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Thread: Alberta Carbon Tax

  1. #1
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    Default Alberta Carbon Tax

    After thinking on it for a while, are there any studies to show if the Carbon Tax has reduced carbon emissions at all?

    Further to this point, if that is the entire point to the Carbon Tax, why was there not an added amendment to the legislation to allow consumers to choose where their power is provided from to avoid paying the tax on electricity? If the point is to reduce emissions, should I not be able to tell Epcor or Direct Energy that "Yes I want to buy electricity, but only from a solar or wind farm"? I think that would be the greatest push toward green energy that the governments are going for, although supply and demand for the green energy might make paying that carbon tax for coal generation cheaper however, the principal is sound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GranaryMan View Post
    After thinking on it for a while, are there any studies to show if the Carbon Tax has reduced carbon emissions at all?

    Further to this point, if that is the entire point to the Carbon Tax, why was there not an added amendment to the legislation to allow consumers to choose where their power is provided from to avoid paying the tax on electricity? If the point is to reduce emissions, should I not be able to tell Epcor or Direct Energy that "Yes I want to buy electricity, but only from a solar or wind farm"? I think that would be the greatest push toward green energy that the governments are going for, although supply and demand for the green energy might make paying that carbon tax for coal generation cheaper however, the principal is sound.
    You want to subscribe to power that is intermittently reliable to avoid a carbon tax? That's not going to work unless you have your own battery storage solution.
    All power users pay for a mix of generation, it's not viable to allow all consumers to opt into green power to avoid the carbon tax as it would destabilize the grid.

    Have emissions gone down? Doubtful as two thirds get a rebate and the tax is not extremely costly to the rest. What's the purpose of the carbon tax...where two thirds get a rebate? Debatable.
    It appears to be to fund economic diversification, fund various efficiency programs, get in front of the issue to box of a more expensive federal program, engage in some wealth redistribution (depending on your view of it and progressive taxation), buy some social licence and goodwill; which it probably did with some groups but will never change the most vocal environmentalists and certainly won't alter the rule of law to punch inter provincial projects through (this is purely federal jurisdiction).

    It has a purpose, what exactly that purpose is complicated and like any tax can be debated on if it's helping or hurting.

  3. #3

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    The rebate is irrelevant to the tax’s effectiveness as it’s not based on usage.
    We make our decisions. Asked on the total cost of energy, not just the carbon tax so with energy prices so low right the effect has probably Ben minimal. On the other hand that’s exactly the right time to introduce a new tax.
    There can only be one.

  4. #4

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    notley was asked in her year in review at the end of 2018 for any data that the ndp were tracking on the carbon tax and how much was saved. She mentioned they weren't tracking any carbon reductions. They have no data...

    This was crazy to hear.

  5. #5

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    Itís because the feds do it and the time and energy to amass and calculate the info is high. 2-3 years. Regardless this years reporting will cover 2017 and isnít released until later this year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander II View Post
    The rebate is irrelevant to the tax’s effectiveness as it’s not based on usage.
    I would argue that. If there is a rebate, your total cost is impacted, you don't see the actual burden of the tax at the end of the day and therefore are less likely to alter your behavior.

    But I admit that my thoughts on the carbon tax are that, if we are going to have, it should be that is a flat tax for everyone if it's truly about altering behaviors. At that point, it basically becomes PST with another name.

    I've heard lots of good arguments to the alternate of why it should be a progressive tax, but fundamentally the above is still my belief if it is truly about having everyone modify their behavior.

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    Does anyone know the likelihood of the Provinces being able to successfully court challenge the federal carbon tax and be able to opt out?
    Is it just a stall tactic to get to the next election in the hopes that a change of Government will quash a federal carbon tax?

    As it stands, I would much rather have an Alberta carbon tax, programmed and controlled here, than a federally mandated one.

