Learning to Love the Carbon Tax - theHumm November 2020

Learning to Love the Carbon Tax - theHumm November 2020

By — Chandler Swain

So we come toward the end of a doozy of a year. We have all faced up to some intense challenges and proved that, when we really need to change our way of doings things to prevent bad stuff from getting worse, we can do it. Along with issues related to the virus, the most profound problem we all face is the Climate Crisis. However, there is a silver lining to our pulling together for this one: we get a prosperous livable world for our kids and grandkids!

One thing that we and the planet can benefit from is the widely misunderstood Carbon Tax. If you feel a negative response to this tool for lowering our carbon emissions, here is the perspective from two climate activists, one living in our largest city, and one living locally and rurally, who can fill us in on why they support a “carbon tax”.

Anita Payne is a local climate activist who lives rurally in Lanark County. She founded the Citizens’ Climate Lobby of Lanark County, and is an active member of the Green Party who has run as a candidate locally. I wanted to hear her very knowledgeable perspective to help make the case for the Carbon Tax:

Anita Payne: I believe that it is our individual responsibility to help lessen humanity’s impact on the biosphere to maintain a livable planet Earth. The carbon tax and rebate program is meant to encourage people to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. How people respond is totally up to them. If you have a high carbon lifestyle and continue in that fashion, you will pay for it. If you reduce your carbon footprint, the rebate will exceed the extra cost of the carbon tax.

The federal and provincial governments could help with programs to increase the energy efficiency of buildings and encourage us to switch from fossil fuel use to electricity, such as the current federal electric vehicle rebate. In a rural area people do have to drive, but they can still make choices to reduce their fuel use, such as the type of vehicle they drive. Charging electric vehicles is really not a problem locally as there are now many public stations as well as home capacity.

Farmers who have expenses such as drying grain or heating greenhouses will particularly feel the effects of the carbon tax. Some tax relief has already been provided for greenhouses. The government can also help farmers reduce their emissions by supporting programs such as ALUS (Alternative Land Use Services) that pays farmers for projects to increase carbon sequestration and improve ecosystem functioning. Alternatively, farmers could engage in projects that provide carbon offsets to polluters who pay them a fee. This could be a project that plants trees on marginal farmland to offset air travel.

The National Farmers Union released a report in 2019 called Tackling the Farm Crisis and the Climate Crisis. The report says both the farm and the climate crises have the same causes and largely the same solutions: “reduce dependence on high-emission petro-industrial farm inputs and rely more on ecological cycles, energy from the sun and the knowledge and wisdom of farm families.” The report details many ways that farmers can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and move toward agro-ecological approaches.

Many residents of Lanark County enjoy rural or small town living but commute some distance to their jobs. Fortunately, more people are now able to work from home. That may be a continuing trend. Of course there are many jobs that cannot be done from home, but it is a choice whether you live close to or far from work.

The carbon tax and rebate is a tool that encourages all of us to be good stewards of our environment.

Cheryl McNamara is a communications and advocacy specialist. She founded the Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s Toronto chapter in 2010. Since then she has lobbied more than 100 political offices in Ottawa, Toronto and Washington, advocating for the carbon pricing mechanism: carbon fee and dividend. I asked her as a taxpayer from a large city why she thinks the carbon tax is a good idea.

Cheryl McNamara: The climate crisis frightens me, and I feel duty-bound to create a safe future for children today and the generations that follow. One of the lessons I learned in camping is to leave the place in better shape than how I found it. I carry that lesson in life too. As I accept the scientific process that tells us that burning fossil fuels warms the biosphere, I also accept the economic consensus that pricing carbon is an effective and efficient way to send a market signal to shift to clean energy alternatives and help diversify our economy. The evidence is there. Did you know that in BC, domestic sales in clean tech products grew by 48 percent in just two years after the province introduced the carbon tax? We know this works.

Why doesn’t paying extra for a carbon tax bother you as a Canadian taxpayer?

Over the years I have made choices to reduce my carbon footprint, so really, the rising fee on carbon does not impact me. And that’s its point — to serve as a market signal to encourage people to make low- to no-carbon choices. As the carbon fee rises annually it prompts more and new innovations. Industry and the market respond, and those alternatives will be more readily available and accessible.

Also I am fully rebated for the extra that I’m paying — more so in fact — due to the government’s Carbon Climate Action Incentive payment on my income tax return. (See sidebar for link to details).

