On June 19, Liberal leader Stéphane Dion announced details of the “Green Shift” plan—a bold plan that puts a price on what we burn, not what we earn.
As long as it is free to pollute, it is easy to forget about the impact of that pollution on others. The true costs of pollution must be built into the decision-making process of every polluter.
The “Green Shift” plan is as powerful as it is simple. We will cut taxes on those things we all want more of, such as income, investment, and innovation, and we will shift those taxes to what we all want less of: pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste.
Environmentalists and economist agree the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to put a price on carbon. A new Liberal government will put a price on fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas, starting at $10 per tonne of carbon dioxide and rising to $40 per tonne over four years.
It is important to note that no new taxes will be levied on gasoline at the pump because Canadians already pay an excise tax on gasoline that’s equal to $42 per tonne of carbon dioxide.
The Liberal “Green Shift” plan will use the revenue generated through carbon pricing to provide Canadians with broad-based and progressive income tax cuts while also implementing measures to protect low-income Canadians and those who live in rural communities such as ours from rising energy costs.
The plan includes significant cuts to the first three rates of income tax; a new universal child tax benefit of $350 per child; an $850 increase to the Employment tax credit; an increase to the value of the Working Income Tax Benefit; and a credit of $150 for every rural tax-filer.
The plan also will include complementary regulations and incentives to Canadians for home retrofits, energy-efficient appliances and vehicles, low-carbon farm and forestry practices, and other ways to help Canadians reduce their environmental footprint, become more energy efficient, and save on their energy costs.
The “Green Shift” plan is completely revenue neutral. Every dollar raised from carbon taxes will be returned to the people of Canada in the form of tax cuts—and that commitment will be put into law and reviewed annually by the Auditor General.
The time has come to do what is right—not what is easy—for our environment and our future.
For more information, visit www.thegreenshift.ca