  8. #8

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    Clause 3, Section 91 of the Canadian Constitution:

    91. It shall be lawful for the Queen, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate and House of Commons, to make Laws for the Peace, Order, and good Government of Canada, in relation to all Matters not coming within the Classes of Subjects by this Act assigned exclusively to the Legislatures of the Provinces; and for greater Certainty, but not so as to restrict the Generality of the foregoing Terms of this Section, it is hereby declared that (notwithstanding anything in this Act) the exclusive Legislative Authority of the Parliament of Canada extends to all Matters coming within the Classes of Subjects next hereinafter enumerated; that is to say,

    ---
    3. The raising of Money by any Mode or System of Taxation.


    https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/const/page-4.html

  9. #9

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    That they're applying the tax unevenly between provinces would seem problematic but the precedent is there with Quebec managing their own pension plan.
    There can only be one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kkozoriz View Post
    Clause 3, Section 91 of the Canadian Constitution:

    91. It shall be lawful for the Queen, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate and House of Commons, to make Laws for the Peace, Order, and good Government of Canada, in relation to all Matters not coming within the Classes of Subjects by this Act assigned exclusively to the Legislatures of the Provinces; and for greater Certainty, but not so as to restrict the Generality of the foregoing Terms of this Section, it is hereby declared that (notwithstanding anything in this Act) the exclusive Legislative Authority of the Parliament of Canada extends to all Matters coming within the Classes of Subjects next hereinafter enumerated; that is to say,

    ---
    3. The raising of Money by any Mode or System of Taxation.


    https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/const/page-4.html
    Yes, I asked about the likelihood of success in the courts. I think everyone realizes the federal government can impose taxes across Canada and set the rates...

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander II View Post
    The rebate is irrelevant to the tax’s effectiveness as it’s not based on usage.
    I would argue that. If there is a rebate, your total cost is impacted, you don't see the actual burden of the tax at the end of the day and therefore are less likely to alter your behavior.

    But I admit that my thoughts on the carbon tax are that, if we are going to have, it should be that is a flat tax for everyone if it's truly about altering behaviors. At that point, it basically becomes PST with another name.

    I've heard lots of good arguments to the alternate of why it should be a progressive tax, but fundamentally the above is still my belief if it is truly about having everyone modify their behavior.
    The rebate is so far detached from the carbon tax that I don't think it works the way you're saying. We will still see the effect on our heating bill and on the price of gas and will still have exactly the same incentive to conserve. You could imagine the rebates as a totally separate policy, like a embryonic guaranteed minimum income that happened to come along at the same tine, no different than how BC dropped other taxes when they brought their carbon tax in to make it revenue neutral.
    There can only be one.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kkozoriz View Post
    Clause 3, Section 91 of the Canadian Constitution:

    91. It shall be lawful for the Queen, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate and House of Commons, to make Laws for the Peace, Order, and good Government of Canada, in relation to all Matters not coming within the Classes of Subjects by this Act assigned exclusively to the Legislatures of the Provinces; and for greater Certainty, but not so as to restrict the Generality of the foregoing Terms of this Section, it is hereby declared that (notwithstanding anything in this Act) the exclusive Legislative Authority of the Parliament of Canada extends to all Matters coming within the Classes of Subjects next hereinafter enumerated; that is to say,

    ---
    3. The raising of Money by any Mode or System of Taxation.


    https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/const/page-4.html
    Yes, I asked about the likelihood of success in the courts. I think everyone realizes the federal government can impose taxes across Canada and set the rates...
    Seeing as the Constitution uses the words "The raising of Money by any Mode or System of Taxation.", I'd say that the likelihood of a successful challenge is pretty much zero. YMMV

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander II View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander II View Post
    The rebate is irrelevant to the taxís effectiveness as itís not based on usage.
    I would argue that. If there is a rebate, your total cost is impacted, you don't see the actual burden of the tax at the end of the day and therefore are less likely to alter your behavior.

    But I admit that my thoughts on the carbon tax are that, if we are going to have, it should be that is a flat tax for everyone if it's truly about altering behaviors. At that point, it basically becomes PST with another name.

