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The Liberals 'didn't sell the carbon tax well'

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar18,2024

Les Liberals “did’not sell the carbon tax well” /></p>
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<p class=Catherine McKenna was Minister of Environment and Climate Change in the Trudeau government from 2015 to 2019. ( Archive photo)

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Speech synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, makes it possible to generate spoken text from 'a written text.

She oversaw the birth of carbon pricing – one of the Trudeau government's flagship measures – but today, former Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is criticizing the Liberals for the weakness with which they defended the price on pollution in recent years.

According to Ms. McKenna, the Liberals let the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Pierre Poilievre, take control of the message by placing, among other things, the slogan Abolish the tax at the heart of its platform. I don't know why they gave in to him the speech […]. He never talks about how the money […] was returned to people, she says.

The ex- Liberal minister, who now works as president and CEO of the firm Climate and Nature Solutions, is referring to the levy from carbon pricing revenues, which is paid to Canadians every three months. The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that about 8 in 10 households receive more money than they spend, with pricing.

Maybe in government, they were tired, they were worried about Pierre Poilievre and they said to themselves: "If we talk “otherwise, it will create a diversion,” adds Ms. McKenna. This is not the right approach, she says:

The Conservative leader is tackling a flagship measure. We must defend it. […] The government did not sell carbon pricing well.

A quote from Catherine McKenna, former Liberal Minister of the Environment

Catherine McKenna also points the finger at Chrystia Freeland, whom she criticizes for not having talked enough about the economics surrounding the price on carbon nor the fact that the majority of people receive more in their pockets: Steven Guilbeault cannot be the only one to defend this policy. Every minister must do it. And that includes the Minister of Finance.

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I believe that the problem in this moment at the Department of Finance is that there seems to be this perspective that a policy on climate change is not a positive economic policy. I don't understand this, and it worries me.

A quote from Catherine McKenna, former Liberal Minister of the Environment

A high-ranking government source agrees: Internally, there is this perception that there is a lack of enthusiasm from the Minister of Finance with regard to more coercive climate measures, such as the price on carbon.

This same person, who requested anonymity in order to speak more freely, adds that Ms. Freeland often sees herself as the defender of the sector oil and gas around the table of the Council of Ministers.

Two liberal sources told us that Chrystia Freeland was in favor of the temporary exemption from carbon pricing granted last fall for oil heating – a measure supported by Atlantic MPs, but criticized by Catherine McKenna: It’s as if [the government] was saying: there is a problem with the price on pollution.

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Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier Minister of Canada, Chrystia Freeland (File photo)

In the Liberal ranks, however, not everyone has the same vision as the Deputy Prime Minister: Chrystia carried the party's program as a candidate, confides another source. If there is one who defends green transition policies, it's her.

Ms. Freeland was not available for an interview, but in writing, her office notes that she obviously supports the price on pollution and that she campaigned on it in the last two elections.

The Minister of Finance's team sent us by email a list of 15 public interventions that Chrystia Freeland has made over the past year, where she defended, among other things, her government's environmental policies as well as carbon pricing.

In June 2023, for example, she declared that conservatives were fighting against a price on pollution, which is the best way to fight climate change.

One ​​of the interventions cited dealt with affordability. Last December, Ms. Freeland told the House of Commons that 8 out of 10 Canadians have more money in their pockets thanks to carbon pricing.

One ​​thing is certain: Justin Trudeau has seemed more combative in recent days and seems to be adjusting his sales pitch to place more emphasis on the payment received by Canadians every quarter.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave an interview to the show “Midi Info”, on ICI Première, March 15, 2024.

In an interview on the show Midi Info,On Friday, the Prime Minister admitted that his government had perhaps poorly explained the price on carbon. This is why we continue to talk about it now and I would like us to talk about it more. And I'm glad to see that there are many people who are starting to recognize that indeed, the mathematics is quite clear, he declared.

Concrete changes were also made by its communications team. For example, the name of the rebate, which was formerly called the Climate Action Incentive Payment, was changed to Canadian Carbon Rebate.

As of next month, it will be clearly designated in the bank accounts of Canadians, explains a highly placed source in Justin Trudeau's office, who believes that the previous name was vague and that many people received money without knowing what it was. what it was about.

People say we do " rebranding" currently on the price of carbon. We can't talk about "rebranding": we never "branded".

A quote from A highly placed source in the office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Also according to this source, the Trudeau government is considering a possible advertising campaign to better explain its climate plan in the coming months.< /p>

Catherine McKenna welcomes these changes, which she describes as positive, on the part of the Prime Minister, even if she believes that they come a little late.

However, on the political level, Justin Trudeau's isolation is increasingly visible.

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Pierre Poilievre has made the abolition of the carbon tax a cornerstone of his political program. (File photo)

Last week, seven provincial premiers, including Liberal Andrew Furey in Newfoundland and Labrador, called on Ottawa to scrap a planned annual carbon price hike from $65 to $80 the ton on April 1… which Mr. Trudeau refused.

For his part, Pierre Poilievre does not intend to soften his attacks against pricing on carbon and wishes to continue to use it as political leverage. In particular, he must table a motion this week to request a freeze on the increase.

The Conservative leader thus wishes to force each Liberal MP to speak out publicly on this increase. People can no longer pay. It’s time for Liberal MPs to represent their constituents, he declared in New Brunswick on Friday. Behind him sat the sign Abolish the tax.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my natasha@thetimeshub.in 1-800-268-7116

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