The City of Vancouver has approved its 2022 operating budgets, and within them lies the new "climate emergency action levy" that mayor Kennedy Stewart pulled out of thin air at the last minute, stunning a number of his colleagues on council.
In an interview with Vancouver Is Awesome on Dec. 2, 2021 the mayor admitted that his surprise "levy" was, in fact, a tax.
When pressed on the difference between a levy and a tax, the mayor confessed that "I mean, they're both very similar. So sure, you could call it a tax. I'm calling it a levy."
Strangely, Greens councillor Adriane Carr wound up introducing Stewart's tax during the budget meeting held this week. It was part of the 6.3% increase that was approved in a 6-5 vote.
Carr was absolutely correct when she spoke to council on the tax, noting “The climate emergency is oblivious to who you are, whether you own property or not. It affects us all. And I think all of you know more than anything, it affects future generations and affects our children and our grandchildren and their children.”
However with an ever-rising cost of living for most, the tax misses the mark. It's no wonder the mayor tried to dress it up, then ultimately hand it over to somebody else to own.
According to Stewart his climate tax will be "levied on properties, and that way it's progressive. So those folks who have properties of lower value would pay less than those that have properties of a higher value."
In the end it will be paid for largely by people who can afford it the least - the more than 50% of the population who rent. Landlords will certainly find ways to simply pass it on to their tenants, and the mayor knows that.
Is it a progressive policy? Sure, in the fact that Kennedy Stewart is working to make things progressively worse for people who are looking to get a leg up in this city, while disingenuously trying to make it appear as though he's making the "rich" - people who own real estate - foot the bill for a climate-focused initiative.
Read more about what's in the budget and what the individual councillors had to say about it.