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The “carbon tax” did not provoke police intervention at the food bank

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It was the food bank officials who requested the presence of the police, because jostling occurred during the distribution of food. (Archive photo)

The Canadian Press

The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) links a police intervention at a Montreal food bank to the “carbon tax.” If opinions differ on the effect that liberal policy could have on the price of food, the event which occurred in a food bank in Parc-Extension in mid-February does not ;was not caused by carbon pricing.

On Monday, CPC leader Pierre Poilievre reposted this message from Conservative MP Dane Lloyd on X: [The Liberal inflation of the carbon tax has caused a food crisis in communities across Canada. The situation became so dire that this Montreal food bank called 911 to deal with a crowd of hungry Canadians.

Pierre Poilievre also did allusion to the police intervention in the food bank, in the House of Commons, Thursday.

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Police officers had to intervene due to the hustles to obtain food aid at Cuisines et vie collectives Saint-Roch.

MP Dane Lloyd's message contains a link to a CBC article on the police intervention at the Cuisine et vie organization Saint-Roch collectives in Parc-Extension, a few weeks ago.

It was the people in charge of the food bank who requested the presence of the police, because stampedes occurred during a food distribution.

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Have people who work at the food bank already indicated that carbon pricing could have a link to these events? No, really not, replied Nancy Dion, coordinator of the Saint-Roch collective Cuisine et vie collectives organization, which has been working in the sector for 30 years.

The recent increase in demand at the Saint-Roch Collective Cuisine and Life organization is mainly explained by the exponential arrival of migrants in recent months, according to her.

We are truly on the front line. They get off the plane, they have no winter boots, no coat, they are cold, they come to see us and they are hungry, the coordinator explained to The Canadian Press.

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The organization Cuisines et vie collectives Saint-Roch says it is no longer able to respond to the demand for food aid in the Parc- district. Extension. (File photo)

The conflict and stampedes that required police intervention reportedly occurred between a group of new arrivals, who were unaware that they had to register to obtain food, and other beneficiaries who were members of the food bank.

There were people in the food line. waiting who were not registered members of the organization and who did not know that they had to register, and there was a bit of a rush at that level.< /p>A quote from Martin Munger, general director of the Food Banks of Quebec

Several do not have status, they are asylum seekers, we are their first recourse, indicated Nancy Dion, specifying that these people are hungry people who arrive directly from India, Bangladesh or even Sri Lanka.

She explained that they have no income and no possibility of social integration, as most speak neither English nor French and are unable to fill out a form.

Across the province, the demand for food baskets is increasing and according to Martin Munger, who does not want getting involved in partisan politics, three main causes explain this increase.

On the one hand, there are the effects of the pandemic which are still feel, there is the housing crisis and also inflation.

The Canadian Press requested an interview with the CCP to understand why it linked carbon pricing to the event that occurred in Parc-Extension.

Conservative spokesperson Marion Ringuette responded that no MP was available for comment, while adding this explanation: Quebec imports food from the rest of Canada. The farmers who grow this food pay the carbon tax, the food processors pay the carbon tax, the truckers who transport this food to Quebec pay the carbon tax.

This means that Justin Trudeau's carbon tax increases the price of food for Quebecers, even if they do not pay their carbon tax directly.

A quote from Marion Ringuette, spokesperson for the Conservative Party

But according to economist Charles Séguin, it is a bit far-fetched to make a link with the event that occurred at the Parc-Extension food bank, for different reasons, notably because carbon pricing does not apply in Quebec.

Obviously, there are foods that can be produced outside of Quebec and sold in Quebec. But the impact of carbon pricing on food prices is very small. Particularly because the agricultural sector is largely excluded from pricing, explained the professor at the School of Management Sciences at UQAM.

The impact can however be felt through transportation costs, but we have seen that gasoline prices on average in Canada decreased by 4% in January compared to January of last year. last year. So, in the current dynamic, we cannot say that it really affects food prices, mentioned the economist.

Carbon pricing applies directly to the cost of fuels, but it can also be integrated into the cost of goods, such as food, as fuel producers and retailers pass the costs through the supply chain.

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said pricing could not be attributed to of carbon than about a twentieth of inflation in 2023, when the inflation rate hovered around 3%.

Two researchers from the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary recently looked at the effects of the carbon tax on food costs in British Columbia.

Federal carbon pricing does not apply in this province, which has imposed its own carbon tax since 2008.

Estimates by economics professor Trevor Tombe and his associate Jennifer Winter suggest that the tax raised the average cost of food by about 0.3 percent above what it originally cost. would be in the absence of a carbon tax.

Which is still quite modest, commented Charles Séguin.

However, the scientific director of the Agri-Food Analytical Sciences Laboratory at Dalhousie University, Sylvain Charlebois, believes that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to establish a correlation between the price policy of carbon, or the carbon market in Quebec, and the price of retail food products.

There are so many factors that influence retail prices , he explained to The Canadian Press, citing the weather, consumer tastes, trends, etc.

However, he believes that increasing pricing could compromise the competitiveness of the agri-food industry in the long term, because it could increase production costs.

He clarified that this does not necessarily mean that costs will be influenced at retail in the short term, but in the long term, it is certain that it can affect the competitiveness of the sector .

Economist Charles Séguin notes that in provinces where federal carbon pricing is in effect, most families receive more in reimbursement than what they receive. they do not pay a carbon tax.

The majority of income brackets receive a reimbursement which is higher than the costs caused by carbon pricing.

Carbon pricing is based on the principle of a change in consumer habits if the price they pay for greenhouse gas-emitting fuels increases.

Thus, the consumer who buys less fuel will pay less carbon tax, while benefiting from the same discounts from Ottawa.

However, those who emit the most GHGs because they have energy-intensive vehicles that run on oil can receive less in federal rebates than what they pay in taxes, explained Professor Séguin. p>

But they are not the ones using food banks, he clarified.

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A rally by Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre on March 17, 2024 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (File photo)

Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre tried unsuccessfully this week to bring down the Liberal government with a motion of censure regarding the carbon tax and he wants to make it the issue of the next election.

For his part, the Minister of the Environment, Steven Guilbeault, estimates that carbon pricing will make it possible to reduce GHG emissions in the country by up to a third. x27;by 2030.

So if there is someone, somewhere, who can find me a measure at zero cost and who is capable of giving us a third of our emissions reductions, let this person come and see me, because I have been working on this for 30 years and I don't know any, indicated Steven Guilbeault in a recent interview.

Carbon pricing is expected to increase next month by $15 per ton of carbon dioxide emissions in atmosphere, reaching $80.

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