With Finance Minister Bill Morneau ready to release his 2018 budget tomorrow, Environmental Defence is reminding Canadian households that the bills we each pay at the end of the year include a C$234 transfer to Big Oil.
In response, Environmental Defence has launched a petition calling on Morneau, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna to shift the target date for eliminating fossil fuel subsidies from 2025 to 2020.
In what Bloomberg editors called “the world’s dumbest policy” in 2016, “fossil fuel subsidies to producers total $3.3 billion annually, spurring these companies to explore for more oil and gas, and contradicting Canada’s efforts to cut carbon pollution,” notes Patrick DeRochie, ED’s program manager, climate and energy. “The money given away to oil and gas companies is money that could be left in Canadians’ pockets, or better spent on things that improve our collective well-being. $3.3 billion could pay for 44,000 hospital beds, or the education of 260,000 high school students, or to install solar panels on 13,200 schools.”
Using a different methodology, the International Monetary Fund places Canada’s fossil subsidies above $46 billion.
While the country has committed to phase out fossil subsidies, DeRochie notes, the Auditor General revealed last year that the federal government has no phaseout plan, and has been very slow to release relevant information to the public.
“Instead of the ‘polluter pays’ principle, it’s a practice of ‘pay the polluter,’” DeRochie states. Beyond the direct subsidies, he adds, recent analysis “shows that tar sands producers like Suncor and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. are using complex accounting schemes to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes.”