    I've heard lots of good arguments to the alternate of why it should be a progressive tax, but fundamentally the above is still my belief if it is truly about having everyone modify their behavior.
    The rebate is so far detached from the carbon tax that I don't think it works the way you're saying. We will still see the effect on our heating bill and on the price of gas and will still have exactly the same incentive to conserve. You could imagine the rebates as a totally separate policy, like a embryonic guaranteed minimum income that happened to come along at the same tine, no different than how BC dropped other taxes when they brought their carbon tax in to make it revenue neutral.
    I'm not sure there really is a better way, if the rebate is detached that is in part because the opponents to the carbon tax are totally ignoring it as if it doesn't exist, sort of how it seems they also approach climate change. My understanding is the residents of the four provinces are getting the rebate upfront, which sounds like a fairly good deal to me.

    The problem with a flat tax is it would probably not benefit those at the lowest tax level already or whose income is low enough that they do not pay tax. These are probably the people who would be affected most by an increase in carbon tax - millionaires not so much, they can handle paying a bit more to fill their vehicles.

    Also, the reality is whether we use a direct method of tax like the carbon tax or some indirect method (like what Ontario used to have, but the PC's there recently got rid of) in the end the cost is borne by consumers. If what is now proposed by some is to just tax "large emitters", don't you think that cost will ultimately just be passed on to their customers too? I personally prefer the direct approach and think it is more efficient.

    I suppose they could also make the rebate cheques monthly rather than quarterly to make it clearer to people, but that wouldn't be as efficient and would cost a lot more.

  14. #14
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    It's too early to have much information on the impacts of Alberta's carbon tax and other programs. But it's been pretty clear in BC that per capita emissions/consumption have declined while economic growth continued: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/briti...-say-1.4758484

    Some will argue against BC's tax as not being effective enough or reducing emissions enough, which is kind of comical. Because it's quite clear that a $100 or $200/ton tax would significantly impact emissions, but would also hit certain people and industries really hard. So which is it? Is it totally ineffective? Or way too effective?

    The Economist noted B.C.'s economy had "kept pace with the rest of the country" since the introduction of the tax. In 2016, The New York Times declared the tax "worked as advertised."Research by University of British Columbia professors Werner Antweiler and Sumeet Gulati also found the carbon tax policy to be beneficial.
    "My research has shown unequivocally that it is effective," Gulati said. "In transportation, it has reduced gasoline consumption. It has made people buy more fuel efficient cars."
    In their 2016 paper, they found per capita gasoline demand in B.C. decreased by close to 15 per cent between 2007 and 2014. They note their findings are in line with other major academic research on B.C.'s carbon tax.


  15. #15

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    I think the planned $50/ton is a reasonable place to stop & hold to inflation. Higher than that and you need to start worrying about exporting high-emissions industries to places without a carbon tax.

    So we'll have to wait for more of the world to catch up, or we would need to institute a carbon tariff on goods produced elsewhere.
    There can only be one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander II View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Highlander II View Post
    The rebate is irrelevant to the tax’s effectiveness as it’s not based on usage.
    I would argue that. If there is a rebate, your total cost is impacted, you don't see the actual burden of the tax at the end of the day and therefore are less likely to alter your behavior.

    But I admit that my thoughts on the carbon tax are that, if we are going to have, it should be that is a flat tax for everyone if it's truly about altering behaviors. At that point, it basically becomes PST with another name.

    I've heard lots of good arguments to the alternate of why it should be a progressive tax, but fundamentally the above is still my belief if it is truly about having everyone modify their behavior.
    The rebate is so far detached from the carbon tax that I don't think it works the way you're saying. We will still see the effect on our heating bill and on the price of gas and will still have exactly the same incentive to conserve. You could imagine the rebates as a totally separate policy, like a embryonic guaranteed minimum income that happened to come along at the same tine, no different than how BC dropped other taxes when they brought their carbon tax in to make it revenue neutral.
    Not to beat this to death, because it's really just a difference of opinion but in my view; at the end of the day, you look at what you made and what you spend and if you have left over, you might spend again or say well I don't need to change a thing.

