B.C. NDP wants rebate cash from carbon tax it opposes
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 | 9:36 PM PT
B.C.'s New Democrats may not like the Liberals' new carbon tax, but they'll take the cash that comes with it.
The NDP is asking British Columbians to donate the $100 carbon-tax rebate they'll be getting from the provincial government to its party coffers.
The so-called Climate Action Dividend is meant to offset the increased cost to consumers of the new provincial carbon tax, which will take effect July 1.
"Make your carbon tax count, and send your rebate cheque to B.C. NDP," the party's environment critic, Shane Simpson, said in an e-mail sent Tuesday to party supporters.
At the start of next month, the province will introduce a 2.4-cents-a-litre tax on gasoline, based on a $10-per-tonne tax on greenhouse gas emissions. Similar taxes on diesel, propane, natural gas and heating oil will also come into effect July 1.
Cheques for the rebate began arriving at the homes of B.C. residents this week. Every adult and child who was a resident of British Columbia on Dec. 31, 2007, is eligible for the rebate.
The government has been encouraging people to spend the cash to reduce their carbon footprint, such as by replacing old appliances or tuning up a rusting bicycle. Many environmental groups have also been appealing to the public to donate the cheques to their climate-change initiatives.
Now the NDP says it wants the cash — to fight the carbon tax.
"[Party leader] Carole James and the B.C. NDP are committed to taking bold action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," the NDP e-mail said. "But we need your help. Here's what you can do right now: join me, and donate your $100 tax rebate to the B.C. NDP.
"You'll be helping Carole James stop [Liberal Leader] Gordon Campbell and start making real progress on climate change."
The party's request for the cash seems to contradict James's own message that British Columbians "are already struggling with record high gas prices."
"With gas prices already so high, Campbell's gas tax will only make life harder for ordinary people around the province," said a B.C. NDP news release issued Tuesday. "And what's worse, Campbell's gas tax will do nothing to fight climate change."
James launched an "axe the tax" campaign last week, calling the carbon tax program unfair.
"Let's actually put a real action plan in place that gets at the big polluters that will reduce emissions and doesn’t hurt, once again, the little guy," James said on Monday.
Economists are debating the merits of the tax.
John Richards, an economist at Simon Fraser University, said the climate action dividend cheques and tax breaks for low income earners will help combat high gas prices.
The only way to get people to change their energy consumption habits is to make it more expensive, he said.
"To be blunt, there is no way to significantly reduce demand without increasing price," said Richards.
The NDP contends people who live in rural areas will be hurt by the carbon tax because they have to drive long distances, but an economist from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which is often sympathetic to NDP policies, disagrees.
"People who live in rural areas actually drive less than most people in the city, particularly people who live in the suburbs," said Marc Lee.
Corrections and Clarifications
- The carbon tax will include a 2.4 cents per litre tax on gasoline, not a 2.4 per cent as previously reported. June 25, 2008| 9:30 a.m. PT
Latest British Columbia News Headlines
- Vancouver airport CEO takes aim at cross-border travellers
- The new CEO of the Vancouver International Airport says his biggest challenge is to stem the flow of B.C. travellers heading across the border for cheaper flights. more »
- Police pepper-sprayed Abbotsford camp, says homeless woman
- A homeless woman in Abbotsford, B.C. has come forward to say she is behind allegations local police slashed and pepper-sprayed tents at a homeless camp. more »
- 4 Vancouver men aim to row the Northwest Passage
- Four Vancouver adventurers say they hope to spark discussion about climate change by attempting to become the first people to row the Northwest Passage this summer. more »
- Failed condo pre-sale deal costs Vancouver buyer $750K
- A man who signed a pre-sale contract for a luxury condo in Vancouver has lost almost three quarters of a million dollars after he failed to complete the final sale on the unit. more »
Top News Headlines
- Most groups don't want return of Trudeau speaking fees
- Most of the 17 charitable and other organizations that have paid speaking fees to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau during his time as an MP say they aren't interested in having their fees returned, despite Trudeau's offer on the weekend to reimburse any organization unhappy with his services. more »
- G8 leaders agree to 7-point plan on Syria as summit wraps
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the other G8 leaders reach a seven-point plan aimed at stopping the conflict in Syria, wrapping up a two-day summit in Northern Ireland following talks on trade, tax evasion, poverty and terrorism. more »
- Are e-cigarettes safe to puff?
- As electronic or e-cigarettes grow in popularity, some health advocates want them to be regulated. more »
- In Bangladesh's garment trade, empowerment comes at $20 a week
- The pay is laughable by Western standards, and the shantytowns of Dhaka offer a difficult life. But the surge of mostly young women into the country's increasingly important clothing industry is having a profound change on this largely Islamic society, Margaret Evans writes. more »
- Parents of son 'brutally beaten' playing hockey want charges
- Police slashed homeless tents, say advocates in Abbotsford, B.C.
- The class photo that made a father cry
- Teen killed at mill near Vernon identified
- Prison guard files murder trauma claim
- Pedestrian injured in parking spot row
- Death of boy in B.C. cancer ride 'heartbreaking'
- Failed condo pre-sale deal costs Vancouver buyer $750K
- Wolf seen running along mountain highway again