Alberta is set to implement it's controversial carbon tax on Jan 1, 2017. This tax will affect the cost of almost everything we buy. The first thing most people will notice is the jump in the price at the gas pumps which will be around 6 cents per litre. The one positive side effect of low oil prices has been low gas prices, and now they are going to increase that for questionable reasons. Next, we will start to see increases in prices of food, clothing, transportation and anything that has to be shipped by train, truck, or plane. We will also see costs increase for taxis, flights, transit and shipping costs for anything we buy online.
Even if the NDP under Rachel Notley had a change of heart and reversed their decision to plow ahead with their controversial tax despite the fact that the Alberta economy is in bad shape right now, we would still have to worry about Justin Trudeau's looming tax in 2018. Trudeau has decreed that every province must have some sort of carbon levy in place by then. He has also said that the price on carbon will rise every year for five years. It will start at $10 per tonne in 2018 and go up by $10 per tonne every year until 2022 when it will top out at $50 per tonne.
Another consideration is how fair will the tax be on citizens of the various provinces? Quebec and Ontario are using a cap and trade system that trades carbon and credits with California. This type of system has been proven to be vulnerable to all kinds of corruption everywhere it has been tried. Also there is plenty of evidence that the resource producing provinces like Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland will be disproportionately affected since much of their economies revolve around energy.
By 2022 the average Canadian could be hit with $2,569 in additional taxes because of this carbon levy. The actual number will vary from province to province and household to household, because there will be credits paid back to lower income families, but rest assured everyone will pay more.
So, what are the benefits to the environment? There are none. Canada is a vast and cold country, so people will still need to drive, buy food, heat their homes, ship stuff, and live their lives. There will be no reduction in carbon emissions just because there is a tax on it. In the case of cap and trade, you are paying someone so that you can emit more carbon in the hope that they will emit less. That is a system that is just waiting to be abused. There is also the fact that Canada is responsible for only 1.6% of global emissions, so even if we eliminated 100% of our emissions, we wouldn't make much of an impact. Sure we can try and be an example for the rest of the world, but at what cost? When we implement taxes just to feel good about ourselves, we make our businesses less competitive with the United States and other countries that have not purposely hobbled their economies.
I believe that phasing out coal powered power plants is a good thing to do, since they actually spew real pollution into the air and can contribute to health issues. Also demanding better fuel economy from new cars every year will help to clean up the air, while electric vehicles and hybrids keep getting better. Reduction of carbon which is a colorless and odorless gas that is necessary for life on this planet is a questionable goal. Getting rid of real pollution should be the goal. Everyone has seen video of China's major cities where it is difficult to see your hand in front of you because the pollution is so bad. That is not because of carbon emissions alone, it is mostly because of coal powered power plants, other dirty factories, and cars. So in my opinion, the environmental movement and governments are focused on the wrong things