    I won't argue much that there might be some upfront discretionary adjustment if prices are up, but that is likely minor, if people have money that discretionary at the end, they are likely to go out and spend it.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    Itís because the feds do it and the time and energy to amass and calculate the info is high. 2-3 years. Regardless this years reporting will cover 2017 and isnít released until later this year.
    notley actually answered the reporter by saying that she wasnt aware if Alberta was tracking any data at all. If 3 years isnt a big enough number she would have stated that.. instead the question caught her off guard.

    How could our premier not have a basic understanding of any data tracking that was at least taking place.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by gwill211 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    Itís because the feds do it and the time and energy to amass and calculate the info is high. 2-3 years. Regardless this years reporting will cover 2017 and isnít released until later this year.
    notley actually answered the reporter by saying that she wasnt aware if Alberta was tracking any data at all. If 3 years isnt a big enough number she would have stated that.. instead the question caught her off guard.

    How could our premier not have a basic understanding of any data tracking that was at least taking place.
    I have not seen the clip nor witnessed the premiers answer. I couldnít possibly comment.

  19. #19

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    Interesting information from shell

    Shell urges Canadian oil lobby to support carbon pricing.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/she...mate-1.5081036

    They may pull out of CAPP unless they start supporting policy that better reflect todayís reality.

    They are pulling out of the US Petroleum Producer Association for its failure to support climate initiatives.

  20. #20

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    Albertaís Carbon Tax: what happens if itís scratched.

    https://apple.news/ACH-gyxTBTna1xgHTaaIWNw

    Sorry non Apple users.

    The article makes some great points like how we will trade a program we control for one the feds do. Itís rather unfortunate.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by gwill211 View Post
    notley was asked in her year in review at the end of 2018 for any data that the ndp were tracking on the carbon tax and how much was saved. She mentioned they weren't tracking any carbon reductions. They have no data...

    This was crazy to hear.
    It was an act of faith in expert opinion. That high prices deter consumption. (Elasticity has been largely ignored.)

    I recall the NDP arguing against the very same faith in expert opinion in other cases.

    The data should go back multiple years as the carbon tax was already in place under the PCs and long before the NDP expanded it. (Just heard that the old tax brought in about a billion dollars over ten years.)

    It is interesting that the UCP has clearly and irrevocably stated that they will kill the carbon tax meaning that the former large emitter’s carbon tax will also disappear under the UCP.


    Oops, sorry I guess the UCP does like carbon taxes.



    Jason Kenney says he supports a carbon tax — but only on major industrial emitters in Alberta
    Excerpt:

    “"One thing I've said is we would be comfortable, probably, going back to what we had as a levy — a tax — on major emitters, where the companies that produce the emissions actually paid into a research fund," Kenney said.

    This type of regulatory system was introduced in Alberta in 2007 by the Progressive Conservative government of Ed Stelmach and modified in 2018 by the current NDP government.”

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calga...ters-1.4652145
    Last edited by KC; 03-04-2019 at 07:49 AM.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    Does anyone know the likelihood of the Provinces being able to successfully court challenge the federal carbon tax and be able to opt out?
    Is it just a stall tactic to get to the next election in the hopes that a change of Government will quash a federal carbon tax?

    As it stands, I would much rather have an Alberta carbon tax, programmed and controlled here, than a federally mandated one.
    One potentially cycles the revenues within the provincial economy and the other potentially extracts the revenues then may return some proportion

  23. #23

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    Almost every legal scholar says the Provinces have no legal argument. The federal govt can tax whatever they want both direct and indirectly.

    The whole thing is just red meat for the base.

