10/27/2012 03:03 EDT | Updated 10/21/2013 09:02 EDT

B.C. Liberal Convention: Carbon Tax Still Supported By Party

WHISTLER, B.C. - British Columbia's Liberals still support their carbon tax.

Delegates attending the party's convention in Whistler, B.C., Saturday voted overwhelmingly to reject a call to eliminate the tax during a debate that ended in a show of hands vote that appeared to support the tax by a three-to-one margin.

The B.C. carbon tax, introduced four years ago to fight climate change, was hailed as a bold environmental and economic initiative, but many are now concerned the carbon tax puts the province at an economic disadvantage.

Some business groups and Liberals have spoken out against the tax, arguing it's unreasonable that B.C. businesses must pay the levy while their competitors do not.

Others have said that although there was initially a strong belief other jurisdictions would follow with similar taxes, they have not materialized.

The Liberal convention motion called on the government to immediately repeal the carbon tax and dismantle its revenue neutrality mechanism, where the estimated $1.2 billion in revenues cuts costs for families.

"The elimination of the carbon tax would benefit the economy of British Columbia by facilitating equal economic playing fields with other adjoining provinces and States," stated the motion. "This initiative will reduce the costs associated with all products that require the use of fossil fuels that families rely upon such as transportation and heating."

The B.C. carbon tax adds about seven cents to a litre of fuel and includes home heating oil and natural gas.

The convention motion said one negative consequence of eliminating the carbon tax would be the lifting of incentives to reduce fossil fuel use.

Premier Christy Clark is set to deliver the convention's keynote address Saturday afternoon.

The Liberals are also expected to participate in a closed door session with the Alberta election wizard who helped Premier Alison Redford beat back a right-wing challenge and win the provincial election.

Stephen Carter is one of the key speakers at the convention.

Carter helped Redford withstand a strong challenge from the Wildrose Party, which at one point was threatening to win the election.

Carter's address to delegates at the Liberal convention, which numbers about 1,000 people, is closed to the media.

The B.C. Liberals have faced serious challenges to their free enterprise coalition from the B.C. Conservatives, but the Liberals have been expressing more confidence lately as the provincial Tories spend time feuding among themselves.

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