Trudeau accuses carbon tax detractors of spreading 'misinformation'

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters, 'Eight out of 10 families across the country that have the federal price on pollution, do better with the Canada carbon rebate checks,' a claim refuted by the budget officer (PBO).

Trudeau accuses carbon tax detractors of spreading 'misinformation'
The Canadian Press / David Jackson
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The Trudeau Liberals face widespread condemnation over their pending carbon tax hike, but that doesn’t seem to bother Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau told reporters on Wednesday that the carbon tax sends a “clear signal” for investment in Canada without placing the brunt of it on “vulnerable, middle-class families.” 

“Eight out of 10 families across the country that have the federal price on pollution, do better with the Canada carbon rebate checks,” he said — a claim refuted by the federal budget officer (PBO).

PBO Yves Giroux said last April that the economic impact of the carbon tax would produce a “net loss” for 80% of families across Canada, after accounting for rebates.

"We estimate that most households will see a net loss, paying more in the federal fuel charge and GST, as well as receiving lower incomes, [than] they receive," he said. 

In March 2023, Trudeau claimed the rebates would improve the financial standing of “eight out of ten Canadians.” One year later, he maintains that position. "I'm happy to talk about carbon pricing with anyone who wants to talk about it," he said.

However, a growing number of taxpayers believe the carbon tax is a bad policy (44%) than good (36%), according to an Abacus poll, 

“Why are so many people still against it?” asked a reporter. “Well, you know, that's a question we all have to ask,” replied Trudeau.

“I can understand there's a lot of political misinformation and disinformation about that.”

“They don't talk about the fact that they're also going to get rid of that check,” he said. “The Canada carbon rebate puts more money in the pockets of the vast majority of Canadians.”

Last month, the Trudeau Liberals rebranded the climate action incentive to the 'Canada Carbon Rebate' to save face with Canadians.

One Cabinet minister said the move simplifies its benefits. “If we can speak the language that people speak because people say the words carbon, they say the words rebate,” said Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan. “And if we can speak that language, it’s important that people understand what’s going on here.”

However, the budget officer called out the Trudeau Liberals for their ‘selective use of facts’ to describe the carbon tax.

In 2019, the federal government introduced a price on carbon pollution, starting at $20 per tonne and increasing to $65 per tonne in 2023. On April 1, Ottawa is set to expand the tax to $80 per tonne, with successive increases planned until 2030.

The carbon tax, after accounting for rebates, will cost the average family up to $710 this year, according to the budget officer. 

Last July, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) joined the fray to condemn their misleading of taxpayers on the rebate programs.

"The Parliamentary Budget Officer shows politicians are using magic math to sell their carbon tax," said Terrazzano. "The PBO is clear: the carbon tax costs families hundreds of dollars more than the rebates they get back."

Reluctantly, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault admitted on average, the tax would "cost more money to people, which is exactly how the system was designed."

That counters remarks by Trudeau on March 14, 2023, when he said the average family of four would receive a climate action incentive cheque worth $272 every three months.

"That's over $1,000 a year and more than makes up for the extra costs because of the carbon price," the prime minister told reporters then.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) suggested the feds scrap the tax altogether to provide meaningful relief.

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax rebrand is just lipstick on a pig,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director. “Canadians need tax relief, not a snappy new slogan that won’t do anything to make life more affordable.”

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister called it “an easy thing for short-term politicians” to remove the carbon tax, claiming his job is “not to be popular.”

“My job is to do the right thing for Canada now and do the right thing for Canadians a generation from now,” he said.

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