Why should we implement another tax during a recession? We’ve all heard about it, we’ve all been prepared for it, and some of us don’t like it – but what is the Carbon Tax?
As of January 1st, 2017, Albertans are officially paying the long awaited Carbon Tax, given to us on behalf of the NDP government. Although there has been a more vocal opposition on behalf of Albertans for the tax than there has been support, Premier Rachel Notley is still a huge advocate for the benefits that she believes the tax will provide for the province of Alberta and it’s citizens. One of the main goals of the Carbon Tax is to provide funds for Alberta’s government to be able to diversify our economy – meaning, less dependence on oil as our main source of energy and revenues, and more dependence on cleaner more efficient energy in order to reduce Alberta’s emissions and increase renewable energy practices.
One of the first signs of the Carbon Tax was the price of gas on January 1, 2017. In the past year or so, Albertans have been so used to the price of gas being between 80 cents (sometimes even lower), upwards to 95 cents. Although these gas prices were an absolute dream in some people’s eyes, it was not hard to see that the province was undergoing a recession – and although the lower cost of a full gas tank was nice, the economy overall was hurting. The increase in gas prices caused a huge outcry amongst a number of social media platforms on behalf of Albertans, claiming that it was “the carbon tax” and that Albertans “are doomed.” Realistically, the effect that the tax has on the price of gas is only at an increase of 4.49 cents, which does sound like a lot when you think about the low price of fuel in the past year, but for an average 50L tank, that will only cost you an extra $2.25 to fill up, which is the cost of a coffee at Tim Hortons in the morning. It is obvious that $2.25 adds up over time, but realistically, it is a small price to pay overall.
The main reason why majority of Albertans have been opposed to the implementation of the Carbon Tax, is because of the fact that Alberta has been facing a recession for the past year or so. Most will say that this is not the time to implement a tax that will only cost Albertans more for day to day necessities such as gas and heating. On the other hand, some Albertans believe the time is now – why wait to improve our economy when it’s already improved?
Rebates that will come forth with the Carbon Tax are something that most Albertans don’t talk about due to the fact that it does not help negatively support its implementation. According to James Wilt on the DeSmog Canada website, “60 per cent of Albertans will receive a full rebate for the carbon tax (all single households with a net income under $47,500 and all couples or families with a net income under $95,000). Another six per cent of households will receive a partial rebate.” This can be viewed as one of the benefits that the Carbon Tax will have for Albertans, especially those that are worried about the increase in costs that the tax will cause.
Although these are only some of the effects that have been most relevant to the implementation of the Carbon Tax, there are still numerous other changes that will be made – especially on the forefront of larger corporations – that will have what Albertans believe to be both negative on positive effects on the province. Regardless of whether you are a supporter or non-supporter, there are a huge number of ways to find out more information about the tax through the Government of Alberta website. Albertans should know how it will affect the province, and most importantly, how it will affect you.
Let’s hope that 2017 is a year of positive changes for Alberta! “Climate leadership means we’re leading today, so we don’t follow tomorrow.” - Alberta NDP