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No more tax increases


As we step into April, residents of Kelowna might be bracing themselves for the typical lighthearted pranks and jokes that come with April Fool's Day. 


Unfortunately with BC’s carbon tax going 23% on April 1st, there won’t be much to joke about.


Some quick background. The BC carbon tax applies to fossil fuels like gasoline, diesel, and natural gas, which are integral to our daily lives, not only for personal transportation but also for heating our homes and powering our industries.  The BC Liberals, under Premier Clark, held the then revenue-neutral tax at $30 a ton until 2017. 


In 2017, the NDP started to increase the tax and rather than keep it revenue neutral, made it a tax that went into general revenue. In 2021, then premier John Horgan, agreed to sign onto the federal plan to raise the carbon tax to $170 per metric tonne by 2030. So every year, on April 1st, the carbon tax goes up in BC.


This year the carbon tax will rise from $65 a tonne to $80 a tonne, costing 18 cents a litre of gas, 21 cents a litre of diesel and 15 cents a cubic metre of natural gas.


The consequence is an unavoidable uptick that affects virtually everything, from the groceries we buy to the services we depend on.


So, while 9,097 went to the Central Okanagan Food Bank in January — a record by the way — and 9,000 people in February, the premier sees fit to pile on another tax increase. 


The sting of the carbon tax hike is felt most acutely by those who have no real alternatives.


Consider the families and individuals in Kelowna who rely on natural gas for heating. The alternatives—such as electricity or renewable sources—are not always viable due to infrastructure limits or the significant upfront costs associated with making the switch. 

Similarly, for many, driving isn't a choice but a necessity, dictated by the lack of public transportation.


The trucking industry exemplifies the broader impact of the carbon tax increase. Trucks are the lifelines of our economy, responsible for moving goods from manufacturers to stores and ultimately to consumers. As the carbon tax rises, so does the cost of trucking. 

This tax increase doesn't just affect the trucking companies; it cascades down to the price of every product transported by these trucks. From fresh produce to household goods, everything becomes more expensive.


The irony is that the trucking industry, critical as it is, has few feasible alternatives to diesel-powered vehicles at the moment. The technology for electric or hydrogen trucks, although promising, is not yet at a stage where it can replace diesel engines across the board.


The issue with the carbon tax is that it isn’t about the goal of reducing carbon emissions—it is now a tax that goes directly into general revenue. There are other ways to reduce carbon emissions that don’t involve a regressive punishing tax increases on the general population.


The government will argue that they offer a ‘Climate Action Tax Credit’ to offset the costs of the carbon tax. Not only does this tax credit woefully inadequate to cover the true costs of the carbon tax, it doesn’t apply to many families because of the income eligibility. 


Under the NDP, BC pays the highest net carbon and fuel taxes in Canada, west of Quebec.


There is no tax credit offered to small and medium businesses in BC.


Right now, half of Kelowna’s residents are only $200 away from insolvency, 50% of our restaurants aren’t profitable, our farmers aren’t able to make money, and people are no longer able to make ends meet. 


It is the worst time for a tax hike. Especially one that affects the price of everything.

Last week, BC United Leader Kevin Falcon joined calls from 7 other premiers to stop the April 1st carbon tax hike and provide relief to Canadians struggling. 


David Eby’s response to these requests has been to scoff and scorn.


It's time for a more balanced approach that safeguards both our environment and our economy.


My question to you is this: How does this carbon tax increase affect you?


I love hearing from you and read every email you send. 


Please email me at Renee.Merrifield.MLA@leg.bc.ca or call the office at 250-712-3620.

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