Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole has unveiled a new climate change plan that aims to achieve the same goals as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax under the Paris Accord by 2030. According to a recent Leger poll, the majority of Canadians do not support the carbon tax and want it either reduced or eliminated altogether.
The poll indicated that 55% of respondents are in favor of reducing (18%) or abolishing (37%) the carbon tax, while 27% are satisfied with the current status quo. Only 18% of Canadians are willing to accept annual tax hikes until 2030, when all provinces except Quebec will be paying $170 per tonne of carbon emissions.
The discrepancy between carbon tax rates in different provinces has sparked controversy. Alberta Premier Danielle Smith expressed concern that Alberta could end up paying 55% more carbon tax than Quebec next year. She suggested that the federal government’s differential pricing could be subject to legal challenges.
The Maritimes, typically seen as a conservative stronghold, surprised experts with 48% of respondents supporting the abolition of the carbon tax. Atlantic Canada experienced higher fuel prices on July 1, prompting pushback from residents.
Premiers from Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island have written letters to Prime Minister Trudeau, urging him to reverse the tax hikes and pause clean fuel regulations due to the financial burden they pose on residents.
According to Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Nova Scotians faced the biggest carbon tax hike in history, with an increase of 12 cents per litre of gas. On average, most households will end up paying more in carbon tax than they receive in climate rebates.
Prime Minister Trudeau has defended the carbon tax, claiming that it puts more money into the pockets of Canadians. However, a report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer found that most households will be worse off under the carbon tax, with only the lowest earning quintile benefiting.
The purpose of the carbon tax is to discourage the use of fossil fuels by making them more expensive. However, the Leger poll revealed that Canadians are not significantly changing their consumption patterns in response to the tax. Less than a third of Canadians are traveling less because of the carbon tax, and only three in ten are driving less.
While Canadians support climate action, they are not willing to bear the financial burden of the carbon tax. Many believe that decisions regarding carbon reduction should be made at the local level, and oppose a consumer carbon tax due to the potential increase in electricity and home heating costs.
Overall, the new climate change plan proposed by Erin O’Toole aligns with the goals of the Paris Accord and aims to address the concerns of Canadians who oppose the carbon tax. It seeks to find alternative solutions to reduce carbon emissions without placing a heavy financial burden on households.