OUR VIEW: Taxpayers fund B.C.’s carbon trust

The majority of the money is coming from public institutions and being handed to the private sector

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 (PCT) we read this claim: “The most notable accomplishment of the last fiscal year…was the achievement of carbon neutrality for the provincial government.”

In fact, our carbon neutral status is really a tax-shifting sleight of hand dispensing corporate welfare to less-than-needy business barons.

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 taxation mathematics into a greener B.C.

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

Jordan Bateman, B.C. director of the Canadian Tax Federation, says, “Only 12 private companies or individuals bought carbon credits last year for a measly $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 and $58,000 from School District 72 here in Campbell River.

That’s our precious tax dollars that should have been earmarked for much needed upgrades to hospital and school infrastructure.

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.”

Obviously, these corporate bottomline initiatives would have been undertaken regardless of PCT handouts.

In fact, 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.