Regardless of whether you think Canada needs a carbon tax, the Liberals owe Westman taxpayers the cold hard truth about what it will cost. No taxation without information. It’s not a revolutionary idea: if the government wants to introduce a new tax they have an obligation to tell you what it’s going to do to your wallet and our economy.
One would think that Prime Minister Trudeau would want to share information regarding his carbon tax plan as not only is this a significant change in policy; it is their flagship environmental initiative. However, after many attempts to get the financial analysis, the Liberals have repeatedly refused to release the information. It begs the question, what are they hiding?
Now since the Liberals unilaterally announced a carbon tax on the provinces, a lot of folks have stopped me in the street or at the grocery store to raise their concerns about what the Liberal carbon tax will cost them. Even the most devout Liberal partisans believe they should release the information.
I remember one specific conversation with a young couple who live outside of Brandon but drive into the city every day to work, shop and run errands. They drive hundreds of kilometers every week out of necessity and take every possible measure to keep their fuel bill manageable. Once their income is taxed, groceries are purchased, and they pay their bills, there isn’t a whole lot left. They would like the Liberals to be forthright with them and spell out exactly how much more money will be taken out of their family’s budget. This is not an atypical story, in fact many families in Westman live paycheck-to-paycheck and can relate with this young couple.
Another constituent who happens to be living on a fixed income and is on CPP disability, called the other day and wanted an explicit breakdown of how much more money this carbon tax will cost her. I wish I had a better answer than saying, I’m sorry I really don’t know as the Liberals won’t tell us. I could only refer to a few reports that have provided estimates on what a $50-a-tonne on carbon will cost.
As a Member of Parliament who represents thousands of taxpayers with similar concerns, I believe we need to seek out the truth. Our Conservative Caucus have obtained a heavily redacted Finance Canada document, which warns of a cascading effect on prices that consumers, families, and businesses will pay as a result of this new carbon tax. Those documents reference data tables in which those costs are laid out for families, broken down by income quintile: the very poor, the poor, the middle class, the upper middle class, and the very rich. We believe this information, without anything being blacked out, should be shown to Parliament and be released to the public.
What we do know is that a Statistics Canada official recently testified at a House of Commons committee and stated that any increases in fuel, food, and other basic necessities increased the number of people living below the poverty line. Even carbon tax supporters readily admit that the tax will raise the price of gasoline by 11 cents a litre, electricity by another 10%, and natural gas by over 15%. And according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, it will cost $1,028 per person, or $4,100 per family of four.
I think we can all agree that the Liberal’s should be open and transparent about the true costs of this new tax. We know they have estimated costs of this carbon tax and we all deserve to see the information. They should table their financial analysis on the impact of their carbon tax on Westman taxpayers. It’s the least they can do before taxpayers have to fork over even more of their hard-earned money.