When you were a young child, don't you remember the thrill and joy of receiving a birthday card in the mail and a cheque from your favourite aunt or grandmother? It was like found money. British Columbians may get that feeling again this week when they receive their $100 climate action dividend cheques in their mailboxes. The government has sent out the cheques to counter the 2.4 cents per litre carbon tax that will be tacked on to the price of gasoline beginning July 1. Heating oil will increase by 2.8 per cent.
For many, that $100 or more depending on how many people are in your household will be used to cover basic expenses. The Liberal government feels that a significant number of people will make a difference in their finances and that residents should have the right to decide how to spend that money.
Will they use it to pay bills, or will they donate it to their favourite charity or environmental organization? One writer to Coast Reporter suggested this week sending the $100 to the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association. In Powell River, readers have suggested donating their money to a Back the CAT initiative started for the Powell River Hospital to purchase a new CAT scanner.
But the NDP is not happy with the government's dividend or the carbon tax plans. They have felt all along that the money should have been spent on improving services and programs rather then sending the money directly to citizens.
Leader Carole James recently countered with her own carbon tax plan and last Friday launched an axe-the-gas-tax campaign complete with an online petition calling on residents to put the heat on the Campbell government to throw out the proposed carbon tax that will come into effect on Canada Day. James and some of her NDP MLAs are hitting the road, visiting communities throughout the province, talking about how more realistic the NDP's carbon tax plan is and how utterly flawed the Liberals' plan is.
It's an interesting debate, and both parties claim they are right. But really, when it comes to our environment, there shouldn't be a wrong or right. We're all in this fight together. Every one of us contributed to greenhouse gases, every one of us is responsible for putting Mother Earth in a precarious position. Instead of fighting and trying to one up each other, shouldn't both parties be collectively trying to fix some of the problems instead of using this issue as a way to win votes in next year's election?
It seems our politicians have lost sight of what is really important. Meanwhile, the cheques are in the mail.