British Columbia

No increase in B.C. carbon tax before 2018, environment minister says

Environment Minister Mary Polak definitively said the carbon tax in B.C. would not increase before 2018, despite calls from some mayors.

'We promised industry and we promised British Columbians that there wouldn’t be a change until 2018'

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark waves after addressing a gathering during an LNG conference in Vancouver. Environment Minister Mary Polak says the province's carbon tax will not go up before 2018: “We promised industry and we promised British Columbians." (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak has ruled out any increases to the province's carbon tax before 2018.

After eight B.C. mayors and 130 businesses called for the tax to be increased and a coalition of Northeastern B.C. municipalities and businesses asked for it to be kept where it is, Polak decisively came down in favour of the latter group on Friday during an interview with On The Coast guest host Gloria Macarenko.

"We already have said that during our election campaign, and we continue to maintain that," she said. "We promised industry and we promised British Columbians that there wouldn't be a change until 2018, and there won't be."

Right now, B.C.'s carbon tax is $30 per tonne. Polak said increasing the tax to $40 a tonne would be "uncharted territory."

“We absolutely have to make sure that our businesses can stay competitive and this can be affordable for people," said Environment Minister Mary Polak. (CBC)
"We absolutely have to make sure that our businesses can stay competitive and this can be affordable for people, because it shows up on their gas bills," she said.

The B.C. government was criticized by this week by Merran Smith, a member of the government's own Climate Leadership Team, for inaction on the Team's 32 recommendations.

"They committed that they were going to come out with a climate leadership plan, and it's been delayed," Smith said. "What's most important is we need the government to act. You can't say you're a carbon leader if your carbon emissions are going up."

Polak says that all ministries are working on the Leadership Team's recommendations to put them into action, but did not address timelines on that action.

With files from On The Coast

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Despite calls from some mayors, B.C. will not raise carbon tax before 2018


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