SIMS: Carbon tax punishes Canadians for staying warm

In this file photo taken on November 20, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a Covid-19 pandemic briefing from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa.

Cold enough for ya?

All of Canada’s capitals were below the freezing mark during the latest cold snap.

Even Victoria had its ploughs pressed into service as snow smothered the cherry blossoms. Edmonton was at -34 C, Regina dipped to -39 C, and call-the-army Toronto hit -13 C. The Maritimes shivered through -14 C and something called “ice fog.”

Without natural gas, propane and furnace oil, millions of Canadians would have been freezing in the dark.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is jacking up the carbon tax over the next nine years which will punish Canadians for the grave sin of wanting to stay warm.

As one of the writers of the federal carbon tax legislation recently explained on the TV show Counterpoint, Trudeau’s carbon tax is meant to “punish the poor behaviour of using fossil fuels.”

At $30/tonne, natural gas currently carries a federal carbon tax punishment of 5.8 cents per cubic metre, the tax on propane is 4.6 cents per litre and furnace oil is taxed at 8 cents per litre.

What will life be like when Trudeau increases the carbon tax to $170 per ton?

Knit some long underwear.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has received hundreds of emails from people showing their heating bills along with messages like this one from Jane:

“I am having a difficult time keeping up with the increases, my thermostat is continuously set at 17 degrees, even in the minus 40 degree weather we have been having. I am wrapped in blankets and wear heavier clothing just to compensate.”

A family in Black Diamond, Alta., had a natural gas bill of $320 for one month from December to January of this year, carrying a carbon tax of $73.42.

After Trudeau’s carbon tax hike, that household will have to pay $394 in the carbon tax for that energy usage. But Canada has more than just one cold month of winter. From November to March, the carbon tax alone will cost that Alberta household an extra $1,579 for winter heating by 2030.

A family in Fenelon Falls, Ont., sent us their bill for 645 litres of furnace oil. The carbon tax is going to be jacked up to 47 cents per litre by 2030, so that small town couple will pay an extra $300 to stay warm for just one bill. The average Ontario household goes through about 1,700 litres of heating oil per year and within nine years that will cost about $792 extra per year in Trudeau’s carbon tax.

Then there’s propane. Thousands of low income people who live in mobile homes rely on propane for heating and cooking, and many rural people depend on it.

Elise uses propane in her East Hawkesbury century home in rural Ontario. She needed to get her tanks filled up twice during the deep freeze. Elise paid $44.47 in the carbon tax this February. She’ll have to pay $252 when carbon tax hits $170/tonne, even though her furnace is brand new and high efficiency. The average propane customer goes through about 2,500 litres of propane in a year and after the carbon tax increase, it will cost those homes about $658 extra.

Carbon tax cheerleaders, typically the well insulated and academic political set, say Canadians should simply go electric instead of using oil, natural gas and propane to stay warm. The fact is electric heat is not affordable for many households and our power grids don’t have the juice to both heat our homes and charge our electric vehicles.

Those counting on carbon tax rebates to magically put more money back in their pockets should take heed of the British Columbia carbon tax example on which the federal program was based. Rebates in B.C. evaporate when a two person working family hits an income $59,000 per year, far below the provincial average.

As we shiver our way to spring, Canadians should brace themselves for more punishment next winter.

Kris Sims is B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

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