Carbon copy taxation makes its way east

FREDERICTON — While industry continues to work with the B.C. government to adjust to the province’s new carbon tax, similar rumblings are being made in eastern Canada.

While Ontario recently revealed plans for a cap-and-trade system in lieu of carbon taxation, and Quebec has plans for a combination of the two, a couple of Maritime provinces are kicking around the idea of a carbon tax similar to B.C.’s new policy.

A recent discussion paper from New Brunswick Finance Minister Victor Boudreau had the province reforming the current tax system to include a carbon tax proposal, while Nova Scotia’s Environment Minister noted that pretty much everything is on the table at this point as they work toward a solution.

The Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association is concerned about the effects a carbon tax would have on the trucking industry.

“Here is a net effect: transportation costs would rise with increased fuel costs as a result of carbon taxes, prices of consumer goods and food would rise, inflation would then rise,” noted Peter Nelson, executive director of the APTA. “The proposed personal tax cuts would be offset by the increase in costs for food, clothing and medicine, all of which we import and arrive here by truck.”

According to the APTA, under the carbon tax regime in B.C. the average owner-operator will see their taxes rise by $500 per month or $6,000 per year based on 180,000 kms of travel per year. The tax returned for this small business person will be $100 to $150 per year.

“The long-haul trucking industry has invested millions of dollars over the last two years in new technologies that lower emissions and reduce our carbon footprint,” stated Nelson. “Our concern is that a carbon tax would cost so much as to stop or act as a disincentive to our industry to continue our voluntary strategy of investing in green technologies. The trucking industry is already operating under very slim margins and is not able to afford more taxes.”

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