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Carbon pricing, a political battleground in 2024

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Bill C-234 was adopted in mid-December by the Senate. But as it included amendments, it will have to be examined again by the House of Commons. (Archive photo)

The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must examine more and more requests for exemptions from carbon pricing, notably from provincial premiers, who announced in October a moratorium on the carbon tax for fuel oil. heating.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is putting more pressure on the government to remove carbon pricing altogether. So far, he has succeeded in convincing many voters that this measure is the main cause of inflation.

In the meantime, he is trying to cut the pricing into slices like a sausage. For example, Huron-Bruce Conservative MP Ben Loop introduced a bill to exempt farmers from paying the carbon tax for natural gas and propane. Mr. Poilievre has made this private member's bill a priority.

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“Axe the tax” ), has continued to hammer Pierre Poilievre in the last year, in reference to the carbon tax.

Bill C-234 was adopted in mid-December by the Senate. But because it included amendments, it will have to be considered again by the House of Commons.

The proposed amendments limit the temporary exemption to propane used for a grain dryer. If the entire opposition – the Conservatives, the New Democrats and the Bloc – supports it like the first time, this means that a new exemption will have to be granted.

And other prime ministers are also calling for exemptions for natural gas, since, like fuel oil for the provinces of #x27;Atlantic, this product is the main source of heating in their province.

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Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe simply promised to no longer collect the tax for the federal government starting in January.

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Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe on October 10, 2023.

The new premier of the Northwest Territories, R. J. Simpson, has called for an exemption for his entire province, saying the price of fuel oil is so expensive in the North that x27;she would have already opted for another solution, if one existed.

For the moment, Justin Trudeau remains firm in his desire not to open the door to new exemptions.

Michael Bernstein, Director General from the Clean Prosperity group, Justin Trudeau says he believes.

I don't expect the current federal government to undo even more the program he put in place, he believes.

A majority of economists believe that pricing is the most effective way to reduce emissions. And a lot of business leaders prefer this system.

From an economic point of view, it is the most effective way to reduce emissions with the minimum of government interference, the minimum of obligations and rules, emphasizes Heather Exner- Pirot, special advisor on economic transition at the Business Council of Canada.

This program only focuses on shows. If we reduce emissions, we will pay less. It's very simple. We don't have to choose a sector, we let the market do all the work.

The regulations are more directive and cost more to implement. […] Businesses generally prefer pricing.

A quote from Heather Exner-Pirot, special advisor on economic transition at the Business Council of Canada

Eliminating pricing could even impoverish families in the long term and have international repercussions.

The Parliamentary Budget Office has estimated that in 2030, when the federal carbon fee reaches $170 per ton, most households will receive more payments from the Climate Action Incentive than the total amount. that they pay in federal fuel taxes (directly and indirectly). This gain could amount to $388.

As for international repercussions, the European Union would likely impose taxes on x27;import for products coming from countries that do not have minimum pricing.

This is an element to consider, suitable M .Bernstein. For Canada, maintaining the competitiveness of its exports could depend on an effective carbon pricing program.

However, he recognizes that this argument will not be an easy sell to voters.

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