Doug Ford condemns Opposition silence on carbon tax

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, a frequent critic of Trudeau's carbon tax, is taking political jabs at Ontario Liberal leader Bonnie Crombie, calling her the so-called 'queen of the carbon tax.'

Doug Ford condemns Opposition silence on carbon tax
The Canadian Press / Nathan Denette
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Ontario Premier Doug Ford has frequently condemned the carbon tax as a burdensome cash grab at the expense of taxpayers living paycheck to paycheck.

His position remains unchanged — taking political jabs at Liberal leader Bonnie Crombie, the so-called “queen of the carbon tax.”

“Are you afraid of Bonnie Crombie?” asked a reporter Thursday. “No, not at all,” replied Ford. “I just need to know if she is for the carbon tax and against the carbon tax?”

The Premier attributed the progressive tax to rising energy costs, costlier fill-ups at the pump, and overall inflation. “It's been proven over and over again,” he said, calling it “the worst tax I’ve ever seen.”

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem earlier confirmed the federal carbon tax bolstered inflation by 0.4%.

“The carbon tax is killing people,” said Ford at the time. He vehemently opposed the federal increase of the carbon tax to $65 per tonne.

Last April 1, the carbon tax increased to 14 cents per litre of gas and 12 cents per cubic metre of natural gas to all provinces without a provincial cap and trade.

“Right now, we reduced gas to 10.7 cents per litre at the pump, so that puts money back into people's pockets,” said Ford Thursday.

“When you put money back in people's pockets, they're gonna go out and do things they might otherwise not be able to do, such as go for dinner, buy something, maybe put a little addition or renovation in their home.” 

According to the 24th Annual Gas Tax Honesty Report, the typical gas price in Ontario was $1.75 per litre in May 2022. Of that amount, fuel taxes amounted to $0.56 per litre.

According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) Yves Giroux, the net cost for an average household in Ontario last year was $478, rising annually to $1,820 in 2030 when the carbon tax hits $170 per tonne.

“When both fiscal and economic impacts of the federal fuel charge are considered, we estimate that most households will see a net loss, paying more in fuel charges and GST as well as receiving lower incomes, compared to the climate action incentive payments they receive and lower personal income taxes they pay,” he said.

Since the carbon tax is progressive, the top 60% of households pay more in carbon taxes than they receive in rebates, while the bottom 40% receive more in rebates than they pay — switching to only the bottom 20% in 2024/25.

“People cannot afford it,” said Ford. “We’re going to make sure it is affordable for people to live in Ontario.”

On November 13, he extended its gas and fuel rate cap of 9 cents per litre. From July 1, 2022, to December 31, 2023, the measure provided the typical household with $195 in savings on average.

Last March 23, the provincial Tories tabled Budget 2023, which forecast roughly $200 billion in revenue — $20.6 billion more than projected last budget — lending itself to an extended cap on the cost of gas and fuel throughout 2023.

The extension followed through on legislation passed in the spring that cut the gas tax by 5.7 cents per litre and the fuel tax by 5.3 cents per litre for six months, from July 1, 2022, to December 31, 2023.

“At a time when inflation has reached the highest levels in over four decades, we know families are feeling the pressure from rising prices on everything from gas to groceries,” said Ford. “To continue providing real relief, our government proposes extending the gas tax cut for another year to put more money back in peoples’ pockets where it belongs.”

According to the PBO, the lowest quintile in Ontario received $241 last year, rising to $408 in 2030. However, the top 20% paid $1,888 in 2023. Their tax bill will rise to $4,449 in 2030.

“Are you taking money out of people's pockets or are you willing to put money back into people's pockets? That's a simple question,” Ford told reporters.

He said Crombie needs to make her position clear so the voters can hold her accountable.

“But make no mistake about it — she is the queen of the carbon tax.”

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