NATIONAL PULSE – Support for carbon tax on the decline as reality sinks in

(Image: Angus Reid Instittue)


A new study from the Angus Reid Institute indicates Canadian support for federal carbon pricing has cooled as the issue morphs from plan to reality.

Several provinces have already implemented their own emissions reduction plans – either through a carbon tax or cap and trade – in order to reduce emissions in order to meet targets set by the ratification of the Paris accord.

But at least half of the population in every region outside of Quebec tells the Institute it is opposed to Ottawa’s program of setting a mandatory nationwide carbon price for provinces who fail to create their own acceptable plan.

This study also finds a substantial number of Canadians would like to see their own provincial leaders push back against the federal carbon pricing minimums.

Four-in-ten Canadians – including slim majorities in Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick – say their provinces should resist federal standards, which call for a minimum tax of $10 per tonne in 2018, rising to $50 per tonne by 2022 – an addition of approximately 11 cents on a litre of gas at the 2022 rate.

Key Findings:

  • Opposition to carbon pricing is strongest in Alberta (68%) and Saskatchewan (71%). Seven-in-ten residents in each province oppose the Trudeau government’s plan
  • Four-in-ten Canadians (38%) say they would prefer if their province undertook its own carbon pricing plan, while one-in-five (19%) say their province should do nothing and allow the federal government to manage carbon pricing in their region
  • One major concern for more than half of the population is cross-border industry competitiveness. More than half of all Canadians (55%) say that this country should not proceed with its carbon pricing plan if it creates a competitive disadvantage with American businesses. This, after President Trump announced his country would be leaving the Paris Agreement to limit emissions

Link to the poll here:

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2 Comments on NATIONAL PULSE – Support for carbon tax on the decline as reality sinks in

  1. And in another poll, 8 out of 10 Canadians state that they really hate going to the dentist. (Note, 85% of statistics are made up on the spot… 😉 )

    Going to the dentist means you won’t suffer the greater pain of multiple extractions, implants and all the other fun stuff that results from not taking care of your teeth properly in the first place.

    Of course carbon tax will be met with opposition and resentment. Nobody wants to pay more than they have to. And they don’t want their ‘business as usual’ economics to change. However, the reality is that we need to reduce our carbon production (in a very big way) and begin steering the ship towards future energy realities. Other countries are already doing this (China for one) because they know the future economic winners will be the ones who’ve transitioned to clean energy first. Will there be discomfort along the way? Most certainly. But it’s short term pain on the way to long term gain. Unfortunately, many don’t realize that we actually don’t have a choice.

    And that’s why it often takes a responsible parent to get the kids to the dentist. Just because that Trump kid next door throws a tantrum and refuses to go doesn’t make it acceptable for us to follow suit. If anything, his behavior confirms that we must go.

  2. I donno Mel,

    The ‘Key findings’ alone show the holes in this poll, as interpretation is everything;

    – Of course opposition is strongest in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Neither of them want anything to decrease the profits from extraction and transport, and a carbon tax digs directly into profit margins. They will probably need to be dragged into the carbon deal kicking and screaming.

    – “Four-in-ten Canadians (38%) say they would prefer if their province undertook its own carbon pricing ”
    … well … ya, thats why the Feds provided latitude for each province to institute their own carbon tax or cap and trade system. The feds could have lowered the boom on a carbon tax on all without wiggle room or choice, as a way to meet Paris, but they didnt.

    – If Trump is going to alter the playing field by scrubbing US costs like this, its going to affect all other producers, including Canada. We simply can not compete with that on the open market.

    The thing is, we know the US actually ‘needs’ our oil, so they will pay what they have to, including our carbon tax costs increases. They will whine about it, but they will pay it. Our task is to open up to other markets and leverage our industry so we are not so beholden on the US market in the future.

    At the same time, we stand fast on our Paris targets … as its the right thing to do.

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