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Not all Conservatives oppose the second carbon tax – but they should

Author: Franco Terrazzano 2022/08/03

When it comes to scrapping the Trudeau government’s carbon tax, the hardest decision Conservative leadership hopefuls have to make is whether they would scrap it before or after lunch on their first day if elected prime minister. The bigger question is whether a Conservative government would scrap the impending second carbon tax. 

All candidates are on record saying they will cancel Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax. 

And for good reason. 

Trudeau’s carbon tax currently adds 11 cents per litre to the price of gas at a time when many Canadians can barely afford to fuel up their car on the way to work. By 2030, Trudeau’s carbon tax will cost nearly 40 cents per litre and will result in 184,000 fewer jobs across Canada, according to the Fraser Institute. 

But there’s another carbon tax all Conservative leadership hopefuls need to attack just as aggressively as they oppose the current carbon tax. That’s Trudeau’s second carbon tax, which is set to kick in next July. 

Trudeau’s second carbon tax is part of new fuel regulations that require producers to reduce the carbon content of their fuels. When companies can’t meet those requirements, they’ll be charged the second carbon tax, which is then passed to the consumer.

If the Conservative Party believes making it more expensive for Canadians to get to work is bad policy, then opposing the second carbon tax should be a no-brainer. 

The second carbon tax is expected to increase the price of gas by up to 13 cents per litre and cost a family $220 annually by 2030, according to the government’s own numbers. 

The government’s analysis shows that the second carbon tax will “disproportionately impact lower and middle-income households, as well as households currently experiencing energy poverty.” That will especially harm “single mothers” and “seniors living on fixed incomes,” according to the government. 

When leadership hopeful Pierre Poilievre first announced he would scrap the carbon tax, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation contacted Poilievre to make sure he wouldn’t replace Trudeau’s carbon tax with one of his own.

“I will cancel the tax and not replace it with any federal carbon tax of any kind,” Poilievre responded. Poilievre also confirmed that he is against a second carbon tax. 

Leslyn Lewis, Roman Baber and Scott Aitchison are all against the current carbon tax. They also need to explicitly oppose the second carbon tax. 

Jean Charest also said he would “repeal the Trudeau consumer carbon tax” if he becomes prime minister. And Charest is crystal clear about his position on the second carbon tax. Unfortunately, he’s on the wrong side. 

Charest said he would bring in a “low carbon fuel standard” that is “based on British Columbia’s policy.”

Make no mistake about it, that’s Charest supporting a second carbon tax.  

B.C.’s second carbon tax, which is also buried within fuel regulations, costs about 16 cents per litre of gas. That’s another reason the province is one of the least affordable places on the planet. With sky-high gas prices, does the Conservative Party really want to align itself with the highest gas-tax jurisdiction in Canada?

Despite having the highest carbon tax in Canada for years and a second carbon tax to boot, emissions in B.C. have continued to increase.

Emissions also increased during the first year of Trudeau’s national carbon tax. And even if the government lowered Canada’s emissions to zero, bringing our economy to a screeching halt when we make up only 1.5 per cent of global emissions doesn’t sound like a favourable trade-off for the majority of Canadians who are having a difficult time feeding their family. 

Conservative leadership candidates are right to stick up for taxpayers against Trudeau’s current carbon tax. But they also need to fight the second carbon tax for the very same reasons they oppose the current tax. 

This column was first published in the Toronto Sun on Aug. 3, 2022.