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by kkozoriz View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kkozoriz View Post
    Clause 3, Section 91 of the Canadian Constitution:

    91. It shall be lawful for the Queen, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate and House of Commons, to make Laws for the Peace, Order, and good Government of Canada, in relation to all Matters not coming within the Classes of Subjects by this Act assigned exclusively to the Legislatures of the Provinces; and for greater Certainty, but not so as to restrict the Generality of the foregoing Terms of this Section, it is hereby declared that (notwithstanding anything in this Act) the exclusive Legislative Authority of the Parliament of Canada extends to all Matters coming within the Classes of Subjects next hereinafter enumerated; that is to say,

    ---
    3. The raising of Money by any Mode or System of Taxation.


    https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/const/page-4.html
    Yes, I asked about the likelihood of success in the courts. I think everyone realizes the federal government can impose taxes across Canada and set the rates...
    Seeing as the Constitution uses the words "The raising of Money by any Mode or System of Taxation.", I'd say that the likelihood of a successful challenge is pretty much zero. YMMV
    Its not that simple. By that logic, the Federal Government could reintroduce the Chinese Poll tax, and it would be constitutional. A tax that impacts some citizens (Chinese ethnicity), but not others. In the same way, this a tax that impacts some citizens (Ontario, etc.), but not others (Alberta today, BC, etc).

    However, it appears the Federal is not arguing this is a tax (which would likely be found unconstitutional for the reason above), they are claiming it is a regulatory charge. Time will tell if they are allowed to discriminatorily apply that to some provinces and not others.

  25. #25

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    But the UCP supporters are willing to spend millions on the challenge and the inevitable appeals all the way to the supreme court where it will lose. They then get to say that the system is stacked against Alberta.

  26. #26

  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
    Yep.. red meat.
    It seems to me anyone who argues the Federal Carbon Tax is discriminatory because it applies to Ontario not BC or Alberta has a weak understanding of the situation because we actually have a carbon tax here too. Basically what has happened is the Federal government has delegated the Provinces to collect this tax, levy or whatever you want to call it. Some provinces have put forth an acceptable arrangement to do so, others have not. If the carbon tax was lower in BC or Alberta than in Ontario, perhaps then they could argue discrimination, but it is not.

  28. #28
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    The tax is discriminatory, both provincial and federal.

    How can you tax everyone and refund money to 2/3ís of the population? Are you telling me that only 1/3 of the population actually creates carbon emissions?? No, what it is, is a wealth distribution tax that is discriminatory against people who have larger incomes.

    Itís time that this country and province stop punishing those who go out and earn more for their families. All you do by that is teach people to settle for low paying jobs so that they avoid taxes.

  29. #29
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    There's a lot of research to support the proposition that people with higher incomes do create more carbon emissions. Higher income Albertans live in bigger houses, drive more, fly more often, and consume more. The rebates are delivered through the income tax system and provide the same incentive for low and modest income households paying the carbon levy to reduce their energy use as they do for high income households.

    My wife and I are both in our mid-60s. We are both still working and have never received the rebates. And I'm fine with that. We are fortunate to have a high enough disposable income to fund energy efficiency improvements on our own, while households with lower incomes can use the rebates to fund these improvements.

  30. #30

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    ^^It works just like CPP vs. Quebec’s version. Quebec does it on their own so the feds don’t collect from Quebec era. It’s been that way as long as i’ve Been paying taxes so i’d Have to assume it’s constitutional.
    There can only be one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by East McCauley View Post
    There's a lot of research to support the proposition that people with higher incomes do create more carbon emissions. Higher income Albertans live in bigger houses, drive more, fly more often, and consume more. The rebates are delivered through the income tax system and provide the same incentive for low and modest income households paying the carbon levy to reduce their energy use as they do for high income households.

    My wife and I are both in our mid-60s. We are both still working and have never received the rebates. And I'm fine with that. We are fortunate to have a high enough disposable income to fund energy efficiency improvements on our own, while households with lower incomes can use the rebates to fund these improvements.
    You might be fine with transferring your wealth to another family, however I am not. We both know those people who collect the rebate are not using that money to be more energy efficient.

    There should be zero penalty for making more money, be it Carbon Tax or Income Tax.

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