Last week, I asked Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Carole James about carbon tax being applied to biodiesel that is 100% waste oil.
S. Furstenau: I have question for the minister specific to an organization in my riding called the Cowichan Bio-Diesel Co-op, which produces biodiesel from 100 percent waste oil from local restaurants. The question that’s been raised several times to me is about the carbon tax being applied to biodiesel. This seems like a disincentive to something that is actually a solution to reducing carbon, which is using waste oil rather than diesel or gasoline in cars.
I was wondering if the minister would be able to give some input on this and whether or not we could see the carbon tax actually removed from biodiesels.
Hon. C. James: Thank you for the question. This is something that has been worked on, has been looked at and, I think, needs to continue to be looked at. I think the challenge that is faced with the issue of biodiesel is that biodiesel gets mixed with diesel. So it’s hard, when you’re looking at putting a carbon tax on diesel, to know the percentage of biodiesel or diesel that’s being used. How do you then set a rate for that kind of mixed fuel? I guess that is the best way to describe it. That’s part of the challenge that’s being looked at.
The previous government actually dropped the carbon tax rate on diesel by 5 percent to recognize 5 percent biodiesel that was being used as a mix to be able to try and address some of the issue around encouraging biodiesel to be used. I think it’s an interesting issue. That may be another way of looking at it, as we look at increases in the carbon tax. It may need another look to see if the rate needs to be lowered or to see if there’s another incentive that needs to be offered. I’m happy to take a look at that idea as well.
S. Furstenau: Thank you for that. That’s really helpful. In the case of biodiesel, the cooperative up in Cowichan does one 100 percent biodiesel option. It’s not mixed with any diesel. It’s actually completely created from waste vegetable oil. So I think if it’s possible for the minister and the ministry to look at that as a particular part of this equation….
Hon. C. James: Yes, I’m happy to take a look at that and get the specifics. That certainly makes it easier if there’s one fuel and not two fuels to take a look at. So we’ll take a look at that.