LLOYD KERRY: Tax the big polluters, not working people

Agriculture, transportation account for 65 per cent of P.E.I.'s greenhouse gases but will be exempt

Published on August 12, 2017

Is there a more hated word than ‘taxes’? OK, ‘bank fees’ but that’s two words. The thing I hate most about taxes is that I have to pay them.  

It’s not an option. And a new tax means I will have less money to spend. That means I spend less at local businesses and that is not good for the economy.
The other thing I hate about new taxes is it seems to indicate a new lie by our leaders (I can say ‘lie’, I’m not in the legislature where there is a list of unacceptable words). For example, take Robert Ghiz and the promise in the 2011 election not to introduce HST to P.E.I. OK, he says it was another Liberal. Same difference. It got ‘introduced’ (political term for ‘open your wallet’).
Then those same Liberals (I forget which one) promised not to increase HST in the 2015 election. It got increased.
Let’s leave the past behind and move to the now in Canada. Sunny Ways Trudeau, king of the selfie and photo-op stood on the world stage in Paris and said Canada was going to save the world from climate change. Everybody loved his smile and his socks and thought all is right with the world. King Wade of the MacLauchlan clan said he would follow his leader and bring the carbon tax to P.E.I.
That’s where my blood pressure begins to rise. At the time MacLauchlan said we will have a carbon tax, CBC reported (Dec. 2016) “Agriculture and transportation accounts for 65 per cent of P.E.I.'s greenhouse gas emissions, but MacLauchlan said gas in the fishing and farming sectors will be exempt.” Exempt? This shows you how serious an approach he’s taking in the climate change issue.
While we’re looking at the Island government’s climate change fight, let’s look at the two main producers of carbon here on P.E.I. The first is energy used in heating our homes and businesses. Remember the winter of 2015? Climate change, my butt. This cold weather is a given and we can all pat our politicians on the back when they suggest we buy more caulking for the windows in the homestead.
I tried to do something about it in 2015; I got rid of my oil-spill-waiting-to-happen oil tank and my carbon-belching oil furnace and went with propane. Much cleaner, no chance of a spill. Instead of a thank you letter from the premier for producing less pollution, I get a kick in the teeth in the form of 10% more taxes on my energy source. Huh? Aren’t we trying to save the planet here? I asked my MLA, Doug Currie, if they were going to remedy this. He said I wasn’t in the 95 per cent of Islanders who use oil. Excuse me?
Recently, local news has been talking about the electric vehicle efficiencyPEI. is touring around the Island. Green Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker wants the province to bring back financial incentives, removed several years ago, to purchase electric and electric/hybrid cars.
The MacLauchlan government has said ‘they are considering this as part of their climate change strategy’. What that says to me is that if subsidies are brought back, they will be paid for by a carbon tax on gasoline. This money will come out of the pockets of many low-income working Islanders who can barely afford to put overpriced gas in the family car now. This tax money will go into the pockets of those who, for the most part, can afford that shiny new electric car without financial aid. Fair? You tell me.
So, Mr. Premier, if you bring in a carbon tax, tax the right people. Tax those who produce the most pollution, the big businesses, not working people. These companies claim fuel taxes on their corporate income tax. We working people cannot.
And working people vote.

- Lloyd Kerry, Charlottetown has been a P.E.I. taxpayer for over 40 years with a strong concern for Island working people.