An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
A GREEN TAX on pickup trucks might seem like a great idea, or the dumbest thing ever dreamed up by government, depending on your point of view.
One thing is certain, though — such a tax would have a big impact on Canadians. Roughly one-in-four new auto sales in this country is a pickup truck, and all you have to do to confirm that is to drive down just about any street in town.
Trucks and SUVs have taken over from sedans and vans. In large metropolitan areas, of course, trucks are less popular because people don’t need them to haul stuff around as much as they do in a place like Kamloops.
Pickups are expensive to maintain and expensive to drive but, for many, they’re a necessity. For others, they’re for recreation and the fun of operating a big vehicle. And there’s the rub — a tax on pickup trucks used mostly for recreation or day-to-day personal commutes might be justifiable but less palatable for those who use trucks as farm vehicles or even household hauling.
Be that as it may, they’re gas guzzlers, part of the fossil-fuel problem. The prospect of a green tax on pickups has been raised by Conservative party leadership hopeful Pierre Pollievre, who claims the Liberals plan to “slap thousands in new taxes on anyone who buys a truck.”
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and others have joined the call, prompting the Liberals to deny they’re planning any such thing. The idea came within an obscure environmental report suggesting it as one way to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
But it’s not such a bad idea. Tax revenues — $1,000 on the new-sticker price for pickups, up to $4,000 for heavy-duty trucks — could help the transition away from fossil fuels. And, by the way, I drive a pickup truck, though it certainly isn’t new.
Something to think about, instead of anti-tax knee-jerk political reactions.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.