Ryan Kiedrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
Recent polls have shown most Canadians want the carbon tax removed from home heating.
A recent poll from Leger found that 57 per cent of Canadians would like to see the federal government axe the carbon tax from their heating bills.
Saskatchewan and Manitoba were among the strongest voices to support such a move according to that poll, with 60 per cent of poll respondents in both provinces in favour of removing the tax from home heating.
A subsequent poll by Angus Reid Institute found even stronger support for a home heating exemption, with 65 per cent of respondents saying they support an exemption on home heating, 57 per cent saying they support an exemption for agriculture, 56 per cent supporting an exemption on gas and diesel for vehicles used by individuals, 56 per cent supporting an exemption on gas and diesel for vehicles used by businesses, and only 20 per cent supporting the federal government’s position that there should be no more exemptions to the carbon tax.
“The majority of Canadians don’t think the government should be taxing people for heating their homes,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director. “The numbers from every region show Canadians know it’s unfair to give some people a break on their home heating bills, but not everyone. The federal government needs to listen to the people and take the carbon tax off of home heating bills.”
The Leger poll commissioned by the CTF posed the question to Canadians if they supported removing the tax from all forms of home heating. Current carbon tax relief initiated by the government assisted an estimated three per cent of homes across the country, those who heat their homes with heating oil.
The highest amount of support discovered in the poll—66 per cent—came from the Atlantic provinces, which is a region that noted a doubling of the Climate Action Incentive Payment from 10 to 20 per cent of the baseline effective in April.
“They have been given a gift in a way, but they’re saying, ‘look, no, this isn’t right—66 per cent already are saying this should apply across the board.’ And we’re talking heating, we’re talking about a necessity as we’re headed into our winter,” said Yorkton-Melville MP Cathay Wagantall.
Brandon-Souris MP Larry Maguire noted that such inequity in different parts of the country does nothing to promote unity.
“When you put a policy in place like this for one part of the country without considering the rest of it for something as essential in Canada, in a cold country, a cold climate as heating your house for the winter, it really divides the country even further,” he said.
Senator Denise Batters recently questioned why the home heating change is only pertinent to those who still heat with oil.
“In the early 1980s, Progressive Conservative premier Grant Devine changed our province’s heat source from heating oil to natural gas at a then cost of about $150 million — a huge investment for our small province,” she said during Question Period on Nov. 9 in the Senate. “Now only about 0.3% of Saskatchewan homes still heat with oil.”
SaskEnergy will stop collecting carbon tax in the new year.
According to the provincial government, the removal of the federal carbon tax from SaskEnergy bills will save the average Saskatchewan family approximately $400 in 2024.
“Our government is taking the necessary steps to protect Saskatchewan families’ ability to afford to heat their homes this winter by removing the federal carbon tax from the natural gas bills of residential customers,” SaskEnergy minister Duncan said. “This legislation will give our government, and me as Minister, the sole authority and responsibility for decisions regarding the collection and remittance of the federal carbon tax on SaskEnergy bills while also providing protection for SaskEnergy employees and board members.”