MEDIA RELEASE: Climate Cheque Petition Gets Response from Minister

MEDIA RELEASE: Climate Cheque Petition Gets Response from Minister

Volunteer lobbyists push for a small change in how Canada’s carbon tax is distributed that would make a big difference in how the tax is perceived, they say.

For Immediate Release: Nov 23, 2020. Contact: Cathy Orlando, phone: 705-929-4043

SUDBURY ON: “Our planet matters and your voice matters. I’m here to be your advocate for a greener and cleaner future!” Those were the words of Marc Serre, MP for the riding of Nickel Belt, when he rose in the House of Commons of Canada on Oct. 6 to present a petition signed by 1,249 Canadians that called for the revenues collected by Canada’s carbon tax to be distributed as cheques or bank deposits.

“(I am) delighted to file the e-2542 petition initiated by Citizens Climate Lobby Canada to improve Canada’s carbon pricing policy,” Serre said. “Citizens are calling on the government to continue putting a pollution price and distribute carbon pricing income to Canadians in the form of a cheque or bank deposit remission instead of a tax credit during the tax period.”

Natty Urquizo, Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada volunteer who initiated the petition.

“Canada has one of the best carbon pricing systems in the world,” according to Cathy Orlando, national director for Citizens Climate Lobby Canada and a resident  of Sudbury, Ontario. “However, one shortcoming of the system is that people get their carbon pricing income or dividend as a tax credit rather than as a cheque or bank deposit. The result is that, while most people are aware that the government is collecting money from carbon taxes on fossil fuels, not so many are aware of how much of that money they are getting back.”

A study by Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission showed that Canada must increase the price of carbon to $210 per tonne by 2030 to meet this nation’s current greenhouse gas emission target.

“Such a high price on carbon likely would not be politically acceptable unless the money collected is distributed to everyone as equal dividends,” Orlando explained. “In other words, it’s crucial for Canadians to understand that unless they are part of a heavily-polluting minority, they receive more money from the system than what it costs them in taxes.”

“People need to understand their personal benefits from carbon pricing,” said Dr. James Hansen. Although as an American he could not sign it, the world-famous climate scientist was one of the petition’s early supporters.

“Citizens Climate Lobby Canada’s parliamentary e-petition #e2542 asks the Canadian government to make smart, easy changes to accomplish that,” Hansen said. “Canada could lead the world.”

Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change responded to the petition on November 19.

“Canada’s climate plan is working,” Wilkinson said. “Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions projections show a widespread decline in projected emissions across the economy, reflecting the breadth and depth of the Pan-Canadian Framework.”

Cedric Eveleigh, the Citizens Climate Lobby Canada member from Chelsea, Quebec who helped initiate the petition, said he was generally happy with the minister’s response.

“I find it satisfactory to learn that they’ll ‘review the overall approach to pricing carbon pollution by early 2022 to confirm the path forward, with an interim report in 2020’ and that ‘These review processes will include consideration of the carbon price trajectory after 2022,’” Eveleigh said.

Citizens Climate Lobby Canada is an all-volunteer grassroots organization dedicated to promoting carbon fee and dividend – charging a tax or fee on fossil fuels and distributing the money collected as equal dividends to everyone.

Citizens Climate Lobby Canada has approximately 5,000 registered supporters and 42 active chapters. Over the next few weeks, many Citizens’ Climate Lobby members will be lobbying their MPs over Zoom across Canada to improve and protect Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act and to build political will for a liveable world.  One of the items the members will be lobbying for will be what was asked for in the petition – that Canadians receive their Climate Action Incentive rebates through a dividend cheque or a direct deposit.