The government against all: “Carbon Tax untouchable”

TORONTO – The federal government insists: the carbon tax cannot be touched. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had said it, and the Minister of Natural Resources, Jonathan Wilkinson, reiterated it, arguing that “the provincial premiers who ask us to eliminate the planned increase in the carbon tax are wrong.”. 

In an interview aired Sunday on “Rosemary Barton Live” (CBC), Wilkinson defended the Trudeau government’s choice against the unanimous chorus of provincial leaders who called for a halt to the imminent increase (from $65 to $80 per ton) of the carbon tax, scheduled for April 1st. “They are wrong” Wilkinson said, because “removing or suspending the tax would hurt more people than it would help, because of the reduction in rebates: eight in ten Canadians receive more tax refunds than they shell out”.

The carbon tax is a primary point of attack for Conservative Leader, Pierre Poilievre, who on Friday held a “Spike the Hike” event in Saint John, New Brunswick, where he tabled two parliamentary motions that will be voted on this week, calling for a halt of the increase in the tax and the abolition of the tax itself.

Part of the disagreement between the two parties, Liberals and Conservatives, stems from a Parliamentary Budget Office report from two years ago, which presented two models to test the impact of the tax when it reaches its peak in 2030 (each year it is expected an increase). Liberals point to fiscal analysis included in the report indicating that most families would benefit from this policy, while Conservatives highlight a broader economic pattern that shows negative consequences for the economy, dragging down the financial well-being of people. Canadians.

But the Liberals themselves are divided on the issue. Today, Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie said she would not institute a provincial carbon tax if her party wins the provincial election in 2026. Crombie has been peppered with questions about her party’s position on the carbon tax since was elected provincial Liberal leader last December, with Conservative Premier Doug Ford labeling her the “carbon tax queen”.

Today, perhaps also to shake off this definition, Crombie clarified that any climate action plan presented by the provincial Liberals will not include a carbon tax. “We will ensure that major polluters pay, but we will not have a carbon tax in Ontario for consumers” Crombie said. “Instead I want strong action on the construction of public transport systems; investing in electric vehicle infrastructure; reform land use planning to build livable, walkable communities; protect our waters, sensitive territory and nature; decarbonize our energy grid; support our farmers; and, most importantly, finding ways to help families save money by helping them become more energy efficient.”.

In response, the Ford government said Crombie’s statements were “not enough” because she “did not say she opposes the federal carbon tax, which will actually increase in two weeks, by a whopping 23%” the Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith said.

Coinciding with the statement from its leader Bonnie Crombie, the Ontario Liberal Party announced the establishment of a six-person “climate action committee” that will lead consultations on Liberal environmental policy: the committee members are MPP Mary-Margaret McMahon, former Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Tourism Carol Mitchell, Executive Director of City Building Research and Innovation at Toronto Metropolitan University Cherise Burda, former Ontario Environment Minister Chris Ballard and Managing Director of Finance and Resilience at the Intact Center on Climate Adaption Kathryn Bakos.

In the pic above: Minister of Natural Resources, Jonathan Wilkinson (from Twitter X – @NRCan)