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Letter: Canada may be a small emitter overall, but on a per capita basis we have nothing to brag about

Editor: Re: "Canada only a small player on the world stage with pollution", Vox Populi, Oct. 17, 2019.

Editor: Re: "Canada only a small player on the world stage with pollution", Vox Populi, Oct. 17, 2019.

While it's true that widespread rioting forced French President Macron to back down his carbon tax in 2018, Colin Whewell's comparison of the French tax and Canada’s carbon pricing regime is apples and oranges. One needs to look at how the money was to have been spent.

In France, the bulk of the funds collected through the carbon tax would have been used to address the country's national budget deficit. By contrast, the federal Canadian carbon tax that applies in the four provinces that do not have some kind of carbon pricing scheme in place returns approximately 90-100 per cent of revenue back to the provinces.

A PostMedia/Edmonton Journal analysis found that the previous Alberta government returned $450-million in carbon tax rebates to individuals and a $220-million cut to small business taxes to offset their carbon tax costs. Calgary’s C-Train Green Line expansion saw $33.5 million dedicated to it and close to $230 million to Edmonton’s LRT build out.

The bulk of the 2,000 line items funded by the carbon tax were in rural Alberta. They included energy audits on town buildings, retrofitting arenas with LED lights, helping farmers become more energy efficient, upgrading seniors’ homes and working with First Nations to develop community energy plans. 

There have been no riots.

It’s true that Canada’s emissions amount to about 1.6 per cent of global emissions. It’s also worth noting that our population is about 0.48 per cent of the global total, so on a per capita basis, we’re emitting a lot of gas.

And we can act. It makes no sense to argue that other countries’ inaction should determine our own response in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence that demands action.  

Heather Gibb,