Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin speaks to a small crowd Nov. 29 at George Little Park during a Terrace to Paris rally and march marking the start of international climate change talks in the French capital.

Skeena MLA favours increase in carbon tax

Robin Austin says that money could then be used on projects to reduce emissions

  • Dec. 3, 2015 4:00 p.m.

B.C. residents need to pay more for the fossil fuels they use, Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin told a climate change rally and march here Nov. 29.

“And don’t make it revenue neutral,” Austin said of the current carbon tax situation in B.C. where while there is a tax on gasoline, for instance, the cost is eased for northern homeowners through an increase in the basic homeowner grant.

“If you tax gas more, you’ll force people to take transit,” added Austin.

He favoured a shift to the recently announced Alberta plan where that province’s government will not only tax carbon but use the money on projects, such as transit, to reduce emissions.

Austin said governments such as the current provincial Liberal one shouldn’t shy away from raising carbon taxes for fear of a voter backlash.

And he noted that the members of a committee appointed by the provincial government, with one exception, called on it to increase the carbon tax.

The tax was frozen in 2012 for five years at $30 per tonne of emissions and the committee is recommending $10 annual increases beginning in 2018 as a way of encouraging ways to lower emissions.

The rally and march, called Terrace to Paris, drew approximately 60 people to George Little Park followed by a march to city hall and back again.

It was called to mark the start of worldwide climate change talks now in their second week in Paris.

Also speaking at the rally was Terrace mayor Carol Leclerc.

Following the rally and march, a movie on climate change was shown at the UNBC campus.

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