Craig: Taxpayers need a voice in upcoming court battles


You could save thousands of dollars in taxes if the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is allowed to intervene in (and helps win) an upcoming court case against the new federal carbon tax.

And if we’re successful in a second, unrelated court case about pipelines, Canada’s economy could benefit from thousands of new private sector jobs. Not to mention the billions in tax revenue that governments would receive if the Trans Mountain pipeline project goes ahead – money that could be used to help pay down debt or ease the tax burden on the rest of us.

Needless to say, there’s a lot at stake for taxpayers in the two court cases – that’s why we decided to hire some lawyers and fight the good fight.

The first legal battle involves the Saskatchewan government and its decision to go to court and challenge the federal government’s new carbon tax. To give you an idea of the magnitude of what we’re looking at, note that Alberta’s new carbon tax raises $1.4 billion per year. Divide that into Alberta’s population of just over four million people and we’re looking at over $300 per person.

However, Alberta’s carbon tax is currently lower than the threshold the Trudeau government will eventually require across Canada. If the courts approve the Trudeau government’s plan, we’ll be looking at a carbon tax that works out to about $500 per Albertan.

These are rough calculations but you can see that if the Trudeau government is allowed to require a mandatory carbon tax right across Canada, taxpayers will be looking at some very large bills.

The second court case involves the British Columbia government and its continued efforts in court to obstruct the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Some readers may shrug their shoulders and think the project doesn’t impact them, but the project actually impacts Canadians from coast-to-coast.

Note that the Trans Mountain pipeline project would generate $47.6 billion in tax revenue. Just under half would go to the Alberta government while the rest would be paid to governments across Canada – helping to pay for health care, infrastructure projects and other government services. Not to mention, governments could use these dollars to pay down debt or ease the tax burden.

If the project doesn’t go ahead, guess where governments will find those revenues? Hint: you, through higher taxes.

The second reason you should care about the project is that it would create thousands of jobs – not just for those who are constructing the pipeline, but companies in Ontario, Saskatchewan and other parts of the country that will make the steel pipelines and other materials that are used for the project.

Finally, the pipeline project is also significant from an investor confidence perspective. Simply put, Kinder Morgan already spent $1 billion jumping through federal regulatory hoops in order to obtain approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline project. If the B.C. government is successful at blocking the project, other firms will think twice before investing in Canada – a move that would cost our country even more jobs and opportunities.

As you can see, these two court cases will have an enormous impact on taxpayers. That’s why we decided to lawyer up and fight the good fight.

Colin Craig is the Alberta Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

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