Implementing a carbon tax was part of the Liberal platform in our recent territorial election, so it should come as no surprise that our new premier signed on to Trudeau’s national carbon tax plan. But this close to Christmas, Justin Trudeau must have been hearing silver bells.
Premiers Brad Wall and Brian Pallister did not sign. Christy Clark also refused to sign until she got a promise of carbon tax equity so that B.C. would not be competitively disadvantaged.
Premier Clark said she had to represent the interests of B.C. But should not her raising the issue of equity among the provinces also have begged the question of equity with regard to mean temperatures and geographic realities such as remoteness and relative access to ports, commercial and government services, food and fuel supplies and transportation options?
Vancouver has green lawns and magnolias blooming in January. We have five months of tough sledding and five months of winter with temperatures often dropping to -30C or lower which means we have to burn a lot more fuel. So, should there not be an adjustment for Yukon to equalize our average temperatures with those of the south? Of course there should be, but as far as we know, our new premier said not a word about equity for the North before he signed on.
As a motherhood statement most of us can probably agree we ought to strive to reduce our carbon emissions. Most of us would probably also agree that we can all do at least a bit better in that regard, but let’s apply reason given the reality that Canada only accounts for 1.6 per cent of total world CO2 emissions. The Yukon’s share is negligible. Moreover, the reality is that China, India and other countries (including Japan since Fukishima) are building coal-fired power plants with reckless abandon and vastly overwhelming any modest CO2 saving we might achieve.
Does that mean we should do nothing? Probably not, but how about Premier Silver and the members of his government take a page out of Christy Clark’s book to reflect upon whose interests they are there to represent, then fighting for fairness for Yukon and the other territories?
Frankly, fairness would probably lead most reasonable people to conclude that we should not be subject to any carbon tax at all.