Gateway Gazette

Timing Couldn’t be Worse for Alberta Carbon Tax


AB small businesses want appropriate environmental safeguards but 82% reject poorly-timed policy; 4 out of 5 say it will impose higher costs

Calgary, March, 2016 – New survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) show the overwhelming majority of Alberta small business owners oppose the province’s carbon tax plan.  The news comes as Premier Notley heads to the First Ministers meeting in Vancouver today to discuss options for a Canada-wide approach to pricing carbon, and the Alberta government discusses implementation of its so-called Climate Leadership Plan.

Eighty-two per cent of Alberta entrepreneurs do not support the introduction of a carbon tax, compared to just 11 percent who do.  “Absorbing another new government-imposed cost in today’s economic environment will send business owners over the edge.  The economy is in the most fragile state in a generation, and piling on with a new carbon scheme would be incredibly damaging,” said Amber Ruddy, CFIB’s Director of Provincial Affairs for Alberta.

Four in five business owners do not believe the plan will actually help to reduce carbon emissions, while 79 per cent said it will mean higher input and operating costs for their business.  Sixty-seven percent feared it will mean consumers would have less disposable income to spend in their business, and a third fear it will make their business less competitive compared to businesses in other jurisdictions.

“Alberta’s job-creators worry this is just another cash grab,” added Ruddy.  “Revenue-strapped Alberta needs to focus on enabling entrepreneurs, not creating new barriers and eroding our competitive edge.  Taking billions out of the productive yet delicate economy is a flat out bad idea, further eroding the Alberta Advantage”.

When asked, “Which statement best reflects your views on Alberta’s resource development,” 37 per cent support further developing the province’s resources, 61 per cent support further developing the province’s resources with appropriate environmental safeguards.  Only one per cent do not support further development in the province.

CFIB recommends the government find a better balance for policies affecting the environment and the economy.  The Alberta government must focus on ways to mitigate the impact of the recession on small business and should carefully and thoroughly consider the environmental and economic impacts of carbon pricing before moving forward.

The February 2016 Pre-Budget Survey is based on 806 CFIB member responses to a controlled-access web survey.

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.

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