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The political battle over carbon pricing will continue into 2024

Sean Kilpatrick The Canadian Press Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is putting more pressure on the government to remove carbon pricing altogether. So far, he has succeeded in convincing many voters that this measure is the main cause of inflation.

Carbon pricing is supposed to be a tool to combat climate change, but no other topic is so hotly debated in federal politics.

Federal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must examine more and more requests for exemptions, having announced in October a moratorium on the carbon tax for heating oil.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is putting more pressure on the government to remove carbon pricing altogether. So far, he has succeeded in convincing many voters that this measure is the main cause of inflation.

In the meantime, he is trying to cut the pricing into slices like a sausage. For example, Huron-Bruce Conservative MP Bob Loob introduced a bill to exempt farmers from paying the carbon tax on natural gas and propane. Mr. Poilievre has made this private member's bill a priority.

Bill C-234 was adopted in mid-December by the Senate. But as it included amendments, it will have to be examined again by the House of Commons.

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The proposed amendments limit the temporary exemption to propane used for a grain dryer. If the entire opposition — the Conservatives, the New Democrats and the Bloc — supports it like the first time, this means that a new exemption will have to be granted.

And other prime ministers are also calling for exemptions for natural gas, since, like fuel oil in the Atlantic provinces, this product is the main source of heating in their province.

The Premier of Saskatchewan, Scott Moe, simply promised to no longer collect the tax for the federal government starting in January.

The Northwest Territories' newest premier, R. J. Simpson, has called for an exemption for his entire province, saying the price of fuel oil is so high in the North that it would have already opted for another solution, if one existed.

For the moment, Justin Trudeau remains firm in his desire not to open the door to new exemptions.

Michael Bernstein, CEO of the Clean Prosperity group, says he believes the Prime Minister.

“I don’t expect the current federal government to not further undo the program it put in place,” he believes.

In any case, the elimination of pricing will not be done by shouting chisels or ax.

A majority of economists believe that pricing is the most effective way to reduce emissions. And many business leaders prefer this system.

“From an economic point of view, it is the most effective way to reduce emissions with the minimum of government interference, the minimum of obligations and rules,” emphasizes Heather Exner-Pirot, a special adviser to the economic transition at the Business Council of Canada. This program only focuses on broadcasts. If we reduce emissions, we will pay less. It's very simple. We don't have to choose a sector, we let the market do all the work. »

The regulations are more directive and cost more to put in place, says Erner-Pirot. Companies generally prefer pricing.

Eliminating pricing could even impoverish families in the long term and have international repercussions.

The Parliamentary Budget Office has estimated that in 2030, when the federal carbon fee reaches $170 per ton, most households will receive “more payments from the Climate Action Incentive than the total amount they pay in federal fuel charges (directly and indirectly).” This gain could be as high as $388.

As for international repercussions, the European Union would likely have to impose import taxes on products from countries that do not have minimum pricing.

“It’s something to consider,” agrees Mr. Bernstein. For Canada, maintaining the competitiveness of its exports could depend on an effective carbon pricing program.”

However, he recognizes that this argument will not be an easy sell to voters.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116