A Liberal MP from Atlantic Canada has just about had it with the carbon tax — in fact, he wants it gone as voters in the region don’t want to pay more taxes.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre sponsored a motion October 4 to repeal the carbon tax in a bid to lower fuel costs, counter food inflation and keep electricity and home heating affordable.
However, the vote failed to muster majority support as only 119 MPs voted "yes," of which 117 votes came from the Conservative caucus.
Of the 209 "nays," the New Democrats, Bloc Quebecois and Greens voted unanimously against the motion. All but one Liberal MP opposed the motion.
Newfoundland and Labrador MP Ken McDonald broke rank with the government to support scrapping the carbon tax, with costs spiralling out of control for residents in his primarily rural riding.
As reported by the CBC, McDonald lobbied Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for a carbon tax rebate specific to his riding.
"I told him exactly as it is," he said. "We're punishing the rural areas of our country and the most vulnerable people in our society."
In 2019, the feds introduced the carbon tax starting at $20 per tonne that increased to $50 last year. On April 1, Ottawa expanded the tax to $65 per tonne, with successive $15 increases planned until 2030, when it reaches $170 per tonne.
However, a recent Leger survey found that 55% of Canadians either want the carbon tax reduced (18%) or abolished (37%).
Over two-thirds (68%) of Canadians also said they are not willing to pay higher taxes to support Parliament’s push to achieve ‘net-zero’ carbon emissions by 2050.
McDonald relayed to the CBC a call he had with a constituent recently, who said she can't afford to heat her home anymore.
"She said, 'I go around my house with a blanket wrapped around me.' And she said, 'The only time I get to have beef or chicken is if my niece or nephew invites me out to Sunday dinner.'"
McDonald conveyed that at first, some people would tell him “there's nobody living like that.” He would reply: “If you don't think people are living like that, you're not living in the real world.”
The MP also acknowledged the writing may be on the wall for the party, as "people will be very upset” if there is no change “when the ballot box comes,” he said.
"That's what the prime minister is hearing loud and clear."
Wednesday’s failed motion joins a plethora of failed Conservative motions seeking to charter a new course without the carbon tax while prioritizing affordability.
On September 28, 2022, Parliament defeated a motion to scrap the carbon tax by a vote of 209-116 after the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois voted unanimously to oppose it.
A October 24, 2022 vote received a similar outcome, failing 202–116 from the same parties.