UPDATE: Further information on the BC Carbon Tax was added to the article.
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — In response to being asked what could be done for the high cost of living in northern communities, MP Bob Zimmer says cutting the carbon tax is the best option.
Members of Parliament were asked by Cabin Radio earlier this month what their parties would do to help with the inflation seen in many northern communities across Canada.
Conservative MP Bob Zimmer’s answer was simple — cut the carbon tax.
“At the very least, cut the carbon tax on home heating,” Zimmer said to Cabin Radio.
Zimmer’s suggestion was that the federal government temporarily freeze the carbon tax for home heating. An act that, according to him, would allow residents in Canada’s northern communities to have access to more funds.
In an interview with Energeticcity.ca, Zimmer elaborated on some of the stories he’d heard from residents of the north.
“We’re hearing stories of people budgeting to buy groceries or home heating,” Zimmer explained. “We heard another example yesterday where a senior made a decision to pay their rent instead of their medicine.”
Zimmer also said the carbon tax was a large reason for the inflation in the cost of living in the north, and it’s not just about heating homes.
“Carbon tax really causes an inflationary effect on everything because usually everything comes on rail or comes by truck. So it impacts us in the north even more.”
The carbon tax, more officially known as carbon pricing, is a federally regulated tax applied to carbon emissions.
Though the federal government has guidelines that need to be followed, it is ultimately up to each individual province whether it will create its own plan or follow the one the federal government has made.
Two provinces, British Columbia and Quebec, instituted their own carbon tax before the federal mandate. British Columbia instituted theirs in 2008, the first governmental body in North America to do so.
The carbon pricing system targets two areas, the first is the fuel charge— a tax levied on all fossil fuels sold. The second is a performance-based tax for industries— the more carbon a company puts out, the more carbon tax it pays.
The Government of Canada implemented the carbon pricing system to stay in line with the Paris Agreement and reduce carbon emissions. The long-term goal of the system is to help offset the environmental impacts of carbon emissions and spur innovation of greener alternatives.
However, those living in places like Fort St. John don’t have a choice when it comes to keeping warm in the winter.
Currently, the government of British Columbia has set its tax rate at $50 per tonne of emissions. Under this tax rate, natural gas receives a tax of 9.79 cents per cubic litre.
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