question period — National Revenue

Carbon Tax

June 11, 2019

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition)

Honourable senators, I hope that, as the Leader of the Government in the Senate claims, the government will be listening very carefully to provinces that have valid concerns raised by the premiers about Bill C-48 and Bill C-69 as well as the imposition of the Prime Minister’s carbon tax.

Provinces are not alone in expressing concerns about the carbon tax. Small businesses across Canada are taking on a greater financial burden under the carbon tax while some large industrial polluters have been given broad exemptions. Recently Minister McKenna announced the details for one of the rebate programs for small businesses. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business noted:

For the project funding program, small businesses must put up a minimum investment of $80,000 and go through a team of bureaucrats and additional red tape just to qualify.

Senator, why is your government’s carbon tax putting a disproportionate burden yet again on small business?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate)

I thank the honourable senator for the question. That is not the view of the government. The view of the government is that it is important to support the transition to a less carbon-intense economy by all sectors, including small- and medium-sized businesses. That is the process that is under way. Surely we should all agree, and certainly this Parliament has adopted the legislation necessary to assist Canadians in the transition to a less carbon-intense economy.


I think I have said this in the chamber and asked you a number of questions regarding the burden on small businesses.

Another carbon tax rebate program the government has promised to introduce for small business has to do with the purchase of energy-efficient equipment. The minister has not released details of this program, saying they would be made available in June. However, the carbon tax was imposed on local businesses back on April 1.

Senator Harder, the rebates to individuals are about a third lower than advertised by your government. It’s easy to see why small businesses are anxious to know about the details of this program that will impact them.

Exactly when will your government provide small businesses with this information?

Senator Harder

The responsible minister will be making an announcement at the appropriate time.