Welcome to carbon tax week! It's that time of year again when our friendly federal government hikes up tax prices in the midst of a health crisis. As of Wednesday, prices in Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan have increased by $10 per tonne of CO2.
On Tuesday this week, Premier Doug Ford announced that for 45 days residential consumers, farmers and small business owners will be paying off-peak hydro prices 24 hours a day seven days a week. This means consumers will be paying a flat rate of 10.1 cents per kilowatt hour for their hydro, rather than the usual time of use rates that can be as high as 20 cents per kilowatt hour. This price reduction is a response to the financial burden brought on many Canadians by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Over the past two weeks Canadians have been noticing lower gas prices at the pump. Fears over COVID-19 worsened a global market crash last week which led to the lowest prices for crude oil since the Gulf War. Lower oil prices usually mean lower prices for consumers at the pump, and Canadians are seeing this.
You can be forgiven if you missed the pre-Christmas commitment your government made on your behalf. Back in December, it was announced at the COP25 Climate Summit in Spain that Canada would meet the promise of achieving a “net zero carbon emission” target by 2050. The pledge, made by Canada’s Minister for Environment and Climate Change, committed that the onerous objective would include 5-year timeline objectives once proposed legislation came into effect.
It was a revelation that caught most onlookers off guard and continues to cause surprise and disappointment for many. Last Friday while attending a conference at Washington, D.C.’s , Wilson Center, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney told a panel that a shift away from hydrocarbons was inevitable and that it was “preferable that the last barrel in that transition comes from a stable, reliable liberal democracy with among the highest environmental, human rights and labour standards on earth.”
In the span of a week, Canadians were witness to economic headlines which appear to confirm that the country’s overall performance wasn’t as advertised near the end of October when, as the Federal election neared its end, there was little to suggest the economy wasn’t firing on all cylinders. Whether coincidence or the deliberate withholding of negative news in the midst of an election, what’s clear is that Canada’s economy is now underperforming and it has serious consequences for all Canadians.