Federal Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre is challenging the Liberal government to eliminate federal surcharges on all forms of home heating energy. In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he offers full cooperation to pass an emergency bill removing carbon taxes on all heating sources before winter heating bills arrive.
Last week, Trudeau announced a three-year suspension of the federal surcharge on heating oil. This decision primarily benefits Atlantic Canadians, where a third of households rely on oil heating.
However, most homes in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia use natural gas for heating, while Quebec predominantly uses carbon-free hydroelectricity. Following Trudeau’s announcement, Premiers Doug Ford of Ontario, Scott Moe of Saskatchewan, and Danielle Smith of Alberta, called for the same tax break for their residents who use natural gas.
The federal Conservatives have pledged to support fast-tracking government legislation that would grant carbon tax breaks to Canadians using natural gas for home heating, mirroring the recent extension provided to those using heating oil.
The government, however, is hesitant to accept this proposal, emphasizing the importance of addressing climate change through carbon pricing.
“Unlike Pierre Poilievre’s Conservatives, we know that climate change is real and it cannot be free to pollute. That’s why we put a price on carbon pollution across Canada,” Katherine Cuplinskas, a spokesperson for Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland wrote in an e-mail to Global News.
“The federal government’s announcement last week is a recognition more time and new support is needed to help Canadians, in particular those who live in Atlantic Canada, transition to cleaner, more affordable home heating options.”
Poilievre has accused Trudeau of using the tax pause as a political strategy to boost Liberal support in the region. Recent polls have shown declining support for Liberals, both federally and provincially, with the federal carbon tax being a significant factor.
Poilievre argues that Trudeau’s motivation is to secure votes rather than addressing the cost of living for Canadians.
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