What to do with the Carbon Tax

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

Among the comments are suggestions that the legislation for the Carbon Tax be "dissolved", that the tax is "ineffective" and "discriminatory", and that when applied to the agriculture industry it is "detrimental" as it forces product prices up. As expected after the City recently said it supports the Carbon Tax, Dawson Creek representative Cheryl Shuman disagreed with the recommendation, saying she sees missed opportunities for the board to make constructive suggestions on the tax.

"There's also the opportunity to ask government to perhaps use some of the revenue from the Carbon Tax to help out districts or regions like ours to reduce our emissions with alternate forms of energy," she suggests. "All of these things could be in this letter to government."

She also suggests the Board look at sources other than the media to help form its opinion on the tax. Taylor Director Fred Jarvis concurred, saying from what he's been reading about the Carbon Tax, the province is already making changes, and prepared to make more. He says it's important that our region at least participate in the process, and not dismiss it all together.

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"I believe that something is going to go forward, and if we aren't a part of it, I think we're doing a disservice to our own region," he says. "It's better to get something going through that you've at least had a chance to understand why they're putting it through, than it is something that you haven't been a part of and don't understand and haven't done your due diligence to try to change it to learn."

Area C Director Arthur Hadland, who put forward the initial motion, couldn't disagree more. He says the tax benefits the southern park of the province, and leaves the north with big bills to pay.

"I think the real issues are how the monies are collected: the bulk of it comes from the individuals, and all of us that live north of Hope all pay for it… it really is discriminatory."

As someone who works in the industry, he says he pays "significant" fuel bills, and doesn't see any benefit. He also points to an editorial by Jordan Bateman in The Province, which says that of the $14 million collected last year, the bulk went to corporations like Lafarge, Encana and Canfor.

"I think the way the thing is being managed is not really addressing the issue of trying to save the climate and save our atmosphere," he argues. "We are not doing it with this tax, and that's why I put forward this motion because I feel that we should send the message that this is not working."

Across the board, the Directors could agree that more needs to be done to support the agriculture industry, as they end up paying much more for the fuel they need. As the deadline for comments is August 31, 2012, a decision had to be made at this meeting. In the end, the vote came to 7 for, 3 against, with no votes coming from Directors Shuman, Jarvis and Fort St. John's Lori Ackerman, felt there needed to be more reasons given in the letter as to why the tax should be dissolved.

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