Tory MP disappointed B.C. premier won't oppose federal carbon tax hike

Carbon tax hike opposition

This week's column begins with a warning—much of the content will focus on the latest official Opposition motion against the government, set to be tabled in the House of Commons.

As commonly known, both the federal carbon tax and the B.C. carbon tax are set to increase by 23% on April 1. The current rate of $65 per tonne will rise to $80 per tonne—an increase significantly above inflation.

Currently, seven Canadian premiers have publicly urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to delay the upcoming (federal) carbon tax increase. I am disappointed to say David Eby, the premier of British Columbia, is not part of the chorus of provincial leaders concerned about the hike.

Trudeau announced a temporary, three-year pause to the federal price on pollution (fuel charge) on deliveries of heating oil in all jurisdictions where the federal fuel charge is in effect. However, he has not yet agreed to provide a carbon tax break elsewhere.

This week, Conservative Leader, Pierre Poilievre, announced if the Liberals refuse to vote against the April 1 carbon tax increase, (his party) will introduce a vote of non-confidence in the government. If a majority of MPs vote non-confidence, it could trigger an election.

The federal NDP, as well as B.C. NDP government, strongly support increasing the carbon tax. In Ottawa, it's widely expected federal NDP MPs will once again vote with the government to raise the carbon tax rate. As a result, the (non-confidence) motion will likely fail.

The Liberal/NDP plan is to annually increase the carbon rate (each) April 1 until it reaches $170 per tonne on April 1, 2030.

Both the B.C. and (federal) governments defend their carbon taxes, frequently highlighting some households will receive rebates exceeding the amount they pay in carbon taxes. However, the 2023 B.C. budget noted in its supplementary tax information, "rural communities may bear higher indirect carbon tax burdens due to increased shipping costs, resulting in higher prices for goods. Additionally, colder regions of the province may incur higher carbon tax costs for home heating."

In my view, one of the major flaws of the carbon tax is it unfairly, and severely, harms the economy of many rural regions in Canada, including the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

Trudeau acknowledged this when he exempted home heating oil—primarily used in Atlantic Canada—from the carbon tax for three years. Unfortunately, he refuses to extend that exemption to all other home heating fuels.

Locally, I increasingly hear from seniors on fixed incomes who pay more for the carbon tax on their gas or propane home heating bills than they do for the actual cost of the natural gas or propane used.

A senior shared with me earlier this year that the extreme cold we experienced in December resulted in a $50 carbon tax charge on his gas bill. That $50 had to be deducted from his grocery budget.

Considering 9,097 people visited the food bank in Central Okanagan in January alone—setting a new record—and nearly 9,000 people visited in February, this poses a serious concern. Many British Columbians can't afford another increase in the carbon tax.

Given the potential confidence vote in the House of Commons this week (which I anticipate will be defeated), there are several questions to consider, given the seriousness of a non-confidence motion:

What is your preferred outcome for this vote? Do you want a federal election to take place at this time? Please explain why or why not.

Let me know what you think by email at [email protected] or call toll free at 1(800) 665-8711.

Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola and the co-chair of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

Dan  is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active Members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and also continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

Dan welcomes comments, questions and concerns from citizens and is often available to speak to groups and organizations on matters of federal concern. 

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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