Affordability concerns compounded by carbon price increase: Poilievre

Pierre Poilievre speaking to the media at a gas station in Nanaimo on April 1, 2024.

The leader of the federal Conservative party says more has to be done to address affordability in the country and says raising the carbon tax will do the opposite.

Pierre Poilievre was in Nanaimo on Monday, the same day the carbon tax was raised.

RELATED: Carbon pricing 101: What today’s increase could mean for you

“That right there is [Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau and the NDP’s cruel April Fool’s Day joke on Canadians. It is a joke without laughter. It is a joke that brings tears to the eyes of most Canadians,” Poilievre said. “Two million Canadians line up at food banks because they can’t afford food, 1/3 of food-related charities are turning Canadians away because they run out of food.”

In the lead up to the April 1 carbon tax increase, Poilievre had been campaigning for the federal government and B.C. government to not increase the price, citing cost of living concerns.

B.C. is one of the two provinces in Canada which sets its own carbon price, elsewhere the price is set by the federal government.

On March 15, Polievre wrote a letter to B.C. Premier David Eby, calling on him to not increase the price of carbon, kicking off a three-day back and forth between the two.


Poilievre says if elected, he plans to lower the cost of low-carbon alternatives, rather than implementing a tax on high-carbon activities.

He says this includes building more hydroelectric dams, approving tidal wave power off the east coast, and speed up small modular nuclear reactors.

In a separate media availability on Monday, Trudeau addressed concerns with the carbon tax raise, saying the government needs to make progress on addressing Canada’s carbon output.

“The threat of climate change is pressing,” he wrote.”There is wide consensus that decarbonization is imperative; no serious counter-arguments remain. The only question is how best, at this time, to do so.”

Trudeau also noted that the carbon tax increase also coincides with an increase in the rebates Canadians get to help offset the higher cost of fuel.

READ MORE: Premiers making ‘political hay’ out of carbon pricing increase, Trudeau says

Watch Pierre Poilievre’s full media availability below:

-With files from Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press


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