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Canadian Taxpayer Federation calls on Ottawa to rescind recent Carbon Tax hike

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From the Canadian Taxpayer Federation

Ottawa’s carbon tax hike out of step with global reality

by Aaron Wudrick, Federal Director and Franco Terrazzano, Alberta Director

(This column originally appeared in the Financial Post)

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has chosen to make life more expensive by increasing the federal carbon tax by 50 per cent amidst the COVID-19 economic and health crisis. Meanwhile, governments around the world are moving in the opposite direction because hiking taxes during a global pandemic is a bad idea.

Provinces have already tapped the breaks on their own carbon tax hikes. British Columbia Premier John Horgan announced that he would not be going forward with his planned April 1 carbon tax hike. Instead of mirroring the federal carbon tax hike, Newfoundland and Labrador is maintaining its tax at $20 per tonne. The price of carbon allowances in the Quebec-California cap and trade system have also fallen due to COVID-19 and the current macroeconomic realities.

The European Union’s cap and trade scheme, which applies to 30 countries, has also seen its carbon tax rate drop significantly. For most of 2019 and early 2020, EU carbon prices traded around €25 per tonne before nosediving to around €15 per tonne in March. The EU’s cap and trade carbon tax rate has fallen 32 per cent below its 2020 peak, according to the most recent data available on the ICAP Allowance Price Explorer. While the tax rate has increased since bottoming out, S&P Global Platts Analytics forecasts the COVID-19 shock keeping downward pressure on the cap and trade market.

Other counties are providing further carbon tax relief. The Norwegian government reduced its carbon tax rate on natural gas and liquified petroleum gas to zeroand will keep the rates below the pre-coronavirus level until 2024. Norway also deferred payments on various fuel taxes until June 18.

Estonia Finance Minister Martin Helme formally called for his country to consider leaving the EU’s cap and trade carbon tax system to provide relief. The prime minister later announced that Estonia would not seek to leave the EU’s carbon tax system, but the Estonian government lowered the excise tax on electricity to the minimum allowed by the EU and lowered its excise tax on diesel, light and heavy fuel oil, shale oil and natural gas.

“Due to the economic downturn, both people’s incomes and the revenue of companies are declining, but daily household expenses such as electricity or gas bills still need to be paid. To better cope with them, we are reducing excise duty rates on gas and electricity for two years,” Helme explained.

Outside of the EU, the United Kingdom is saving its taxpayers between £15 and £20 million per year by walking back its plan to increase its carbon tax top-up, New Zealand’s cap and trade tax rate has fallen by more than 20 per cent this year and South Africa pushed back carbon tax payments by three months.

It’s worth noting that it’s unlikely Canada’s carbon tax will have any meaningful impact on global emissions. Only 45 countries (out of 195 countries worldwide) are covered by a carbon tax, and only 15.6 per cent of total emissions are covered by these carbon taxes, according to the World Bank. Furthermore, about half of the emissions covered by carbon taxes are priced below US$10/tCO2e – significantly lower than Canada’s federal rate and too low to make a difference.

With Canada only accounting for 1.5 per cent of global emissions, it’s easy to understand Trudeau’s acknowledgement that, “even if Canada stopped everything tomorrow, and the other countries didn’t have any solutions, it wouldn’t make a big difference.”

Now more than ever, Canadian taxpayers need relief. With carbon tax burdens declining around the globe during the COVID-19 crisis, walking back the recent carbon tax hike should be a no-brainer for our federal government.

Province of Alberta replies to Joe Biden’s promise to cancel Keystone XL

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Canadian firm Just Energy warns of huge losses due to extreme Texas winter weather

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CALGARY — Shares in Canadian energy retailer Just Energy Group Inc. are falling after it warned it may not be able to continue operating due to hundreds of millions of dollars in losses because of extreme winter weather in Texas over the past week.

In a news release, the company says it is facing a loss of US$250 million (about C$315 million) due to high electricity prices during the unusually cold weather from Feb. 13 to 19.

It says its price of power in Texas was artificially set at US$9,000 per megawatt-hour for much of the week, resulting in a “substantial negative financial impact” unless there is corrective action by the government.

Just Energy shares were halted on Monday morning in Toronto. They quickly lost almost a third of their value after trading was opened again, falling as much as $2.42 to $4.86.

The company says it has delayed financial reports expected last week for the periods ending Dec. 31 until late this week, so it can better review and understand the impact of the Texas event.

Just Energy markets natural gas and electricity at a retail level under several brand names in jurisdictions in Canada and the United States, including Texas, Ontario and B.C.

“The financial impact of the weather event on the company, once known, could be materially adverse to the company’s liquidity and its ability to continue as a going concern,” Just Energy warned.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:JE)

The Canadian Press

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Business

Downtown Business Spotlight: Original Joe’s

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This week’s Business Spotlight shines on Original Joe’s Red Deer! This unique restaurant is located right at 4720 51 Ave.

What is your business?

We are a locally owned restaurant and pub; Down to Earth and Down the Street. On our menu you will find a variety of fresh takes on comfort food.  We’ve got something to satisfy beer lovers, wine aficionados, and cocktail enthusiasts alike. Our extensive drink menu includes solid classics, local and craft favorites, and enough new discoveries to keep things interesting. 

When did your business open?

November 1, 2005 

What makes your business unique?

We are all about good times, good friends and great food. A warm, down to earth place where old friends gather, new friends are made and everyone is welcome. 

What are some products/services that you offer?

We offer wholesome, delicious meals made with fresh ingredients prepped and prepared by hand – in house. We have everything from Nachos to Burgers & Wraps to Steak to Fish & Chips! 

What do you think makes Downtown vibrant?

This history and locally owned businesses!  Downtown is full of unique old buildings that are largely occupied by locally owned businesses. There is a feeling of community in Downtown Red Deer that is unusual for a City.  Downtown Red Deer is beautiful – City Hall Park, the Ross Street Patio, the lights, the cobblestone, and so much more.  

I love Downtown Red Deer because… it is the heart of our City! 

Website: 51st Avenue | Original Joe’s

Instagram: Original Joes’ Restaurant & Bar

Facebook: Original Joe’s | Facebook

Twitter: Original Joe’s (@originaljoes) / Twitter

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february, 2021

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