Trudeau claims carbon tax 'puts more money in the pockets of Canadians'

In 2019, the federal government introduced a price on carbon pollution, starting at $20 per tonne and increasing to $50 per tonne in 2022. This April, Ottawa is expanding the tax to $65 per tonne with successive increases until 2030, reaching $170 per tonne.

Trudeau claims carbon tax 'puts more money in the pockets of Canadians'
The Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick
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Despite the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) previously correcting the record on the federal carbon tax in January, once again, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed it puts more money in the pockets of Canadians.

"We're fighting climate change while standing up for families and growing the economy through pollution pricing," said Trudeau at a press conference on Tuesday.

He said the average family of four in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, would receive a climate action incentive cheque worth $272 every three months, starting in July.

"That's over $1,000 a year and more than makes up for the extra costs because of the carbon price," claimed Trudeau, adding, "this is how you fight climate change."

In 2019, the federal government introduced a price on carbon pollution, starting at $20 per tonne and increasing to $50 per tonne in 2022. This April, Ottawa is expanding the tax to $65 per tonne with successive increases until 2030, reaching $170 per tonne.

On April 1, the carbon tax will increase to 14 cents per litre of gas and 12 cents per cubic metre of natural gas on April 1.

However, Quebec's provincial cap and trade carbon tax currently costs about nine cents per litre of gas, with a minimum requirement of 4.8 cents per litre. Its carbon tax will rise to 22.5 cents per litre of gas by 2030.

"This estimate is based on a set of assumptions, including a price for PEPS [carbon market] emission allowances of $97 per tonne in 2030, which is consistent with private sector forecasts," said a document provided to the media.

Other provinces will pay at least 37 cents in carbon taxes per litre of gas by 2030 at $170 per tonne. 

Last year, Franco Terrazzano, federal director of the CTF, condemned Ottawa for giving Quebec a "special deal" on the carbon tax.

“[It] shows the carbon tax was always about politics, not the environment," he said.

Because of the discrepancy, Albertans will pay 67.8 cents in fuel taxes per litre of gas, while Saskatchewan and Manitoba will spend over 80 cents.

"If you're willing to believe the feds will raise taxes, skim some off the top and somehow make families better off, then we have an ocean-side property in Regina to sell you," said Terrazzano.

"Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should scrap the carbon tax to save families hundreds of dollars annually."

Still, the prime minister contends the carbon tax provides "good jobs, clean air, and support for families — that's what we will continue to deliver for people...across the country."

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

The carbon tax will cost the average household between $402 and $847 in 2023, even after the rebates, according to the PBO. By 2030, Alberta and Saskatchewan's top fifth income earners will pay $7,402 and $5,123, respectively.

Still, the prime minister contends Canadians don't have to choose between the environment and the economy.

"What we are building here and across the country makes it obvious that protecting the environment and growing the economy go hand in hand."

Statistics Canada reported that Canada's economy failed to grow in the last quarter of 2022 and shrank in December by 0.1%.

The three-month slowdown ended five consecutive quarters of growth, caused by less spending by businesses and households.

Business spending on machinery and equipment fell by 7.8%, while household investment fell by 2.3% in the quarter — marking consecutive declines for both.

Capital Economics economist Stephen Brown said the "stagnation" in Canada's economic output to finish off 2022 "leaves the economy in worse shape than the Bank of Canada expected."

The Bank of Canada said 2023 would feel bad for taxpayers in January.

"That is an economy that is stalled. It is not going to feel good. That is no growth," said Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem. "The economy is slowing, and we expect it to continue. We expect growth through the next two, three quarters to be close to zero."

 

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  • By David Menzies

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