Paying taxes is my civic duty. Now that our country’s debt has increased many-fold due to the pandemic, and more needs to be spent to help Canadians recover, I am happy to pay a bit more in taxes than before and to contribute to the betterment of my country.

You live and work in the middle of Toronto: what could you say to a person in a rural county to persuade them to embrace the carbon tax?

There is no question that living in the city makes it easier for me to reduce my carbon footprint. I rely on my bike or the subway to get around. However, it is imperative that the government provide financial support to people in rural areas who rely on vehicles, especially farmers and rural businesses, during the transition to clean energy alternatives. Government must help offset any impacts felt by a rising carbon price, above what the rebate covers. 

As vexing as a carbon price may seem to some in the short term, a carbon fee and rebate mechanism, like the one adopted by the federal government, will help farms in the long run. That includes incentivizing the development of electric farm vehicles, which will reduce fuel costs, and innovations such as biodigesters, offering farmers additional financial opportunities. Many farmers are already embracing sustainable practices that protect the soil. Not only is this a more affordable way to farm, but regenerative agriculture helps protect and sustain an important carbon sink. I am deeply grateful for farmers, who not only put food on our tables but are important players in helping to sequester carbon.


This Government of Canada site is full of clear information to help you understand how you benefit from the carbon tax and how it works: www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/climate-change/pricing-pollution-how-it-will-work/ontario.html

If you still feel skeptical, you might try this link to a “conservative” case for carbon dividends courtesy of the Climate Leadership Council. This is a US think tank comprised of many long-time republicans! Wow! www.clcouncil.org/media/2017/03/The-Conservative-Case-for-Carbon-Dividends.pdf


Showing the Local Love for the Holidays! - theHumm November 2020

By Kris and Rob Riendeau

Here at theHumm we’re big on local economies. The retail and service businesses in the small towns that we cover play a huge role in the cultural life of those towns. Each store, restaurant, or small enterprise attracts and serves a particular clientele — some inside the community, some from outside. Some businesses host their own special events; others join together with local festivals to make the whole experience more vibrant. Many provide support in cash or in kind to local initiatives. ......


Thanks So Much for Your Support!
And Sorry About the USD Thing…
- theHumm November 2020

By — Sarah Kerr

Wow! We have been blown away by your support for theHumm and the arts & entertainment scene in the Ottawa Valley. Since our letter in the October issue that invited you to help us become reader-supported with our new patronage campaign patreon.com/theHumm , we have received so many lovely emails and notes of encouragement. This has been so uplifting, and we are truly grateful for the reminder that you like what we’re doing here at theHumm. T......


Margaret Martin – Coping with Art“The Artist’s Way - theHumm November 2020

By Sally Hansen

Art… and Soul

After many years as an elementary school teacher, Portland artist Margaret Martin is now focusing on her own artistic abilities with beautiful results.

Many of her acrylic paintings reflect her love of nature and landscape. Her paintings are deeply emotional statements about her connection to and gratitude for the natural world. Her waterscapes and landscapes testify to the restorative, healing, and inspirational powers nature bestows on us if we take the time to cont......


Leave Them With Scott!Your Leaves Can Help Farmers Regenerate Soil - theHumm November 2020

By — Scott Hortop

Would you like your fall leaves to be used to help Almonte area farmers regenerate healthy soil?

As part of my personal attempt to address the climate emergency, I have been learning from the work of a professor in New Mexico how to produce a very special type of compost from leaves. It is called fungal dominant compost and it serves as an inoculant for degraded soil to re-enliven the microbial, biological life of the soil. For more information, check out this California State University websi......


A Century ofWriters Helping Writers - theHumm November 2020

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Authors Association, the National Capital Branch invites all writers to take part in the 34th Annual National Capital Writing Contest. Award recipients will be published in the 2021 Anthology and will be part of the (virtual or live) centenary celebrations.

The Canadian Authors Association (CAA) is a not-for-profit national arts service organization with a local presence dedicated to promoting a flourishing community of wri......


Food Bank Stocking Drive
COVID Won’t Stop Santa Claus — or Sandy Claus!
- theHumm November 2020

By — The Lanark County Food Bank

The Lanark County Food Bank Stocking Drive has already begun. A lot has changed, but the need for the support of the community is stronger than ever during this year of COVID-19. Looking ahead, we know Christmas will also bring special challenges. And that’s why we are already turning our minds to making merry and starting to collect for the LCFB — The Hunger Stop 12th annual Christmas Stocking Drive.

