Majority of Canadians don’t want carbon tax

TORONTO – The federal government has said it clearly, and several times: the carbon tax cannot be touched. But what do Canadians think? The Angus Reid Institute tried to understand this through an online survey conducted from March 20 to 22 on a random sample of 1,602 Canadian adults who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. 

The research shows that compared to November 2023, the percentage of Canadians who support an increase in the carbon tax in their province has increased by seven points, from 15 to 22%: two in five aspiring voters for the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc Quebecers say they would raise the tax as planned, while a similar number say they would stop it at the current level. Overall positive data for Justin Trudeau’s federal government? No, according to the Angus Reid Institute, which states in its analysis that “these potential supporters are a much smaller group than they were last year” …indeed, “the vast majority of those who would support the Conservatives would cut taxes (75%) or at least lower them (9%)”. And, as is known, the Conservatives are leading in voting intentions with a margin of almost one over the governing Liberals. Which means that the vast majority of Canadians are against increasing the carbon tax, and even the carbon tax itself. In fact, regardless of political affiliation, according to the survey, 40% of Canadians interviewed would abolish the carbon tax completely, 11% would lower it and 27% would keep it at the same level (and, as we were saying, 22% would confirm the increase decided by the Trudeau government).

Alongside the small increase in support for raising or, at least, maintaining the tax, there is a greater awareness among Canadians of the benefits they receive in the form of discounts. In the context of the “Canada Carbon Rebate” rebranding, the number of Canadians who are certain they will receive the benefit (+7) or think they will receive it (+2) have both increased compared to data collected in November.

However, although awareness has increased, a plurality of Canadians still believe they are not getting what they pay (44%). There was, however, a five percentage point increase in the number of those who say they see a net benefit from the program (from 14% to 19%).

Here are other key findings from the Angus Reid Institute survey: Most Canadians currently say that concerns about the cost of living (56%) should outweigh concerns about climate change (31%) when making their decisions; criticism of the carbon tax is motivated by the feeling that it is ineffective in reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions (68% say so); two in five Canadians (40%) say the carbon tax is making their lives “much” more expensive, while a quarter (26%) say it is increasing the cost of living “a little” and only 4% say it is saving you money.

The carbon tax continues to remain at the center of the political debate: last week, with the help of the Bloc Québécois and the NDP, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals “survived” a motion of no confidence that Conservative MPs hoped would lead to early elections, given that the polls show them as very favourites.

A signature initiative of the Liberal government, the carbon tax has been subjected to intense scrutiny, pressure and waning support for months, especially ahead of April 1 when another annual tax increase will kick in.

Other data, also from the Angus Reid Institute, finds that the Liberal government’s efforts to better publicize and communicate its carbon tax program could help. But maybe it’s too late.

The complete research can be consulted here: 2024.03.24_Carbon_Tax_Final 

In the pic above, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a screenshot from a video posted on the  YouTube channel @CanadianPM