NSBA Response to Carbon Tax Announcement
NSBA disappointed in decision to continue with a federal carbon tax
Saskatoon, SK – Today the federal government officially confirmed it will apply a carbon tax to the four provinces and two territories which have refused to implement a carbon tax of their own. This includes Saskatchewan, whose government has steadfastly opposed a tax on carbon at any price, a position that the NSBA supports. The NSBA believes the federal government’s decision is detrimental to the Canadian economy, its competitiveness and the business investment climate.
The provinces slated to fall under federal pricing represent 47% of the population of Canada. In many cases these jurisdictions have refused to implement their own carbon price in order to protect their business and investment climate, noting that jurisdictions that have implemented a carbon tax have also seen a downturn in business investment. Moreover, the carbon tax has had minimal impact on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in those jurisdictions.
The NSBA believes that solutions to climate change can be found through the natural and timely development of other energy sources rather than an artificial price on emissions. While the federal government has unveiled a rebate program designed to win over the popular vote, the tax will raise the costs of goods and services across industries and take more working capital out of the economy, which will negatively impact business’s ability to grow and invest. This is particularly worrisome for industries such as agriculture where it is almost impossible to pass on increased costs to consumers.
“We believe that a carbon tax will be extremely damaging to our economy that is primarily driven by natural resource development and agriculture,” said Keith Moen, Executive Director of the NSBA. “Even if passing costs to customers, businesses will see decreased revenues and some businesses won’t be able to pass on these costs at all. Money will come out of the economy and, eventually, so will businesses.”
The NSBA is also concerned about the government’s insistence that a carbon tax will encourage individuals and businesses to change their spending habits in a reality where such green alternatives are either prohibitively expensive, inefficient or non-existent. For example electric cars are currently unaffordable, unreliable, and frankly, dangerous in our Saskatchewan climate. At some point better technologies will become available, but to implement a carbon tax before that time is overly punitive, if not backwards.
“In order for the carbon tax to work as intended, there needs to be alternatives for businesses and consumers,” said Moen. “Right now, these alternatives are not on the market, or if they are they are extremely expensive. As always, the market will do as the market chooses. When these alternatives are available at an affordable cost then businesses will be able to make a smart decision, both economically and environmentally. Until then, a carbon tax is just a tax on being in business.”
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The NSBA is a member-driven and focused business association in Saskatoon that serves, promotes and protects business throughout Saskatoon and beyond. The NSBA has recently rebranded to be known simply by its acronym – NSBA – to reflect its current membership which has grown considerably beyond Saskatoon’s north end. The NSBA has developed its mandate and reputation by being a relevant, topical and effective organization that interacts with all levels of government and industry on a variety of issues for the betterment of our local economy.
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