Rob Shaw: Pierre Poilievre urges David Eby to halt April 1 carbon tax hike

Rob Shaw: Pierre Poilievre urges David Eby to halt April 1 carbon tax hike

Federal Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre is reaching out directly to BC Premier David Eby to urge him not to raise the carbon tax on April 1.

Poilievre sent a letter to Eby on Friday, obtained by CHEK News, saying the premier has it within his power to halt a planned 23 per cent increase to the carbon tax, because B.C. is one of two provinces that administers its own carbon pricing.

“The tax will cost British Columbians an extra 18 cents/litre to fill up their cars this year, and BC already has the highest gas prices in Canada,” Poilievre wrote.

“Nearly 200,000 people in BC used food banks in a single month last year. As people across our country are struggling, the last thing they need is another tax increase.”

Seven premiers have joined Poilievre’s social media campaign to “axe the tax” increase, including in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

“I am writing, asking that you: 1 – Do not administer the April 1st tax hike. 2 – Join the seven other premiers demanding Trudeau stop the hike,” wrote Poilievre.

The carbon tax is set to rise to $80 a tonne, from $65, on April 1. Not only will it increase the cost of gasoline at the pump, it will also increase the cost of home heating fuel and could have a ripple effect through the supply chain for food and other items.

It comes at a time when gas prices are already jumping in British Columbia and continued rising cost-of-living expenses are a top concern amongst the public.

“I do believe that if we’re really concerned about affordability and inflation, the tax is just too high,” Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said Wednesday.

Eby has in the past insisted B.C. will hold steady on increasing the carbon tax in lock-step with Trudeau’s federal government. That would mean the province increase the tax annually to a planned $170 a tonne by 2030.

On Thursday, Environment Minister George Heyman reiterated B.C.’s position in the legislature.

“British Columbia families are also deeply concerned about the impacts of climate change on their kids, on their grandkids, on the economy, on communities that face wildfires and floods, and they want to be assured that we’re taking strong climate action,” said Heyman.

“They want to do their part. That’s why we’ve structured the carbon tax in a way that returns money to low- and middle-income British Columbians, which of course would not happen if we ceased the carbon tax.

“What we do with the increases in the carbon tax is give a hundred percent of it back to British Columbians in the climate action tax credit.”

Poilievre’s campaign to halt the carbon tax has proven popular nationally, as polls put his Conservatives far ahead of the other parties in voter intention.

In British Columbia, the Opposition BC United and BC Conservative parties have been jockeying to appear aligned with Poilievre — though he does not officially endorse either.

BC Conservative leader John Rustad was first to post an endorsement of Poilievre plan to stop the carbon tax increase.

“We stand with Pierre Poilievre in his call to axe the tax and spike the hike,” read a social media graphic posted Tuesday.

Falcon and BC United followed on Thursday.

“Spike Eby’s NDP carbon tax hike!” read the graphic, which showed a picture of Falcon and Poilievre shaking hands.

The two parties also raised the issue in the legislature Thursday.

“The NDP have more than doubled the carbon tax, and on April 1 the Premier plans to hike it by 23 percent, a cruel April Fools’ joke on the public,” said Falcon.

“While the B.C. United opposition has repeatedly called for slashing the tax, this NDP Premier wants to hike the carbon tax yet again.”

Heyman attempted to defend the tax, noting it was created by the BC Liberals in 2008 — though the party had paused it at $30 a tonne prior to losing the 2017 election.

“The only thing that this government is on track with is driving hard-working British Columbians into the poorhouse,” said BC Conservative MLA Bruce Banman.

“This carbon tax was introduced by the leader of B.C. United… now Premier Eby’s socialist NDP is making it worse by increasing it.”

[email protected]

Rob ShawRob Shaw

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!