|Franco Terrazzano |
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole should be hammering the government over the soaring cost of living. But his own carbon tax flip-flop is holding him back.
O’Toole recently held a Facebook Live where he addressed one of the key concerns facing Canadian families.
“In Canada, we’re already almost at five per cent [inflation], the highest rate in over 30 years,” said O’Toole.
These days, as Canadians, we fuel up our cars then worry about having enough left over to buy ground beef at the grocery store. The federal government is making these tough times tougher.
On Facebook Live, O’Toole attacked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax.
“Gas is going up,” said O’Toole. “Trudeau … is increasing his carbon tax. People can’t afford their quality of life.”
O’Toole’s right to fight Trudeau on carbon taxes. Sticking up for Canadians against rising tax bills and the higher cost of living should be a priority for the Official Opposition. But O’Toole already sold taxpayers out on carbon taxes.
O’Toole won the Conservative Party leadership after pledging to “immediately repeal the Trudeau carbon tax; and, reject any future national carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme.”
But just before the last election, O’Toole flip-flopped and ran on a platform that included a carbon tax.
Page 78 of O’Toole’s platform says that he would impose a “carbon price that is affordable: starting at $20/tonne and increasing to $50/tonne but no further.”
That’s a carbon tax. And at $50/tonne, O’Toole’s carbon tax would cost 11 cents for each litre of gasoline. That’s higher than Trudeau’s current carbon tax.
The next page of the platform includes what amounts to a second carbon tax similar to fuel regulations in British Columbia. Canadians for Affordable Energy says B.C.’s second carbon tax adds about 16 cents to each litre of gas.
How much would O’Toole’s carbon taxes cost a Canadian family? Let’s say a family fuels up their Honda Accord once a week and Ford F-150 once every two weeks. O’Toole’s carbon taxes would cost that family nearly $1,500 per year.
The average home in Canada uses 2,442 cubic metres of natural gas per year. O’Toole’s $50/tonne carbon would come with a $239 home heating tax bill. That brings the total carbon tax bill to about $1,700.
O’Toole claims that’s “affordable.” Do you think paying an extra $1,700 every year is affordable?
Can taxpayers really trust O’Toole to hold Trudeau accountable on sky-high gas prices after his carbon tax flip-flop? Worse, O’Toole’s carbon tax is holding back his Official Opposition from holding Trudeau accountable.
Conservative members of Parliament used to rightly rail against the carbon tax.
“I’m speaking in the House today to express my view that we need to stop piling on more costs to everyday Canadians in the form of a national carbon tax,” wrote Dan Albas in a 2018 Facebook post.
“We need a plan that reduces GHG emissions, not increase taxes,” saidMichelle Rempel Garner in 2019 while attacking Trudeau’s carbon tax.
“We will always oppose a carbon tax because we know the real cost it imposes on the Canadian people,” said former Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who called on the government to stop its “attack on the Western Canadian economy.”
Since O’Toole’s flip-flop, Conservative MPs have had a difficult time mustering a peep on the carbon tax. Of course, it would be difficult to host a press conference holding Trudeau accountable when your party leader wants to soak drivers for another 27 cents per litre.
Inflation is one of the key economic issues facing Canadian families. Taxpayers aren’t paying Opposition MPs $185,800 a year to give Trudeau a pass on higher gas prices. It’s time for Conservative MPs to remove the tail between their legs and ditch O’Toole’s carbon tax. And it’s time for O’Toole to apologize for breaking his promise to fight carbon taxes.
Franco Terrazzano is the Federal Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.