Quebec's critics condemn province's 'special deal' on carbon tax

'Trudeau is giving Quebec a special deal on carbon taxes and giving other Canadians higher gas prices and heating bills,' said Franco Terrazzano, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. 

Quebec's critics condemn province's 'special deal' on carbon tax
The Canadian Press / Tijana Martin
Remove Ads

Ottawa’s ‘unfair’ carbon tax regime continues to face pushback after its critics learned of Québec’s “special deal.” 

Although Parliament committed to a carbon tax “at a similar level of stringency” across the country, Québec will only pay $97 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2030. In contrast, the rest of Canada will incur $170 per tonne of carbon emissions.

After the annual April 1 tax hike this year, all provinces except Québec pay $80 per tonne. La belle province only pays $57 per tonne as part of its cap-and-trade tax.

That amounts to 17 cents per litre of gas and 37.6 cents in 2030. During that period, Québec will pay 13 cents in carbon taxes per litre of gas. By 2030, it will rise to 22.5 cents.

“Trudeau is giving Québec a special deal on carbon taxes and giving other Canadians higher gas prices and heating bills,” said Franco Terrazzano, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

The national discrepancy is wider per cubic metre of natural gas, at 15 cents compared to 10 cents, respectively.

“The solution is simple,” according to Terrazzano. “Trudeau should scrap his carbon tax and lower gas prices and home heating bills across Canada. Canadians should all pay one carbon tax rate of $0.”

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith chimed in on the debate last Thursday after calling Ottawa’s carbon tax regime inherently unfair.

“I don't know if they have really thought about the impact of what they've done,” Smith told Rebel News. “They’re just thinking politically.”

“Trudeau’s special deal for Quebec shows the carbon tax was always about politics,” added Terrazzano. “Trudeau should make life more affordable for all Canadians and scrap his carbon tax.”

On March 27, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to hear concerns from Smith and six other premiers over the annual carbon tax hike.

Trudeau clarified that under no circumstances would the federal government pause the carbon tax despite ongoing concerns on inflation, he told reporters.

“We expect everyone to [have] the same level of ambition in the fight against climate change because that's fair,” Trudeau said.

In March 2021, the Supreme Court upheld the federal carbon tax in a 6-3 decision despite legal challenges from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. 

The following October, Smith told CBC News a potential re-litigation of the Supreme Court ruling could be in the cards if presented with "new information," according to legal advice she received.

“We have new information. We have a war in Ukraine. We have a global world increase in prices. We have global instability. We have an affordability crisis,” she said at the time. A legal challenge of the carbon tax is one way to address affordability and inflation.

Last May 26, Smith condemned Québec’s “special deal” on the carbon tax. “It's become quite clear that the price the federal government has set is not the same in every province,” she said at the time.

“Québec is going to have a much lower carbon tax price than Alberta, and I suppose if the federal government were going to interfere in this matter, the courts would frown on differential pricing,” she added.

Although Alberta did not openly entertain a legal challenge at the time, Smith appears to be more open on challenging the constitutionality of the carbon tax.

Rebel asked the premier if the differential pricing is part of Ottawa’s bid to make Alberta a have-not province. “It's again an area where I'm seeking guidance on whether we can make a constitutional challenge on that as well,” she replied.

Additionally, Smith cited Trudeau’s three-year tax freeze for heating oil in residential buildings, especially in the Maritimes.

“I want to be generous, she said. “They are struggling in Atlantic Canada, and they thought [the carbon tax carve out] was the best way for [them] to try and win some of that support back.”

According to Abacus Data, Liberal support fell 6% between July and November, after the carbon tax first took effect in the region. The Conservatives made considerable gains (11%) in the months that followed.

The Liberals dismissed the allegations, claiming three in four heating oil furnaces are located outside that region. However, just 3% of Canadian households use heating oil to keep warm.

“They came through with an arbitrary change that disproportionately impacts areas where people tend to vote Liberal, which is not a great way to pass policy,” Smith said Thursday.

“If you're going to make the case that you need to have national jurisdiction, then you need to apply the rules fairly across the board,” she added.

On December 9, 2022, the UCP leader told reporters she would look at using the Alberta Sovereignty Act to investigate this discrepancy. The party has yet to confirm if they will table a motion.

Remove Ads
Remove Ads

Don't Get Censored

Big Tech is censoring us. Sign up so we can always stay in touch.

Remove Ads