Pasloski opposes Yukon carbon tax

Premier Darrell Pasloski has declared his opposition to a carbon tax for the Yukon, after news last week that the federal government plans to set a national minimum carbon price of at least $15 per tonne in the next six months.

Premier Darrell Pasloski has declared his opposition to a carbon tax for the Yukon, after news last week that the federal government plans to set a national minimum carbon price of at least $15 per tonne in the next six months. “We don’t support a new tax that’s going to raise the cost of living for Yukoners, where it’s already an expensive place to live,” he told the News.

This isn’t the first time the premier has taken this stance. A year ago, Pasloski came out swinging against then-Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s promise to put a price on carbon. He argued that consumption of fossil fuels in the North is a necessity, not a luxury.

But the issue is more pressing now, since a report in the Globe and Mail last week revealed that the Trudeau government is poised to establish working groups to agree on a national strategy by September.

The plan would set a national base price of $15 per tonne, which would increase each year. The provinces and territories that don’t currently have their own carbon pricing schemes would be expected to develop them.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has since emerged as a dissenting voice, arguing that it’s not the right time for a carbon tax, given the state of Canada’s energy sector.

Pasloski now seems to have allied himself with Wall, though he said there are other jurisdictions that also oppose a tax.

Pasloski’s main argument against the tax is that it would increase the cost of living for Yukoners, specifically by making home heating more expensive.

B.C., however, has had a revenue-neutral carbon tax in place since 2008. There, the revenue from the tax is returned to citizens through tax reductions.

But Pasloski said that design is problematic, because it unfairly targets people with low income.

“If they’re not paying tax now, what would happen is they would pay more for fuel, but because they’re not paying any taxes, they’re not getting anything back,” he said. “That is a big part of my argument as to why that doesn’t work in the Yukon.”

However, B.C. does have a refundable low-income climate action tax credit intended to offset the carbon tax for low-income individuals and families.

Still, Pasloski said it makes more sense for the Yukon to focus on advancing new technology instead of taxing consumption.

“That is another way that we can look at making our contribution to climate change and greenhouse-gas reductions without adding a new tax for people to pay.”

He also argued, as he has in the past, that 95 per cent of the electricity consumed in the Yukon is already renewable, thanks to the territory’s hydro power resources.

But NDP environment critic Kate White said that statistic is misleading.

“It’s disingenuous, because 78 per cent of Yukon’s overall energy dependence is on fossil fuels. And that comes from transportation and home heating. And he doesn’t talk about that.”

White said the Yukon needs to do a better job of measuring its own emissions and coming up with solutions, instead of falling back on the excuse that the territory generates less than one per cent of Canadian greenhouse-gas emissions.

But she wouldn’t go so far as to say the NDP would support a carbon tax in the Yukon.

“An NDP government, we would demand targets. We would have timelines. We would have a plan. And we would see that plan come to fruition. What that plan looks like now, I absolutely can’t speak to.”

Pasloski will meet with Prime Minister Trudeau and the other premiers in Vancouver on March 3 to discuss the climate-change strategy.

But he refused to say what he will do if Trudeau decides to enforce a minimum carbon price without buy-in from all the provinces and territories.

“That would speak opposite to part of the type of governance that the prime minister spoke about in his campaign,” Pasloski said, “about inclusiveness and working together.”

Contact Maura Forrest at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services building in Whitehorse on March 28, 2019. Three people who sat on Many Rivers’ board immediately before it closed for good say they were relieved to hear that the Yukon RCMP has undertaken a forensic audit into the now-defunct NGO’s financial affairs. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Former Many Rivers board members relieved to hear about forensic audit, wonder what took so long

Three people who sat on Many Rivers’ board immediately before it closed… Continue reading

Whitehorse General Hospital in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. The Yukon Employees’ Union and Yukon Hospital Corporation are at odds over whether there’s a critical staffing shortage at the territory’s hospitals. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
YEU, Yukon Hospital Corp. at odds over whether hospitals are understaffed

YEU says four nurses quit within 12 hours last week, a claim the YHC says is “inaccurate”

Two former Whitehorse Correctional Centre inmates, Ray Hartling and Mark Lange, have filed a class action against the jail, corrections officials and Yukon government on behalf of everyone who’s been placed in two restrictive units over the past six years. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Class action filed against Whitehorse Correctional Centre over use of segregation

Two former Whitehorse Correctional Centre inmates have filed a class action against… Continue reading


Wyatt’s World for Oct. 21, 2020

Movie poster for <em>Ìfé,</em> a movie being shown during OUT North Film Festival, which includes approximately 20 different films accessible online this year. (Submitted)
OUT North Film Festival moves to virtual format

In its ninth year, the artistic director said this year has a more diverse set of short and feature films

Triple J’s Canna Space in Whitehorse on April 17, 2019, opens their first container of product. Two years after Canada legalized the sale of cannabis, Yukon leads the country in per capita legal sales. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon leads Canadian cannabis sales two years after legalization

Private retailers still asking for changes that would allow online sales

A sign greets guests near the entrance of the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse on June 11. The city announced Oct. 16 it was moving into the next part of its phased reopening plan with spectator seating areas open at a reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
CGC reopening continues

Limited spectator seating now available

During Whitehorse city council’s Oct. 19 meeting, planning manager Mélodie Simard brought forward a recommendation that a proposed Official Community Plan amendment move forward that would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend, currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
More development in Whistle Bend contemplated

OCP change would be the first of several steps to develop future area

EDITORIAL: Don’t let the City of Whitehorse distract you

A little over two weeks after Whitehorse city council voted to give… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Northwestel has released the proposed prices for its unlimited plans. Unlimited internet in Whitehorse and Carcross could cost users between $160.95 and $249.95 per month depending on their choice of package. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet options outlined

Will require CRTC approval before Northwestel makes them available

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse. Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting instead of 30 days to make up for lost time caused by COVID-19 in the spring. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Legislative assembly sitting extended

Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting. The extension… Continue reading

Today’s mailbox: Mad about MAD

Letters to the editor published Oct. 16, 2020

Most Read