EDITORIAL: Taxpayers fund carbon trust

Taxpayers buck up millions to green wash B.C.

On occasion government spin slips into a deceptive state and that is where B.C.’s much-lauded “carbon neutral” status resides today.

In the annual report of the government-controlled Pacific Carbon Trust is the claim: “The most notable accomplishment of the last fiscal year … was the achievement of carbon neutrality for the provincial government.”

In fact, carbon status is a tax-shifting sleight of hand dispensing corporate welfare to less-than-needy businesses.

In 2007, the government called on its agencies to reduce carbon emissions to zero, but that would be an accounting exercise because you can’t operate hospitals and schools without leaving a carbon footprint. So, the government created the Crown corporation to turn the magic of mathematics into a greener B.C.

The trust’s job is to find the money to buy carbon credits and reinvest the cash on greenhouse gas reduction projects.

According to the Canadian Tax Federation, only 12 private companies or individuals bought carbon credits last year for $54,050. The rest of the trust’s $14-million budget was funded exclusively by taxpayers.

On Vancouver Island, those tax dollars included $870,000 from the Vancouver Island Health Authority. That’s tax dollars that should have been earmarked for much-needed upgrades to hospitals.

Who got the cash last year? Canfor, Interfor and Lafarge for “switching fuels”; Timberwest for “improved forest management”; and, Encana for “state-of-the-art drilling.”

These corporate bottomline initiatives would have been undertaken regardless of PCT handouts. The vast majority of projects were underway before the trust decided they were worthy of taxpayer support.

This is just corporate welfare under the guise of green washing B.C. and it isn’t right.

 

– Campbell River Mirror