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BC Liberals vote to support keeping carbon tax

Delegates to the British Columbia Liberal Party convention in Whistler voted down a motion calling for elimination of the carbon tax.

The motion put forward by the Westside-Kelowna constituency association supported getting rid of the tax on fossil fuels and undoing the tax cuts that made it "revenue neutral" put in place in 2008 by the BC Liberal government under former premier Gordon Campbell.

It argued, "Unless surrounding, competing jurisdictions also have a comparable tax, B.C. is at an economic disadvantage."

Speakers opposing the resolution argued that the carbon tax is a shift that puts a price on fossil fuels, something people want to reduce the use of, while lowering taxes on individual and business incomes.

Former party president Andrew Wilkinson, who is seeking to be a candidate in the next election, said the carbon tax brings in $1.2 billion and helps keep other taxes down. It makes little sense to "upset the apple cart" and raise income and coporate taxes just before an election, he said. "That's not what we want."

Delegates voted to end debate on the question, then roughly three quarters voted to defeat the resolution.

The order of debate on resolutions was set by a vote. Delegates chose to debate the carbon tax motion second out of 63 proposals put forward. The first voted to raise the threshold on the property transfer tax from $200,000 to $500,000.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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