Tar Sands Industry Says Prime Minister is "out of step" on Carbon Tax

Bloomberg News is reporting that major industrial players in Canada's tar sands are frustrated with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's continued opposition to a national tax on climate change pollution.

At the heart of the matter is the high level of market uncertainty Harper's resistance brings to investment, especially regarding the increase a carbon tax will bring to the per-barrel cost of developing tar sands oil in the future. As Toronto Fund Manager, John Stepehnson, explains,

“What business hates is a lack of clarity. Even a bad tax would be better than discussions that are endless.”

A carbon tax would also level the playing field for companies proactively looking to reduce carbon emissions from major tar sands operations.

Andre Goffart, president of Total’s Canadian unit, explained to Bloomberg News that a carbon tax,

… is one of the ways to promote better performance of the industry. The principles are probably agreed upon by the players. The question is, where do you put the level to incentivize the industry to go in a more efficient way?”

Most companies see a carbon tax as inevitable as more jurisdictions, mainly the European Union, ratchet up the cost of business for carbon polluters.

But the Harper government continues to adamantly oppose a tax on climate change pollution, going so far as to run a national ad campaign attacking political opponents who support such a tax.