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Trudeau must sit down with provinces about “carbon tax,” says Poilievre

Photo: Sean Kilpatrick Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre at a press conference in February 2024

Stephanie Taylor – The Canadian Press

April 2, 2024

  • Canada

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre calls on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to call an emergency meeting with provincial premiers to discuss federal carbon pricing.

Mr. Poilievre posted his letter to the Prime Minister on social media on Tuesday following the $15 per tonne annual increase in the carbon pricing rate, which took effect Monday, April 1.

The increase in the federal pricing rate, planned each year, now adds approximately 3.3 cents to the pump price of a liter of gasoline. A 50 liter tank will now incur a “carbon surcharge” of $8.80, about $1.65 more than before.

The Conservative leader has spent the past month traveling across the country — including the greater Toronto area, the Atlantic provinces and British Columbia — attending rallies under the slogan “ Axe the Tax

The slogan becomes “Reduce taxes” in French. Federal pricing does not apply to Quebec, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories, which have their own “price on pollution” regime.

Mr. Poilievre has promised to abandon this measure if he becomes prime minister after the next election. Federal Conservatives have long opposed imposing a fuel tax on consumers and small and medium-sized businesses.

The Conservative Party claims that this price on carbon amounts to a tax. Under Mr. Poilievre's leadership, he has stepped up his attacks to try to link carbon pricing to inflation and the pressures Canadians are feeling amid broader cost-of-living issues.

Mr. Trudeau rejects Mr. Poilievre's thesis that this carbon price adds financial stress to families already struggling with a rising cost of living.

The Prime Minister says opponents of the measure, including Conservative provincial premiers, are exaggerating the impact of this measure. He constantly reminds us that families receive quarterly rebates to help offset rising fuel costs. Discounts are most generous for low-income households.

Seven provincial premiers

Just before Monday's increase, Mr. Trudeau rejected calls from seven provincial premiers to reverse it, including that of the lone Liberal provincial premier, Andrew Furey of Newfoundland- and Labrador.

All the premiers of the Atlantic provinces have asked Mr. Trudeau to suspend the statutory increase on April 1, as have their counterparts in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, who fiercely oppose the principle even this carbon pricing.

Mr. Furey had also asked Mr. Trudeau to call an emergency meeting to discuss other options.

“You need to sit down with the prime ministers and listen to them,” Mr. Poilievre wrote to Prime Minister Trudeau, in a letter made public on social media Tuesday afternoon.

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“That is why I am asking you to convene, within six weeks of receipt of this letter, an emergency meeting with the 14 provincial premiers of Canada to discuss the tax crisis carbon,” writes Mr. Poilievre.

“These discussions should include your willingness to allow provinces to opt out of the federal carbon tax and pursue other responsible ideas to reduce emissions without taxes. »

Prime Minister Trudeau's office was not immediately available for comment on the opposition leader's invitation.

Other options ?

Mr. Trudeau has already said he is open to prime ministers presenting their own ideas, but he also specifies that any proposal must meet federal requirements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Everyone must play their role, he said.

Mr. Trudeau reiterated the argument Tuesday in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, just days after Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston submitted his proposal.

The document, titled “Still Better Than a Carbon Tax Plan,” outlines the actions taken so far by the Houston government to combat climate change.

Mr. Trudeau told reporters Tuesday that he had not seen the details of the proposal, but he reiterated that the Nova Scotia government's previous plans fell short of Ottawa's demands to this chapter.

Manitoba NDP Premier Wab Kinew confirmed to reporters last week that he is also working on a proposal to seek an exemption from federal pricing.

Mr. Trudeau said Monday that the premiers complaining about the measure have yet to provide detailed plans on other ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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