Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government will not give Canadians further reprieve from the carbon tax, but a passed Commons vote may change that.
Most Canadians heat their homes with natural gas, but the reprieve announced last week only applied to Atlantic Canadians households that use oil, where Liberals elected 24 MPs.
Trudeau rejected a carbon tax break for homeowners heating with natural gas. "There will absolutely not be any other carve-outs or suspension of the price on pollution," he said.
On November 1, Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre urged the prime minister to call a carbon tax election in a speech to caucus, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.
"We all know we are not going to agree on the carbon tax," he said. "The Prime Minister wants to raise it; I want to axe it. We all know that."
Instead of reopening old wounds, Poilievre urged all House parties to "make a deal," and "pause the carbon tax on all home heating until Canadians go to the polls."
"Given the government has announced a 'temporary three-year pause' to the federal carbon tax on home heating oil, the House calls on the government to extend that pause to all forms of home heating," reads the motion, with a vote slated for next week.
"Do you want to fight the next election on the carbon tax?" a reporter asked Trudeau. He replied: "I think Canadians are deeply, deeply concerned about the need to continue to fight climate change."
Cabinet last Thursday announced effective November 10 it would suspend its 17¢ per litre carbon tax on home heating oil until after the next election.
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the remark followed notice by Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe that SaskEnergy Incorporated, the provincial natural gas distributor, would suspend its collection of the 12¢ per cubic metre federal carbon tax effective January 1.
"I am not here to provide legal advice in terms of the action Saskatchewan has taken," Attorney General Arif Virani told reporters. "What I’d say is we stand by the carbon pricing program."
"The Prime Minister has made it very clear that only those who vote for Liberals will get relief on their home heating which has divided Canada and undermined the fight against the climate crisis," New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh told the Commons November 1.
The day prior, Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan said his Newfoundland constituents needed the tax break.
"Constituents are scared to death about a source of home heating that was always astronomically expensive but only getting more expensive," he said.
"Do you think it’s fair?" asked a reporter. O’Regan replied: "Yes […] it affects a lot more low-income households."
"I just find it a bit rich that everybody is just getting so excited about carve-outs and exceptions in particularities to regions. That’s how this country is built," he added.
Also on November 1, Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson confirmed that further carbon tax breaks are not in the cards for Canadians, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.
"There will be no more exemptions," he said. "This was a very particular case for very challenging circumstances but there will be no more exemptions."
Wilkinson also told reporters he expected SaskEnergy to collect the tax from its natural gas customers.
"What Canadians expect is that their political leaders will actually abide by the laws of the land, and we would expect Premier Moe to do that," he said.