Canadians Hold Cross-Country Protests Against April 1 Carbon Tax Hike

by EditorK

Anti-carbon tax protesters take part in a demonstrartion near Hope, B.C., on April 1, 2024 to protest the federal carbon tax increase. (Jeff Sandes/The Epoch Times)

Matthew Horwood

By Matthew Horwood

OTTAWA—Canadians across the country on April 1 held protests against the federal carbon tax increase, a federal policy they say is making life more unaffordable for those already struggling financially.

The federal carbon tax increased from $65 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions to $80 on April 1, and is set to rise until it hits $170 per tonne in 2030.

Rita Abouarrage, who attended the protest on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, said she has been forced to move back in with her parents despite working a full-time job and being paid more than minimum wage.

“I can’t afford $2,000 for an apartment, and then trying to eat, pay for your vehicle, and heat and electricity, it’s too much,” she said.


Demonstrators speak out against the carbon tax increase on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on April 1, 2024. (Matthew Horwood/The Epoch Times)

Ms. Abourrage also lamented that, at the same time, politicians are “giving themselves raises and we’re getting poorer and poorer.”

MPs received a 4.4 percent pay increase April 1, increasing their salaries by $8,500 to more than $200,000 per year.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on April 1 that the Canada Carbon Rebate is set to increase at the same time as the tax, which will put “more money back in the pockets of eight out of 10 Canadian families” and help with affordability.

“We’re both fighting climate change and one of the most efficient ways possible and putting more money back in people’s pockets with checks that arrive four times a year,” he said.

Meanwhile the Conservatives, citing Parliamentary Budget Officer figures, have argued the overall effect of the tax makes eight out of ten Canadians worse off financially during the cost-of-living crisis and have called for it to be rescinded.

Agriculture industry representative Janet Krayden, a consultant at Crystal Clear Connections, told Parliament Hill protesters that Canadian farmers are “up against the wall” because of government regulations.

She said the federal carbon tax increases the cost of farmers’ inputs such as fertilizer and fuel, which is then passed on to consumers.

“It hurts the environment too, because the food has to get here somehow, and it will come in by trucks and planes rather than by growing in our own country,” she said in her speech.

An anti-carbon tax protester waves a flag near Hope, B.C., on April 1, 2024. (Jeff Sandes/The Epoch Times)

An anti-carbon tax protester waves a flag near Hope, B.C., on April 1, 2024. (Jeff Sandes/The Epoch Times)

Protesters Take to Roads

Following a series of speeches on Parliament Hill, nearly 100 protesters marched to the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge between Ottawa and Gatineau to demonstrate. Ottawa Police announced on social media that planned demonstrations in the downtown core “may result in traffic and transit delays or disruptions.”

Protesters gathered at approximately 15 other locations across Canada, including on interprovincial highways and at provincial border crossings, carrying signs calling for the federal government to “Axe The Tax.” Protesters in vehicles showed their support for the message by honking their horns.

Prior to an “Axe The Tax” rally in Nanaimo, B.C, Conservative Leader Poilievre called the carbon tax increase a “cruel April Fool’s Day joke on Canadians” that was contributing to higher volume at food banks.

“If you tax the farmer who grows the food, the trucker who ships the food, you tax all who buy the food,” he said.

Jeff Sandes contributed to this report.

Matthew Horwood is a reporter based in Ottawa.


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