“What caused Justin Trudeau to freak out yesterday and hold a sudden press conference to announce that he was going to pause the carbon tax on home heating oil?” Mr. Poilievre said during a press conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, on Oct. 27.
“The answer is that he was plummeting in the polls and Pierre Polievre was holding massive rallies in Liberal-held ridings to axe the tax.”
The day before, Mr. Trudeau announced that the pause on the heating oil fuel charge for homes and small businesses would begin in 14 days’ time, applying to all jurisdictions where the federal fuel charge is in effect. The Liberals have estimated that the pause will save an average household that uses heating oil $250.
Mr. Trudeau also said that beginning in April 2024, the climate action incentive payment rural top-up rate will also be doubled from 10 percent to 20 percent of the baseline amount that Canadians get as part of their quarterly carbon price rebates.
“If you live in a rural community, you don’t have the same options that people who live in cities do. We get that. So, this is more money in your pocket to recognize those realities, even as we continue to fight climate change,” Mr. Trudeau said.
“This is an important moment where we’re adjusting policies so that they have the right outcome.”
The federal carbon tax, which applies to provinces and territories without their own carbon pricing systems, is currently priced at $65 per tonne of emissions and will increase by $15 every year until 2030. Households in the provinces receive carbon rebates to offset the costs they incur.
Mr. Poilievre, who has long called for Ottawa to “axe” the carbon tax, said the move was a “scam designed to trick oil-heating households into voting for him one more time so he can hit them with his big tax hike.”
The Conservative leader also questioned how the policy would assist Canadians in the western provinces who use natural gas, which he said “ironically has lower greenhouse gas emissions.” In the Atlantic provinces, 30 percent of homeowners use furnace oil to heat their homes.
The Conservative leader pledged to approve natural resource projects in Newfoundland and Labrador to bring its oil and gas sector “roaring back to life,” which he claimed would replace overseas oil being brought to Canada from “foreign dictatorships.”
The federal carbon tax has proven to be a controversial policy among many Canadians, with a September Ledger poll finding that 55 percent of Canadians say the tax should either be reduced or completely eliminated.
Several Liberal MPs of Atlantic provinces have called for changes to the policy, including Liberal MP for Newfoundland and Labrador Ken McDonald, who has on two occasions voted in favour of Tory motions calling on the government to repeal the tax.
A recent Ipsos poll showed the Liberals trailing behind the Conservatives in popularity, with the Tories maintaining the support of 35 percent of Canadians, versus the Liberals’ 30 percent.