Oil subsidies explained

Oil subsidies explained I wish to thank Richard Corbet for his letter to the editor published on April 15. It asked me to clarify questions around oil and gas subsidies and how we can best shift the energy economy to renewables. For all of my sources, I

I wish to thank Richard Corbet for his letter to the editor published on April 15.

It asked me to clarify questions around oil and gas subsidies and how we can best shift the energy economy to renewables.

For all of my sources, I will quote the Canadian government.

Last year, the Canadian Department of Finance outlined our current oil and gas subsidies as tax incentives (accelerated capital cost allowance credits) and flow-through shares, which benefit investors.

In fact, in a memo, the deputy minister of Finance urged Jim Flaherty, the minister of finance, to remove these subsidies.

The deputy minister suggested removing the subsidies would make sense, “on both economic and environmental grounds.”

The recommendation to remove the subsidies “was supported by Minister Jim Prentice (then-minister of the environment) in his pre-budget 2010 letter.”

However, the Canadian government decided not to remove these oil and gas subsidies.

As Canada begins the move to renewable energy, removing oil and gas subsidies will help to level the energy playing field.

All four of the national political parties agree that we need to shift to a smart, clean energy economy.

How to get there?

The Conservatives, Liberals and NDP all propose a cap-and-trade system.

Many people don’t know how a cap-and-trade system will work.

Just ahead of the last election, Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated publicly that their cap and trade “will effectively establish a price on carbon of $65 a tonne.”

In other words, for the average Canadian, cap and trade will end up being a carbon tax. The three old parties don’t like to explain this very clearly to Canadians.

Another thing that isn’t explained well is that cap and trade will have lots of loopholes. A straight price on carbon would be better, more effective and more efficient.

The Green Party is not only proposing a carbon tax, but right within our budget we show that the money we raise will go straight back to Canadians: reducing our payroll taxes (for employees and employers), and income taxes for families and individuals.

As Canadians, we should be asking the other parties how they plan to offset the tax raised by their cap-and-trade systems. Or do they?

Several years ago, before I was a political candidate, I was asked to be the keynote speaker at the Northern Oil and Gas Best Practices Symposium.

I said then, as I do now, that energy efficiency is key, and that we would need to start accounting for the cost of emissions.

A direct price on carbon is preferable to a hidden/regulatory price on carbon. It will stimulate more creativity within industry and the marketplace.

Even though I was talking tough on the issue, following the talk, I was invited by both the industry and the Alberta government to work for them. I said no.

I would rather work for the Yukon. As our MP.

John Streicker

Green Party candidate

Whitehorse