The Hamilton Spectator

Conservati­ves ‘not telling truth,’ PM says

Federal Liberals push back on pressure from the opposition to cancel April 1 carbon price increase


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused conservati­ve politician­s across Canada, including premiers, of lying to Canadians about the carbon price.

Trudeau’s government is buckling as attacks mount against carbon pricing and voters increasing­ly side with politician­s who say the policy is making their lives less affordable.

Most premiers and the federal Conservati­ves want the Liberals to cancel Monday’s scheduled increase of the carbon price by $15 per tonne, adding 3.3 cents to a litre of gasoline and 2.9 cents to a cubic metre of natural gas.

The carbon rebates sent to households every three months are also being adjusted in parallel to the carbon price itself.

Political leaders who criticize the policy are failing to acknowledg­e and inform Canadians about those rebates, which are meant to offset costs to consumers, Trudeau said. Households that lower their fuel use save money, but their rebate amounts are unaffected.

“Conservati­ve premiers across this country are misleading Canadians, are not telling the truth,” he said.

“Eight out of 10 families across the country in federal backstop jurisdicti­ons make more money with the Canada Carbon Rebate than it costs with the price on pollution.”

The “backstop” is the federal pricing system, which applies in every jurisdicti­on that does not have an equivalent pricing system of its own. Currently, British Columbia, Quebec and Northwest Territorie­s do that, while all other provinces and territorie­s use the federal consumer levy.

Trudeau also accused Conservati­ve Leader Pierre Poilievre of blocking legislatio­n that would double the rebate top-up for rural Canadians.

His comments in Vancouver came the day after he wrote to critical premiers suggesting they haven’t come up with a viable alternativ­e — but is all ears if they do.

They also came as Saskatchew­an Premier Scott Moe was pressing his case against the carbon price to a House of Commons committee, the first of three premiers who will do so this week.

Moe said he believes in climate change and that emissions need to go down. But he said pricing pollution is not the way to do it.

“The goal is not for the big polluters to pay, the goal is for them to emit less,” he said, bristling a little during an exchange with NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice.

“How is it we shouldn’t make big polluters pay?” Boulerice demanded in French, accusing Moe of believing that “giant vacuum cleaners” will suck emissions out of the sky to solve climate change.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith and New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs are both scheduled to appear at the committee Thursday.

Trudeau also accused Conservati­ve Leader Pierre Poilievre of blocking legislatio­n that would double the rebate top-up for rural Canadians

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