Putting a Price on Pollution

Putting a Price on Pollution
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About the Author

MP Pam Damoff

MP Pam Damoff

Pam Damoff, a politician, community activist and business professional with over 25 years’ corporate experience on Bay Street, was elected to represent the riding of Oakville North-Burlington in the House of Commons in the 2015 federal election. Prior to the election, Pam served as an Oakville Town Councillor from 2010-2015.

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It is no longer free to pollute in Canada.  On April 1 our government put a price on pollution in the four provinces that did not already have a pollution plan of their own.  When pollution is free, there is more of it.

The Climate Action Incentive will insure that the money collected in Ontario will be directly returned to Ontarians.  The average family of four will receive $307 through the Incentive when they file their taxes this year.

We are living through a climate crisis and carbon emissions are directly linked to climate change.    While the Conservatives would prefer to remain ignorant about this reality, our government knows that we have no other choice but to take strong action now.  The effects of widespread climate warming are already evident in many parts of Canada and are expected to intensify.  These effects include more extreme temperatures, higher levels of precipitation, shorter snow and ice seasons, thinning glaciers and rising sea levels. A warmer climate will increase the severity of heatwaves and contribute to increased drought and wildfire risks.

While Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is filling his gas tank at Shell for photo ops and promising to cancel our price on pollution, Shell says it supports the federal government’s plan.  A new report by Royal Dutch Shell is urging Canada’s largest oil and gas lobby group to start supporting carbon tax policies in the country. “Shell’s investors, and more broadly civil society, must be confident that we engage constructively with others on climate change,” the report states.

A report issued this week by scientists and experts at Environment and Climate Change Canada said Canada is, on average, experiencing warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world, with Northern Canada heating up at almost three times the global average.  We must work with Canadians to fight climate change, cut pollution and protect our environment.  Our kids and grandkids are counting on us to take action now.

Climate change is the greatest risk to human health in the 21stcentury, and those health harms are disproportionately borne by younger Canadians.  Our government is obligated to protect our children and future generations from climate change and pricing pollution is an important health intervention. The World Health Organization notes: “Climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2050 and climate change impacts on health will disproportionately affect vulnerable populations, including the poor, elderly, and the young and those who are chronically ill.”

We must take immediate steps to rapidly and dramatically reduce carbon emissions and associated air pollution due to fossil-fuel combustion and putting a price on pollution is one effective step in doing this.  While not the whole answer, a price on pollution is a key part of the strategy. Supporting renewable energy, increased public transit, clean technology and jobs and encouraging energy efficiency are other key steps our government is taking to reduce pollution.

The time for action is now.  Canadians deserve a bold plan that will protect our environment and our kids’ future and bolster our economy.  The price on pollution introduced this week will do just that.


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