Trudeau carbon tax takes from the poor, gives to the rich


Liberals always claim they want to redistribute money from those with too much to those with too little.

Which raises two key questions about the new Liberal carbon tax: who will pay and who will get?

Let’s start with who will pay. The federal government has mandated a tax on carbon emissions, which will raise the price of anything that uses fossil fuels. Even carbon tax supporter professor Nicholas Rivers admits the tax will raise the prices of gasoline by 11 cents-a-litre, electricity by almost 10%, and natural gas by over 15%.

Because it will raise the price of fuel required to grow and transport our food, grocery bills will rise too.

Annually, it will cost $1028 per person, or $4112 for the average family of four, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Everyone will pay it. But because poor households spend a third more of their incomes on fuel, heat, and groceries than do rich households, those with the least will suffer the most.

For the same reason, a Statistics Canada official testified to the House of Commons Human Resources committee last month that increases in fuel and food prices lead to higher poverty rates.

The poorest families in Ontario have seen this movie before. Just look at the results of the so-called “Green Energy Act” in Ontario, which has thus far forced consumers to overpay by $37 billion to buy unneeded, unreliable, and overpriced electricity from well-connected wind and solar companies. Never has a government policy taken so much from so many to give to so few.

And the poor are suffering the most. Ron Dunn, the Executive Director of Windsor’s Downtown Mission has had people come to him to plead: “If you can help me with food, then I can pay for some of this hydro bill before it gets cut off.”

Skyrocketing prices are not an accident. They are a deliberate choice by the Liberal government, which pays wealthy solar power companies as much as 80 cents for a kilowatt-hour that is only worth 2.3 cents. The difference is passed onto consumers.

With the Ontario Auditor General predicting another $133 billion in these overpayments for electricity by 2032, the Ontario Liberal Green Energy Act likely represents Canada’s largest ever wealth transfer from the poor and middle class to the rich.

Soaring hydro rates are one of the reasons Ontario has the worst poverty record in Canada, since the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals took power. Between 2003 and 2014, the poverty rate dropped by one-third in British Columbia, the Prairies, Atlantic Canada and Quebec. It barely budged in Ontario, from 10.4% to 9.7%.

Over the same time period, Ontario had the largest increase of any province in the share of the population living on less than half the average income.

The national carbon tax will compound the suffering the Green Energy Act has already forced on the most vulnerable.

So who will get the money?

All revenues from the federally-mandated carbon tax will go to provincial governments, like Kathleen Wynne's. She has announced she will not use it to reduce other taxes, but to fund more environmental programs, like the one the CBC reported “gave taxpayer-funded rebates to five millionaires to buy one of the most expensive cars ever manufactured, the Porsche 918 Spyder.”

Expect more of this, as lobbyists for the wealthiest prepare to feast on money carbon taxes will generate.

Will the Liberal carbon tax redistribute wealth? Count on it: from those who can least afford it to those who least deserve it.

Pierre Poilievre, special to the Toronto Sun