Quebec’s controversial carbon tax on energy companies comes into effect
Monday, despite fears it could also target industries that use large amounts
of petroleum and carbon products. The green tax is believed to be the first
of its kind in Canada and will be used to help Quebec reach its Kyoto
Protocol targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2012.
Quebec will put almost a penny of tax - 0.8 cents - on every litre of gas
sold and 0.9 cents of tax on every litre of diesel sold. It’s expected to
raise about $200 million yearly to finance the province’s green plan and
it’s not yet clear if the carbon tax will affect consumers.
The problem stems from wording in the original legislation that says
companies that import 25 million litres of petroleum or carbon products a
year for use are considered energy distributors. As a result numerous
companies in the cement and mining business as well as other industries that
consume large amounts of petroleum and carbon products found themselves with
saddled with the distributor tag and the prospect of paying the carbon tax.
St. Lawrence Cement is affected by the carbon tax as a heavy user of fossil
fuels. "We use fossil fuels as both a fuel and as a ground material," said
Baudouin Nizet, senior vice-president at St. Lawrence Cement.
"If you pay a tax on every tonne of coal, this will significantly increase
the vulnerability of our imports because cement is a commodity and cement
imported from Asia or US or Ontario will not be impacted by this act."