Opinion Column

Sexism just another reason to scrap carbon tax

 Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe

As if there was a need to hate the carbon tax more, it’s now coming to light that it’s sexist.

According to a recent order paper question, Environment and Climate Change Canada found the carbon tax will impact men and women differently, depending on the system and how revenue is used.

When asked about the relative cost burden of the carbon tax for women as opposed to men during a Status of Women Committee, however, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau refused to answer. He also couldn’t answer if a gender-based analysis had even been completed for the carbon tax.

How convenient.

If the Liberals are going to pat themselves on the back for having the first ever gender-based budget, they should have to actually make sure that everything – including their carbon tax – had undergone gender-based analysis, right?

Apparently that’s one area where it’s not relevant.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, who’s lauded as being a strong, female MP, responded to similar questions during Question Period by saying Canadians know climate change is real and we need to take smart, practical action to address it.

I won’t disagree, but should “smart, practical action” mean that a carbon tax should affect women disproportionately to men?

Let’s remember that the federal Liberals, despite their gender budget their oh-so proud of because it’s 2018 or something like that, have done nothing to close the pay equity gap. Let’s also consider there are costs women deal with on a day-to-day basis that men do not (feminine hygiene products, “pink tax” items such as deodorant, where women are charged more for the same product in smaller quantities, etc.).

A carbon tax costing women, especially moms, just makes sense. Women are still the primary caregivers. They’re the ones filling up their tanks at the $1.29/litre prices more often to get their children to activities/school/daycare on top of getting to their own jobs, then getting groceries (which have also risen due to increase in transportation costs caused by the carbon tax). I’ve seen it in my own family. My mom does all the running around on top of being self-employed. She fills up weekly, where my dad will top up once a month because he doesn’t have to drive my siblings everywhere while he’s at work.

For a federal government that’s oh-so-proud of their “gender-based budget” because it’s 2018 or something like that, you’d think this is something they would try and deal with head on before trying to ram through the tax.

Instead, they’re placing the onus on the provinces to provide tax cuts for women to address inequality they are causing.

So much for responsible government.

Once again, the federal Liberals are showing little forethought, little follow through or evidence they are actually doing the very things they’re clapping themselves on the back for.

The irony is this likely wouldn’t be on anyone’s radar if the Liberals themselves hadn’t put so much emphasis on gender in their budget.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer says the carbon tax will reduce the country’s GDP by $10 billion per year by 2022. All indicators show it will make our energy sector less competitive on a global scale, and it’s certainly doing nothing to help the middle and lower class – just look at how much gas prices have shot up over the past week.

(And to throw it out there – I was just in Florida last week. Gas prices there were $2.79/gallon USD, which would work out to $3.58/gallon CAD or $0.94 CAD per litre, and I didn’t see an oil rig once during the trip).

This is just another reason not to want this particular tax rammed through. 

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