As Ford ties Trudeau’s future to carbon price, Poilievre demands prime ministers’ meeting

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

Published Tuesday, April 2, 2024 2:41 pmEDT

Last updated Tuesday, April 2, 2024 5:10 pmEDT

OTTAWA – As the prime minister of Canada’s largest province warned, Justin Trudeau’s political future is tied to the fate of his consumer. coal Price, the leader of the federal government conservatives He urged the prime minister to call an emergency meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts.

Tuesday brought another day of attacks against liberals. coal prices politics, even as Trudeau sought to capture the attention of Canadians by announcing billions in new spending on housing construction.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford didn’t mince his words when he said the coal the price has to come down, or Trudeau will.

And conservative leader Pierre Poilievre launched his latest attack in a letter pointing out the increase of $15 per ton for the consumer. coal price that came into effect on Monday.

The expected increase added about 3.3 cents more to the coal price per liter of gasoline. A 50 liter tank will now see a coal surcharge of $8.80, about $1.65 more than before.

The opposition leader has spent the last month traveling across the country, including to constituencies held by the Liberals and the NDP in the Greater Toronto Area, Atlantic Canada and British Columbia, organizing “cut taxes” rallies.

Poilievre promises to eliminate that policy if he becomes prime minister after the next election.

The federal conservatives They have long opposed charging fuel tax to consumers as well as small and medium-sized businesses.

The party maintains that it amounts to a tax, and under Poilievre, conservative politicians have stepped up their attacks in an attempt to connect coal prices to inflation and the pressures Canadians feel amid broader affordability issues.

Trudeau has rejected Poilievre’s claim that coal The price adds to the financial pain of families.

He says critics, including Conservative prime ministers, are inflating the impact of the fuel tax. He also routinely points to the quarterly refunds families receive to help offset costs. The payments are more generous for low-income households.

In the run-up to the April 1 increase, Trudeau dismissed calls from seven premiers to cancel it, including the only Liberal provincial premier, Andrew Furey of Newfoundland and Labrador.

All Atlantic premiers called for the pause, along with Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario, which are staunchly opposed. coal prices in general.

Ford told reporters Tuesday that while he has fought the policy for years, he believes there is no worse time to raise the tax than during the current affordability crisis.

“The number one issue, bar none, is affordability… affordable housing, affordable gas and affordable food,” he added.

He also suggested that Trudeau’s political future is tied to the future of politics, telling reporters: “This coal Taxes have to go or, in a year and a half, the prime minister will be gone.”

The next federal vote may take place as early as October 2025.

“You should sit down with the prime ministers and listen to them,” Poilievre wrote in a letter to Trudeau that circulated on social media Tuesday afternoon.

“I ask that you, within six weeks of receiving this letter, convene an emergency meeting of the 14 prime ministers of Canada to discuss the coal fiscal crisis,” he stated.

He added: “Included in these discussions is your willingness to allow provinces to opt out of the federal government. coal tax and pursue other responsible ideas to reduce emissions without taxes.”

Furey had also requested that Trudeau call an emergency meeting to discuss alternatives.

A spokesperson for Trudeau said in a statement Tuesday that all provinces and territories worked with Ottawa to put coal prices effective in 2016.

He said along with him coal increasing prices, discounts are also increasing.

“Meanwhile, Pierre Poilievre, who has yet to show any credible plan to address climate change, is lying about how the price of pollution affects affordability and wants to cancel the same program from Canada. Coal Rebate that puts more money back in the pockets of eight out of 10 Canadians.”

The prime minister has said he is open to premiers putting forward their own ideas, but any proposals must meet federal requirements when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Each jurisdiction must play its role, he said.

Trudeau underscored that point while in Dartmouth, N.S., on Tuesday for an unrelated housing announcement, just days after Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston presented a proposal to Trudeau called “Even Better Than a Coal Fiscal Plan”.

The document summarizes the measures that the Houston government has taken to date to address climate change.

Speaking to reporters, Trudeau said he has not seen details of Houston’s proposal. But he said the Nova Scotia government’s previous plans didn’t meet what Ottawa required.

Manitoba NDP Premier Wab Kinew confirmed to reporters last week that he was also working on a proposal to apply for an exemption from the federal government. coal price.

Trudeau said Monday that the seven prime ministers who complained about the policy had yet to provide detailed plans for how else they would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2024.

– With files from Mia Rabson in Ottawa and Keith Doucette in Halifax.

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