With the conclusion of the Alberta election and a federal vote fast approaching, the carbon tax is emerging as a huge national issue of debate with many widely divergent perspectives.
One of those perspectives is the relative impact of the tax on rural areas across the country. As the tax became effective for Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick on April 1, Premier Blaine Higgs of the aforementioned Atlantic province argued the measure punishes his large rural constituency that has no options for public transit. This argument applies if you reside in rural areas of Atlantic Canada or a small town that requires a two hour drive into Toronto.
Premier Doug Ford’s position is that the tax increases the cost of business for farmers, which in turn makes food more expensive for consumers. The carbon charge is bad news for everyone – the producer, the buyer and everyone else in the chain has less money in their pockets.
The current federal response is that residents of rural Canada are eligible for rebates, or climate action incentive payments, beyond their urban counterparts – about ten percent in addition to the $300 for an urban family of four. The Government of Canada has subsequently designated areas of Ontario that are and are not rural for eligibility.
Residents of three of Waterloo Region’s four townships – Woolwich, Wilmot and North Dumfries – do not qualify. Anyone residing in and around West Montrose, Haysville, and Floradale are now urbanites. You should, according to this list, have access to public transit the same as someone in Toronto, Mississauga or Aurora.
The good news is that if you are a resident of Wellesley Township, you get money. Crossing the boundary line into Perth County also provides government cash. What is even more interesting is that residents of Stratford, which runs a municipal bus/transit service, can also claim the additional rural payment.
A resident in the village of Wellesley gets an additional payment however someone residing on a farm in Wilmot does not. These are not huge sums of money but it’s just the principle of the whole program that is frightening.