in the Yukon are on their way to Alaska creating carbon.
Have the City of Whitehorse change from fossil fueled buses to electric buses like all other Cities are doing.
But the liberal mayor will not do that.
Carbon pricing will only work if the funds are targeted at the reduction of carbon users to support the transition from fossil fuels.
One liberal Yukon writer has all ready stated that the liberals should bring in a carbon tax and use the funds to pay for more public servants.
There is study being done by the YPG on electric cars-great move!
Pressure has to go to the manufacturer of trucks of all sizes and auto's to build a new future transportation that get 50% better mileage.
That is one of our major problems.

Up 42 Down 29

truedope on Apr 28, 2016 at 3:33 pm

I applaud the premier for standing up to this blatant scam. Carbon dioxide is absolutey essential to all life on earth it is not some poison like dizzy lizzy would have you believe.

Up 38 Down 9

Max Mack on Apr 28, 2016 at 3:15 pm

Carbon pricing = carbon tax. A rose by any other name . . .

Trying to rationalize cap 'n trade as "carbon pricing" and "not a tax" is ludicrous. It has the same end effect; to increase the cost of production. Increases in cost of production = increases in the price of goods. Hence, an indirect tax.

I will never support cap 'n trade, Two immediate effects spring to my mind:
1. the 1% that already own most of the world's resources will be the direct beneficiaries; and,
2. this will merely become another reason for the West's non-stop aggression around the world, in order to control financial flows related to cap 'n trade.

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