The heat’s on to take the tax off
In my November 1st, 2023 report, I discussed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement regarding a “temporary, three-year pause to the federal price on pollution (fuel charge) on deliveries of heating oil in all jurisdictions where the federal fuel charge is in effect.”
I also referenced comments by Liberal Minister of Rural Economic Development, the Hon. Gudie Hutchings, responding to criticism that this change largely favoured Atlantic Canada (as the majority of those who rely on heating oil live in Atlantic Canada) while other heating choices did not receive the same exemption, she said: “I can tell you that the Atlantic Caucus was vocal about what they’ve heard from their constituents, and perhaps they need to elect more Liberals in the Prairies so that we can have that conversation as well.”
In response, I received significant disagreement regarding Prime Minister Trudeau’s handling of this policy. Many pointed out the apparent unfairness in exempting some Canadians who heat with fossil fuels from paying the federal carbon tax (where applicable) while not providing the same financial relief to others.
A similar debate is currently taking place in British Columbia, where a provincial carbon tax is in place. The official opposition and fourth opposition parties are now advocating for carbon tax relief for affordability reasons—however, the B.C. NDP government, who initially opposed the carbon tax in B.C. when they were in opposition, has refused to provide such relief thus far.
In response, Pierre Poilievre, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, introduced a motion requesting the Liberal government to extend the carbon tax exemption granted to home heating oil to all other forms of home heating in federal carbon tax jurisdictions. Surprisingly, the federal NDP also supported this motion from the Conservative Official Opposition.
However, the Trudeau Liberals, with the assistance of the Bloc Quebecois, voted against this common-sense policy. This policy would have provided equal financial relief on home heating to all Canadians in areas where the federal carbon tax applies.
As an opposition Member of Parliament representing many residents who use natural gas and propane for heating, it is incredibly frustrating to see this Liberal government persistently penalizing those who rely on these fuels, even though they burn cleaner than home heating oil.
Furthermore, last week, Jerry DeMarco, the federal commissioner of the environment and sustainable development, released a report indicating that the federal Liberal government is on track to fail its goal of reducing carbon emissions by at least 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. In other words, despite causing energy poverty for many Canadians who rely on propane and natural gas for heating (but not home heating oil), the climate plan of the Trudeau Liberals is not delivering on its promises, as many Liberals claimed it would.
The report further stated, and I quote, “Canada is the only G-7 country that has not achieved any emissions reductions since 1990.”
This indicates that other G-7 countries are performing better than Canada. This is especially significant considering that our largest trading partner, the United States, does not have a carbon tax and has outperformed Canada in reducing emissions in recent years.
The response to this report from the Federal Liberal Government, as reported by CBC, is that “The commissioner is correct; there is still work to be done to meet our ambitious but achievable 2030 goal of at least 40 percent emission reductions.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that only home heating oil will receive a carbon tax break in regions where the federal carbon tax applies. Those who heat with gas or propane will not receive the same tax break and will face increasing carbon tax rates.
This week’s question is:
Do you think the Prime Minister made a mistake by not evenly and fairly applying the carbon tax break on home heating to all Canadians in federal carbon tax jurisdictions? Why or why not?
You can reach me at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or by calling toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.