Zimmer concerned about national carbon tax costs for families

Prince George - Peace River - Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer in the House of Commons.

OTTAWA, O.N. – Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP and Deputy Critic for Families, Children and Social Development Bob Zimmer says that the federal government’s plan to implement a national carbon tax adds yet another cost forwarded to already cash-strapped families.

Yesterday, Zimmer questioned Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos about the financial burden that added carbon pricing would have on the middle class during a standing committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. The committee is beginning a study into Poverty Reduction Strategies across the country.

Zimmer asked the Minister how middle class families in Canada would be able to afford the increased financial costs associated with the carbon tax. Citing data from Statistics Canada, Zimmer said in a phone interview yesterday with Energeticcity.ca that the average family in Canada earns roughly $75,000, with a net of $40,000 after income tax deductions. Per month, he cited a family with a mortgage payment of $2,000, and at least one $500 car payment in addition to other expenses such as food, fuel, utilities, leisure, and clothing. Looking at other factors such as regional differences in utility costs, he says that under the new carbon tax, a Nova Scotian family using heating oil would pay an additional $638 per year, on top of a $600 yearly increase to fuel their cars.

In response, Duclos pointed out the various new and existing tax breaks that families are getting, such as the Canada Child Benefit. However, Zimmer said that it seemed redundant to both give families a tax break while at the same time adding an additional tax.

“It surprised me in that response, because those tax breaks and tax relief for Canadians are supposed to be for their betterment, and for them to spend on themselves,” said Zimmer. “It’s not meant to just be simply captured again by another tax.” He added that he understands the good intentions of the planned tax, but that the costs will ultimately be passed along to taxpayers. According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Zimmer said that the average Canadian family could be paying almost $2,600 in new taxes each year by 2022 with the planned carbon pricing.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, the Prime Minister stated that there are many well-paying jobs that would result from adopting greener sources of energy nationwide. Zimmer responded to those assertions by saying that while he is hopeful, he pointed to the failings of several of Ontario’s green energy programs. “We’ve had a look at this, is that if you look at the Ontario [provincial] government for instance. With the green energy programs that were there, that really lined the pockets of some wealthy individuals at the cost of the Ontario taxpayer,” added Zimmer. He says that those jobs that the federal government are talking about seem to be few in number, and only benefit a few individuals.

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