Average Ont. family of 4 to receive $307 in carbon tax rebates

Average Ont. family of 4 to receive $307 in carbon tax rebates

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlined details of the rebates Tuesday, as part of a hard sell of the government's emabttled Climate Action Incentive.

In Manitoba the carbon tax rebate for a family of four will be $339 in 2019, rising to $801 in 2022.

"The effects of climate change are everywhere, and they are a constant reminder of the need to act now", he said in a statement, citing recent heat waves, floods and forest fires.

"Will we kick this can down the road yet again to be dealt with in another place or at another time or will we show some courage and do what needs to be done for this generation and the next", he said.

That was a key word Trudeau emphasized as he made the announcement. Trudeau promised a national price on carbon in the 2015 campaign.

Not only have emissions not come down in British Columbia - the reason for the tax - but the tax itself has turned into a cash cow for the province.

In 2017, he gave them nearly a year to come up with a plan of their own that met federal standards. Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick have not complied and will have a federal carbon levy on fuels as well as a cap-and-trade style of system for large industrial emitters imposed on them.

May said the science is clear: pricing carbon is the most effective way to curb emissions.

Ottawa plans to mail out rebate cheques to compensate people in provinces without a plan.

Provinces that don't meet the federal standard of having a carbon price of at least $20 per tonne of emissions by January 1 will have Ottawa's plan forced on them. Payments will be determined based on family size. Those living in rural areas will get 10 percent more than those in cities, due to the extra energy they use, and the lack of public transportation which requires them to use more fuel.

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When iPolitics finished asking whether the rebates are a way to get voters on board with the idea of a carbon tax, Trudeau maintained it's only about helping families transition to a new normal.

Ottawa anticipates collecting more than $2.3 billion in carbon taxes in those provinces and 90 per cent of that will go to household rebates. The rest will be parceled out to small businesses, colleges, schools and hospitals in a special fund that has yet to be worked out.

Trudeau is set to unveil the details of the rebates in Toronto later this morning.

Not everyone believes him, and the next election is shaping up to be a battle royale over the carbon price.

"Starting next year, it will no longer be free to pollute anywhere in Canada", the prime minister said today.

But Trudeau is betting on two things evident in many polls in the last few years on this issue: most Canadians actually do want to do something on climate change - but whatever that something is, they don't want it to cost them too much.

Plus, all provinces and territories are required to put a price on pollution, at $20 a tonne of carbon emissions. The rebates will ensure families don't suffer and can further increase their savings if they do find ways to reduce their emissions.

The Conservatives also accused the government of letting big industry entirely off the carbon tax hook.

Germany froze its exports of military goods to Saudi Arabia on the weekend, and now the Canadian government says it could do that, too. 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. Former leader Stephen Harper did introduce his own climate plan but no strategy to meet the stated goal of reducing emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

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