VIDEO: Mixed Reaction to Federal Carbon Tax
While the new federal carbon tax has its skeptics, the President of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce sees it as an opportunity.
Rakesh Naidu admits the cost to business is significant, but he tells CTV Windsor the carbon tax could lead to new business ventures.
"There's green technologies that can be developed, there's innovative products that can be developed and that can be developed by some of our companies here," says Naidu.
Beginning April 1, the federal carbon tax will be imposed on four provinces that don't already have a pricing scheme for reduce greenhouse gases, including Ontario.
The federal government admits it will increase gas prices but that is not the only cost.
In these provinces the federal "backstop" carbon tax -- starting at $20 a tonne in 2019 and up to $50 per excess tonne by 2022 -- is being applied. As well, the federal cap and trade style plan for large emitters will be imposed in these provinces.
At the starting rate of $20 a tonne — the carbon tax is expected to cost the average Ontario household $244 this year.
In Ontario, the carbon tax rebate for an average family of four in Ontario will be $307 in 2019, increasing each year. Come 2022, the rebate for the average Ontario family of four will be $718.
In 2019 each single adult or first adult in a couple will receive $154; the second adult will receive $77, as will single parents for their first child; and for each child in a family the rebate will be $38.
Naidu also points out there is $1.45-billion in federal money to help support small businesses and impacted sectors.
He says that should help, but the plan still needs clarity.
"We appreciate the government's intention to help out," says Naidu. "We need to be clear in terms of we need more information in terms of how that will happen and how the money will flow."
Meantime, University of Windsor political science professor Lydia Miljan is skeptical about the plan.
"I think it's more political calculus because the economics don't make any sense," says Miljan.
Miljan tells CTV Windsor the government is going to have a big job in justifying the tax come election time in October.
"The last time I saw an actual policy be a ballot box issue was in 1988 when it was the free trade election so I think that's what this is shaping up to be but, again, a lot can change between now and then," adds Miljan.
Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer says the Liberal plan will not reduce emissions, rather it's a tax plan to raise government revenues.
While the government estimates the tax will cost the average Ontario household $244 this year — the environmental group Climate Transparency says the actual cost may be as high as $440 a year per Canadian.
— with files from CTV Windsor