Sandy Schappert is the spirit behind these Christmas Stockings filled with toiletries. Acting upon ......


It’s a Chocolate Party in CP! - theHumm November 2020

The Granary’s Annual Chocolate Party is still happening in downtown Carleton Place this year, with COVID safety measures in place. Bring your mask, wash your hands and join in the fun — from 2 metres away!

From December 2–6 the Granary will be offering daily gift bags, prizes, samples and great deals on all things chocolate. This year they are focusing on local chocolate including Camino, Hummingbird, Chocosol and Ludwig.

On Saturday, December 5, the Town Singers will be serenading f......


What the Hygge?Finding Cozy Winter Rituals in Westport - theHumm November 2020

By Sarah Kerr

On a beautiful day in October, I spent the day exploring the picturesque village of Westport with my two kids, aged 6 and 2, and hiking Foley Mountain. I wanted to write about finding your hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”) — the Scandinavian ritual of seeking coziness and comfort in simple experiences — in Westport. I mean, Westport is the most incredibly cozy village in the hills, perched below Foley Mountain and overlooking Upper Rideau Lake. Just driving into town from Perth will take your breath away. ......


Aid-Brigade at MMYCMusic Program in Honour of Aiden Fotherby-Verk - theHumm November 2020

By — Sarah Bingham

Some people don’t need a whole lot of time here on earth to make their mark, to change their community for the better and leave a lasting impact. Aiden Fotherby-Verk was one of those special souls who made so much of the short amount of time he had. As a part of his lasting legacy, his family has generously donated to the Mississippi Mills Youth Centre to create the “Aid-Brigade Music Program” in Aiden’s honour. Aiden’s music program will be a permanent offering at the youth centre and provi......


Guatemala Stove Project FundraiserVirtual Auction Supports Families in Guatemala - theHumm November 2020

From November 6–16, you can help support the work of the Guatemala Stove Project by participating in an online auction of amazing items. Choose from Guatemalan handicrafts, pottery, gift baskets, paintings and jewellery, restaurant and business vouchers, and much more by visiting 32auctions.com/GSP2020 . Proceeds will support the building of chimney-vented cooking stoves for Maya families. These stoves not only reduce the amount of w......


Unusual, Unconfined… Art Abounds in our Area! - theHumm November 2020

By Miss Cellaneous

Sivarulrasa’s 6th Anniversary Show

The 6th Anniversary Show is the Sivarulrasa Gallery’s biggest exhibition of the year, celebrating their sixth year of operations in Almonte! Running from November 25 to December 30, it covers all three exhibition spaces in the gallery. Owner Sanjeev Sivarulrasa is “delighted to showcase sculpture, paintings, drawings and photographic works from our 27 represented artists from Almonte, Ontario, and across C......


Shedding Some Light on Men’s Sheds - theHumm November 2020

John Peters is an active member of both the Hackberry Men’s Shed (an organization that serves Carleton Place) and the Naismith Men’s Shed (which serves Almonte and area). We asked him how area sheds are trying to keep men engaged, connected and supported.

theHumm: According to menssheds.ca , Doug Mackie founded the first Canadian shed after recognizing that many men in his community had both time on their hands and a tendency to......


The Experimental Yard - theHumm November 2020

By David Hinks

I first met Joanne and Rick at a workshop that I was leading on garden pests at the Carp Library three years ago — they were very interested and enthusiastic participants. At the time they were in the process of moving from their home in Orleans to a new home in Carleton Place. I met them again at the Carleton Place Community Garden where they have become volunteers and leaders in this very successful community initiative. In a conversation about gardening, I was invited to tour their home ......


Danah-Lee Set to Release New and Inspiring Music - theHumm November 2020

Ottawa Valley singer-songwriter Danah-Lee is set to release a new and inspiring EP on November 20 titled These Are a Few of My Favourite Hymns. The first EP single, Fall on Me, is coming to all streaming platforms on November 6. Singles will be released each Friday in November. The album is quite remarkable, as all parts have been recorded, mixed and mastered remotely due to the global pandemic.

Danah-Lee has co-produced every arrangement alongside 18-year-old André Mergulhão (a young musi......


