British Columbia

Carbon tax freeze part of B.C. Liberal election pledge

Premier Christy Clark said British Columbia's carbon tax will be frozen at current rates of around seven cents per litre of gasoline sold if the Liberals are re-elected May 14.

Premier Christy Clark said British Columbia's carbon tax will be frozen at current rates if the Liberals are re-elected May 14.

creeping tax scale was introduced five years ago to have residents reduce their use of carbon emitting fuels by one-third by 2020. Almost seven cents is added to every litre of gasoline sold in this province now, or the equivalent of $30 per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted.

Clark says current economic conditions don't allow for further increases.

"Now we're at a point where people are finding it really difficult to afford to live in British Columbia and other places and people are concerned about their future, and with an unstable world economy we have to work hard to keep life affordable for people," she said.

"Freezing the carbon tax for five years is part of my commitment."

NDP environment critic Rob Fleming calls the move an admission of failure by the government, saying freezing the rate for half a decade will ensure B.C. doesn't meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

"If they're going to suspend one of the major tools to achieve carbon reductions in British Columbia — carbon pricing — for five full years, then they have basically given up on their climate reduction targets and they should make that clear. Be honest about it," he said.

The NDP has previously promised to raise corporate tax rates to allow some carbon tax revenue to be used for local transit projects, but it won't say yet what else an NDP government would do with overall carbon tax rates.

With files from CBC's Stephen Smart, Chad Pawson and The Canadian Press