One of the concerns I am increasingly hearing about is high gasoline and diesel prices at local gas stations.
This is understandable concern given that in Vancouver, gas prices are now the highest in North America.
Recently it has been reported that BC NDP Premier John Horgan plead with the Federal Liberal Government to “do something about soaring Metro Vancouver gas prices”.
In my view, this was an incredulous comment when one considers that on April 1st of this year, the BC NDP provincial government raised the carbon tax on gasoline and diesel, making it more expensive.
So, will the Federal Government intervene?
The short answer is no.
In Ottawa, the Trudeau Liberal Government is implementing a national carbon tax in Canada that will force all provinces to continue to raise carbon taxes across the board.
The only choice the provinces have is to either institute their own carbon tax/cap and trade system, or else the Federal Government will do so for them.
Ultimately the entire point of carbon taxes is to increase the costs to the point where consumers can no longer afford to burn carbon and will use less of it.
Supporters of carbon taxes believe this is the most effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Critics point out that carbon taxes unfairly penalize rural residents, who may not have alternatives such as public transit or availability of renewable energy in their area.
More recently, some believe that carbon taxes may disproportionately impact women and those who are on a fixed income.
So, the question to be asked is how much will a national carbon tax cost Canadians?
This is a question that we, as the Official Opposition, asked via a freedom of information request.
Unfortunately, the documents returned from the Department of Finance, on what the projected annual costs per household of the carbon tax would be, revealed nothing.
The actual amounts were all redacted by the Department of Finance and therefore hidden from Canadians.
Due to this highly questionable redaction, the Office of the Information Commissioner has now launched an official investigation to determine why the data about the financial costs of a carbon tax per household is not being released to Canadians.
As a result of this redaction, the Official Opposition tabled a motion in the House of Commons that read in part “given the Liberal government made a specific campaign promise to Canadians that "government data and information should be open by default, the House hereby order that all documents be produced in their original and uncensored form indicating how much the federal carbon tax proposed in Budget 2018 will cost Canadian families”
The motion, unfortunately, was defeated by the Trudeau Government, with assistance from the NDP.
In my opinion, if a Government is going to impose a tax on the citizens, there should be an obligation to be open and transparent on what the actual costs of the tax will be to Canadians.
This particular debate is not about should there be a carbon tax or not.
This debate is entirely about what the Department of Finance projects the cost to Canadians of a carbon tax to be.
My question this week is in two parts:
Do you believe Canadians are entitled to know what the Department of Finance projects the costs of this carbon tax will be?
Part two, why do you think the Trudeau Liberal Government is attempting to hide this data from Canadians?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.