By Parry-Sound Muskoka MP Scott Aitchison
Most Canadians agree on the need for a credible climate change plan that legitimately will reduce greenhouse gas emissions while not crippling our economy. Many people believe that protecting the natural world must be achieved at the expense of our economy and bolstering our economy must be achieved at the expense of the environment.
Those of us living in the many communities of Parry Sound-Muskoka spread across a vast forest dotted by thousands of lakes and rivers reaching westward from the heights of Algonquin Park to the rugged shores of Georgian Bay, know that our home represents one of the best examples anywhere that the natural environment actually IS our economy. We must protect it locally and we must do our part globally.
This week the Conservative Party of Canada released its first credible plan to address climate change. It is an ambitious plan that has been analysed and tested by Vancouver-based Navius Research. The plan takes a new approach to achieving the results Canadians need and want.
The Trudeau government would have us believe that their ever increasing carbon tax is the only possible way to deal with climate change, yet as Navius Research has verified, the new Conservative plan will ensure Canada reaches our Paris Agreement targets without following through on Trudeau’s broken promise and increasing his carbon tax to $170 per tonne.
While a massive Liberal carbon tax may well be the most efficient method to reduce our emissions, even with Trudeau’s promised rebates, it disproportionally hurts lower-income Canadians living in rural areas.
Our plan will replace the Trudeau carbon tax with a ‘Low Carbon Savings Account’ for households and businesses, set at $50 per tonne. I had hoped we could eliminate consumer carbon pricing and I acknowledge that this system will be more complex than a tax and rebate system, but every dollar accumulated in this savings account will be available for households and businesses to spend on products and technologies to help them reduce their carbon footprint. I have come to accept that if carbon pricing must be part of the solution it should help Canadians instead of punishing those of us who cannot afford or do not have access to lower carbon tools for the necessities of life.
Our plan will maintain the ‘Output Based Pricing System’ for large industrial emitters, implements a ‘Renewable Gas Mandate’ policy based on the current program in British Columbia, implements a ‘Zero Emissions Vehicle Mandate’ also based on the system in use in British Columbia, replaces the Trudeau Clean Fuel Regulations with a ‘Low Carbon Fuel Standard’ similar to British Columbia policy and invests $5 billion in carbon capture and storage technology.
Our plan will implement flexible regulations that will permit the private sector to create innovative methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Navius Research has reported that the use of carbon revenue from the Low Carbon Savings Account will result in greater greenhouse gas emission reductions than would be achieved under a tax and rebate system… more effective than the Trudeau carbon tax.
The Conservative Plan to Combat Climate Change dramatically reduces the financial pain the Trudeau carbon tax inflicts on consumers while reaching our greenhouse gas emission targets and adds almost one per cent growth to our economy by 2030.
Achieving the emissions targets Canada has committed to while growing our economy, and reducing the financial pain imposed on those Canadians who can least afford it is a complex problem that we should not be lulled into believing is possible with higher taxes alone.
Some will argue that we must go further than the targets set by the Paris Agreement. That may well be true, but I firmly believe that our plan, which incentivises the entrepreneurial and creative power of Canadian business and individual Canadians, represents a far superior method of realizing the technology and tools to achieve this than making life oppressively more expensive for Canadians families.
I welcome a fulsome discussion and look forward to your thoughts.
(Photo of Parliament Hill by festivio on Pixabay. Photo of Scott Aitchison courtesy of Scott Aitchison.)
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