Trudeau’s about-face on carbon tax

TORONTO – No more carbon tax on home heating oil for the next three years, doubling of the “rural surcharge” in the rebate program and new incentives “to help rural Canadians switch to electric heat pumps”: the new measures of the federal government were announced last Thursday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

While the exemption applies nationwide, Trudeau said the initiative will help Atlantic Canada in particular: 30% of homeowners in this area of ​​the country still use oil to heat their homes. According to the prime minister, suspending the carbon tax will allow Atlantic Canadians to transition away from fossil fuels without worrying about upfront costs. Additionally, the federal government will increase subsidies for low-income families in Atlantic Canada to ease the transition from fossil fuels to other energy sources — subsidies that, as of last year, totaled $250 million. As regards the discount for residents of rural and small communities, it will go from 10% to 20%.

Trudeau’s announcement comes as the Liberal Party is well behind the Conservatives led by Pierre Poilievre in the polls. And it seems like an ad hoc move, given that last year the Conservatives presented a non-binding motion to eliminate the carbon tax on domestic heating fuel and the majority of Liberal MPs voted against it. Now, Trudeau’s sensational about-face.

“After plummeting in the polls and minutes before my axe the tax rally, he… panicked and promised to delay his home heating oil tax until after the election” Poilievre wrote on Twitter / X, noting that while the “tax break” will help Atlantic Canadians, it will do little for Western Canada. “That say about all the other Canadians who don’t use oil for home heating but use gas… which ironically has lower greenhouse gas emissions” Poilievre recalled.

Criticism also from the NDP, which also supports the Trudeau government: Laurel Collins and Charlie Angus accuse the prime minister of being concerned only with the political fortunes of his party in Atlantic Canada and have criticized Trudeau for not having gone further, investing in more energy sources clean. “If Trudeau had made the necessary investments in energy efficiency, electrification and clean energy years ago, instead of donating billions to big oil companies, Canadians would already be seeing lower energy bills,” say the two NDP MPs.

The NDP’s support for the Trudeau government remains a mystery, since it criticizes every initiative of the prime minister but then “keep him afloat”.

Above, the pic published by Justin Trudeau on X/Twitter (@JustinTrudeau) last Thursday to announce the new measures