The Importance of Indie Bookshops - theHumm November 2020

By — John Pigeau

A friend of mine once told me that in her favourite, most enchanting dream, she’s trapped in a small charming bookstore overnight. So what does she do? After she screams into her hands with sheer joy, she kicks off her shoes and excitedly pokes about, gathering an armload of wonderful books. Then she parks it in a big comfy chair, drapes the owner’s left-behind cardigan over her shoulders, smiles to herself at her absolutely brilliant fortune, and then finally, blissfully, opens the first......


Zoom with Tim Cook! - theHumm November 2020

Renowned historian and author Tim Cook stopped by Mill Street Books to sign copies of The Fight for History: 75 Years of Forgetting, Remembering, and Remaking Canada’s Second World War. His latest book looks at how Canadians have reframed the war experience over time. He states: “If we do not embrace our history, no one else will.” Tim has kindly agreed to participate in a Zoom presentation on Sunday, November 15 at 2pm. Purchase a signed copy and you will be provided a link for th......


MVTM Announces Winners of New Awards - theHumm November 2020

The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum (MVTM) is proud to announce the KDS Fibre and Textile Art Award winners, recognizing excellence in fibre and textile art. The award has been created as a showcase of the most current and versatile approaches to fibre as a medium. In order to profile the breadth of the craft, three award categories are in place to celebrate the work of emerging, mid-career and established women artists aged 50 and over.

The contest was open to all Canadian female artists ove......


The Art of Raking in the Rain - theHumm November 2020

By Glenda Jones

Raking is a fall rite of passage, the gateway to winter, and a good reason to be outside. Sunny days would be lovely, but not so this year — no surprise, eh? Eschew the metal rake, the fancy leaf collector, and for goodness sakes, a power leaf blower if you live in the ’burbs. We’re going old-fashioned!

Get yourself a good plastic or bamboo rake, not too heavy, not too wide. Before you’re done, you’ll appreciate a smaller rake. Get some decent garden gloves, not the old ones you wore out in the sum......


Learning to Love the Carbon Tax - theHumm November 2020

By — Chandler Swain

So we come toward the end of a doozy of a year. We have all faced up to some intense challenges and proved that, when we really need to change our way of doings things to prevent bad stuff from getting worse, we can do it. Along with issues related to the virus, the most profound problem we all face is the Climate Crisis. However, there is a silver lining to our pulling together for this one: we get a prosperous livable world for our kids and grandkids!

One thing that we and the planet can benefit ......


What’s New for November at Your Library - theHumm November 2020

By Erika Heesen

November can often be a dreary month, as the fall colours fade into gray and drizzle, and eventually into snow. The turning of the seasons is a time for change, and never more so than in this year of upheaval and adjustment. I’m sure that I’m not alone in searching for some type of light and connection to be made to get through these times. With that in mind, I decided to celebrate changes that are happening at our libraries. We’re seeing changes to our hours and spaces, and we’re also joining you virtually with programs via our Facebook pages and “Take and Make” kits.


“Take Me to the Movies”
Adult Learning & Training Centre Fundraiser
- theHumm November 2020

The Adult Learning & Training Centre is a local non-profit that provides free, personalized training to adult learners in Lanark County and Smiths Falls to upgrade their math, reading and computer skills in order to help them gain independence or obtain employment.

They are holding a Zoom fundraiser on November 13 from 7–9pm called “Take me to the Movies”. They will ask movie related questions, the answers are point-based, and at the end the totals are tallied and the people with the most points win great prizes donated from local businesses.

Required is a minimum $10 donation......


Remembrance Day in Carleton Place - theHumm November 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has directly affected the execution of this year’s annual November 11th Remembrance Day Parade and Ceremony in Carleton Place and other communities across Canada. However, the good news is that in order to have the residents of Carleton Place remember and pay our respects to our fallen, a much smaller scaled-down ceremony is still being planned, which can be viewed on Facebook Live.

During these unprecedented times, local Legion Branch 192 feels that it is incumbent upon th......


Smiths Falls Makes the Season Merry & Bright - theHumm November 2020

Riding high on the success of their summer/fall PICNIC program, the Town of Smiths Falls will be continuing to focus on local businesses with their upcoming Merry and Bright Christmas Box initiative. By partnering with local retailers, they will be helping them offer fantastic packages of gifts and goodies that will appeal to anyone who “loves local”. Businesses will select their own items to put in the custom-stamped boxes, and then the Town will supplement each box with a complimentary collectable gift, a Smiths Falls Christmas postcard, a Visitor Guide, a Walking Tour Guide, and a Chri......