James Aylward has announced that a PC government under his leadership will oppose a carbon tax, and use a variety of other initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on PEI.
Why is a carbon tax a bad idea?
- A carbon tax most likely will not result in a significant decrease in GHG emissions. Will Islanders drive less, switch to electric vehicles, replace oil furnaces with lower GHG options, etc? Some will, but most – especially in rural PEI – simply don’t have the option and/or the means. Also, the switch to move to electricity-powered alternatives doesn’t lower GHG emissions drastically because so much of the electricity is purchased from New Brunswick and produced through unclean means.
- A carbon tax is another tax grab by the notorious tax and spend Liberal party. The money from a carbon tax will be spent by government, and be subject to the inefficiencies and patronage that plagues governments. Premier MacLauchlan has already been playing with words calling the carbon tax he will introduce “fiscally neutral” as opposed to “revenue neutral” – which is a fancy way of saying it is just another tax grab, and he’s going to spend all of the money that he takes in.
How to reduce GHG emissions without a carbon tax?
There are many ways to reduce GHG emissions without a carbon tax:
- Remove the provincial portion of the HST from all home heating sources – not just oil as was previously done by the Liberal government. Pleased to see that because of continuous pressure from the PC Official Opposition the current government has implemented this promise from the 2015 PC election platform.
- Produce more clean energy on Prince Edward Island so that locally produced electricity from low-GHG sources is available to Islanders. For example right now the legislation effectively disallows competition with existing electricity distributors (e.g. Maritime Electric), and means that IRAC is highly unlikely to approve any private initiatives for shared local clean electricity production. The PC caucus introduced a private members bill number 109 sponsored by Jamie Fox to change this. The Liberal majority sent the bill to committee for further consideration.
- Provide incentives for Islanders to reduce GHG emissions – incentives that are available to all Islanders, not just those with means and connections. The programs at Efficiency PEI are a good start, but need to target transportation as it is by far the biggest emitter of GHGs on PEI. Instead the Liberal government removed an incentive for hybrid vehicles in 2013.
We can protect our environment without taxing Islanders. PC governments have done this in the past with a variety of initiatives.
My commitment is simple. I will not impose a Carbon Tax on Islanders and I will use all resources available to fight against the carbon tax.
Islanders are already struggling to make ends meet. We don’t need another tax.