Fighting for common sense to prevail over carbon tax

‘If the objective is to reduce carbon in the air, and we have a plan to do that, then why do we need a tax?’

One chicken looked at another chicken on the opposite side of the road and asked, “Can you tell me how to get to the other side of the road?”

The other chicken yelled, “You’re already there, you fool!”

Discussion about the carbon tax is similar to the conversation between those two birds. It’s been a hot topic for a long time, hot enough to cause climate change all on its own. However, what’s being said about it varies a great deal, depending upon the source of the information.

According to the World Bank Group, Canada is one of four countries at the forefront on carbon pricing developments in the Americas. This statement is not reassuring, considering all the controversy we are hearing about carbon pricing.

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The World Bank Group also made this observation, “They (Canadian government) begin to capture the external costs of carbon emissions – costs that the public pays for in other ways, such as damage to crops and health care costs from heat waves and droughts or to property from flooding and sea level rise – and tie them to their sources through a price on carbon. A price on carbon helps shift the burden for the damage back to those who are responsible for it, and who can reduce it. In this way the overall environmental goal is achieved in society.”

It sounds like they’re saying specific groups will be singled out to pay for damage caused by heat waves, drought and flooding. Their logic seems to be interpreted as a price on carbon will be an incentive to reduce emissions, which will result in the reduction of heat waves, drought and flooding. But is the solution that simple?

The director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is not impressed. He says, “A carbon tax will leave Saskatchewanians with less money and make it harder to find jobs, but it won’t help the environment.”

He continues to say, “We’re going to get more money back because our neighbours are going to get hit with a higher price when they’re filling up their skid-steer or whatever with diesel; that’s really unfair.”

The president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan says farmers already try to save energy costs as much as possible and a carbon tax doesn’t mean they can change their behaviour.

The Environment Minister in Prince Edward Island said, “If the objective is to reduce carbon in the air, and we have a plan to do that, then why do we need a tax?” It’s a question many Canadians are asking.

Statistics show two-thirds of Canadians believe it should be the provinces that determine the appropriate path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Given the diversity of each province, it’s an extremely valid observation.

Research shows Saskatchewan has done its homework when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By doubling its renewable power, it has invested in the first commercial power plant in the world with a post-combustion carbon-capture system. Carbon intensity in agriculture has been reduced through zero-till technology. Saskatchewan-made air drills are reducing tilling-related greenhouse gas emissions on farms in Saskatchewan and all around the world.

Our province is a leading exporter of lentils, peas and chickpeas, crops that fix nitrogen, use less fertilizer and have a lower carbon footprint. Meanwhile, Saskatchewan industries are more environmentally responsible than many of their competitors around the world.

That is a condensed explanation as to why Saskatchewan citizens support a fight against the carbon tax. Premier Scott Moe said, “We should give the provinces the freedom to develop climate change policies that actually work, without a federal carbon tax.”

It’s a comment that resonates with many Canadians, not because it originates from the conservative camp, but because it’s logical and is validated by technology and practices that are reaping positive results. However the millions of ranting comments on social media would be far more effective if they were traded in for well researched emails to our government officials. Because at the end of the day, Saskatchewan’s carbon tax court challenge will also be a fight for common sense to prevail.

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