76% of Sask entrepreneurs opposed; only 8% support
Regina, May 17, 2017 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has collected more than 1,000 petitions from small business owners across Saskatchewan opposed to the introduction of a national carbon tax. Today, CFIB will deliver these petitions to Hon. Scott Moe, Minister of the Environment.
CFIB’s petition entitled: Timing couldn’t be worse for introduction of a carbon tax, thanks the provincial government for standing up for Saskatchewan by opposing a national carbon tax. CFIB members also ask the provincial government to continue lobbying the federal government to reconsider its plan to impose a national carbon tax in Saskatchewan and recognize the province’s current actions to reduce carbon emissions (e.g. use of carbon capture technology, agricultural lands are significant carbon sinks).
“With a technical paper expected soon outlining Ottawa’s proposal, the provincial government needs to know that entrepreneurs share its serious concerns with a national carbon tax,” noted Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB Vice-President, Prairie & Agri-business. “ In fact, 76 per cent of Saskatchewan business owners are opposed to the introduction of a carbon tax, compared to just eight per cent who support it.”
‘Going green’ is a priority: “CFIB’s new report, Green Growth, How SMEs are working toward a greener future, shows that ‘going green’ is already a priority for a majority of Saskatchewan small businesses,” added Braun-Pollon. “They say they don’t need government to force environmental change. Eighty-three per cent are motivated to make change because of their personal views, 51 per cent because it helps reduce their costs and one-third because they believe action is important to their customers and employees. Only 22 per cent say they were motivated by government policy.
Punitive measures least effective: CFIB’s survey also found that punitive measures such as carbon taxes, and additional fees or regulations, are the least effective way to encourage small businesses to implement environmentally-friendly measures. Only 15 per cent said that the fear of additional government taxes and regulations would encourage them to do more for the environment.
“This is an important finding for governments. Too often, governments immediately turn to increased regulations, taxes and fees to solve a problem. Climate change, it seems, is no exception,” said Braun-Pollon. “If the federal government gets its way, starting next year (and even earlier in some provinces), Canadians and entrepreneurs will face five years of escalating carbon taxes or pricing strategies. This is on top of recent PST hikes, municipal property tax hikes, an Employment Insurance tax hike for all Canadians and their employers, followed by five years of Canadian Pension Plan premium increases.”
When asked which government approaches to dealing with environmental issues they favour;
- 94 per cent of Saskatchewan small business owners support government policies that would help raise awareness on existing energy efficiency measures they can implement in their business.
- 84 per cent support more financial incentives for energy efficiency (e.g. tax credits, rebates) and research and innovation of clean technologies.
- Only 33 per cent support the introduction of taxes and fees.
“We are counting on the Saskatchewan government to continue their strong opposition to a national carbon tax,” concluded Braun-Pollon. “With the uncertainty surrounding the new administration south of the border, it is important that we retain our competitive edge. We simply cannot afford an environmental policy that will place an undue burden on businesses through new taxes and regulations.”
To arrange an interview with Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President Prairie & Agri-business, please call (306) 757-0000, 1-888-234-2232 or email [email protected]. You may follow CFIB Saskatchewan on Twitter @cfibsk. Find out more about CFIB’s work opposing a national carbon tax in Saskatchewan.
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members (5,250 in Saskatchewan) across every sector and region.