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Carbon Pricing

April 5, 2022

Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition)

Leader, the NDP-Liberal government claims that even with the steady increase in the carbon tax from $50 a tonne now to $170 a tonne in 2030, Canadian households will be better off because of the rebates they will receive.

However, according to a recent report of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Manitobans — even with the rebate — will be $299 in the red this fiscal year, $402 in the red the year after that, and by 2030-31 they will suffer an annual net loss of $1,145. The results are similar in other provinces, and worse in Alberta.

Leader, who got it right, the NDP-Liberal government or the independent, non-partisan Parliamentary Budget Officer?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ + ]

Thank you for the question.

As I mentioned in my answer earlier, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the great majority of Canadians, in fact, will receive more than they pay out, but clearly not all, as you have properly mentioned.

The important thing to underline, colleagues, is — and I go back to classical Economics 101 — putting a price on pollution is meant to increase the cost. It is meant to create incentives for all of us, businesses and individuals, to change our habits.

One hopes that the provinces that have not yet signed on to a meaningful plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will do so for the benefit of their citizens, for the benefit of the children of their citizens and for the benefit of the country and the planet.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer predicts that most households in Canada — not some people, but most — will, under the backstop, see a net loss resulting from federal carbon pricing under the government’s plan in 2030-31.

Leader, will your government finally admit that Canadians are not actually better off under your carbon pricing scheme? Also, as the carbon tax went up again last Friday on April 1, which wasn’t an April Fool’s joke, what will your government do to provide Canadians some relief in these dire economic times of near runaway inflation?

Senator Gold [ + ]

Thank you for the question.

The government has demonstrated over the past two years that it is attentive to providing relief to Canadians who suffer from consequences that are, in some cases, beyond their control, and from the consequences of decisions made by provincial governments, and sometimes the federal government, and has taken measures to address serious social issues, such as the pandemic, which we still seem to be living through, regrettably.

The government is also mindful of the impacts of its policies to address climate change and it has, over the past number of years, also provided assistance to both sectors and individuals. We anticipate with interest the budget that will be tabled in two short days, and we expect to have answers to some of your questions revealed at that point.

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