BC carbon tax damage

The past several years have seen an ongoing dispute in the media about the economic impacts of British Columbia's carbon tax, which was brought into force on July 1, 2008.

The liberal media such as the Washington Post and the Globe and Mail, along with a number of activist websites and smaller press outlets, have avoided directly looking at the issue, have made erroneous claims about the source data, or have attempted to spin the results as a "no economic harm" narrative.

Statistics Canada has released the latest Canadian GDP numbers for 2014, which gives us another year to add to the series.

While it is true that over the composite period from 2008 through 2014, the BC economy (in terms of both total and per capita [pc] GDP) has not generally underperformed the Canadian average, the key for deciphering the carbon tax impact is to look at the trends before and after the tax came into effect.

In the years before BC brought in its carbon tax, both real GDP and real pc GDP growth were significantly outperforming the Canadian average – and the economy was doing well.  I know, because I lived in the province over this time.

Once the carbon tax started, economic growth in BC immediately dropped from well above the Canadian average down to at – or in some years, below – the national average.  Once again, I can speak from personal experience, as I lived in the province until 2011 and saw its economic struggles (and their causes) firsthand.

These are not just random patterns or coincidences.  No matter where we look – at labor force participation rates, GDP growth, energy cost inflation, and on the list goes – we see the same story.  BC's carbon tax, which unfortunately may now be a permanent fixture of the province's regulatory regime due to the powerful political players who benefit from its inherent crony capitalism, did real damage to its economy.