Poilievre to force confidence vote over looming carbon tax increase

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre arrives to address the national Conservative caucus on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024. © Provided by National Post

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre wants to bring down the government this week if it refuses to cancel the $15 per tonne carbon tax increase set for April 1.

“Today, I’m announcing that I’m giving Trudeau one last chance to spike his hike. One last chance, and only one more day,” Poilievre said in a speech to his caucus on Wednesday.

“I’m announcing that if Trudeau does not declare today an end to his forthcoming tax increases on food, gas and heat, that we will introduce a motion of non-confidence in the prime minister,” he said.

The motion will ask MPs to vote on whether they have confidence in the government. If the Liberal minority loses the vote, the government is expected to resign or seek the dissolution of Parliament, forcing a general election to be held.

Poilievre has already said that he expects the next election to focus on the carbon tax.

“In that carbon tax election, there will be a very simple choice,” he said on Wednesday.

“On the one hand, you will have the carbon tax coalition of the NDP and Justin Trudeau who take your money, punish your work, tax your food, double your housing costs and unleash crime and chaos in your community,” he said.

“Or common-sense Conservatives who will axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget and stop the crime.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already said that he has no plans to back down from his carbon tax increase, which will raise the price of gas by three cents a litre.

The confidence motion is set to be debated during the Conservatives’ second opposition day of the week on Thursday with a vote planned later that day.

It is unlikely to pass, given that the Liberals and New Democrats have a supply-and-confidence agreement that aims to keep Trudeau’s government in power until June 2025.

During question period, Poilievre asked Trudeau why he does not have the “courage” to call an election and let Canadians decide if Liberals should raise the tax.

“An election on the price on pollution? We had three… and we won them all,” said Trudeau.

“Then he shouldn’t be afraid to have one more,” shot back Poilievre.

Conservatives are hoping that some Liberal MPs, especially those in Atlantic provinces, will join their call to “spike the hike” and “axe the tax.”

In the past, Liberal MP Ken McDonald, from Newfoundland and Labrador, has voted against his own party on the carbon tax.

Conservatives also forced a vote on the carbon tax on Wednesday afternoon to echo the concerns of seven out of 10 provincial premiers who have been calling on Trudeau to cancel the carbon tax hike.

Ultimately, that motion was voted down by the Liberals, the Bloc Québécois and the NDP. The Liberals confirmed it was not a free vote and McDonald was nowhere to be seen during the voting period.

Kody Blois, chair of the Liberal Atlantic Caucus, said that there are other examples of how carbon pricing can exist in Canada and that the federal government would welcome the opportunity to talk with premiers about implementing other options.

“We can do carbon pricing differently if they’re that dead set against the federal backstop,” he said.

Quebec has had a cap-and-trade system for years, whereas British Columbia has its own carbon pricing system. Other provinces use the federal backstop because they did not come with a system of their own that met the federal requirements.

Federal Liberals have been attempting to push back against the Conservative slogans on the carbon tax by coming up with some of their own: “keep the cash, care for climate.”

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said on Tuesday that as carbon pricing goes up, so does the Canada Carbon Rebate. And he slammed Poilievre for not talking about the impacts of climate change and how much it is impacting and costing Canadians.

“We’re talking about our fish stocks disappearing. There’s no shrimp in the Gulf of St. Lawrence this summer. We’re talking about the province of Alberta having to ration water for residents, for businesses, for the agricultural sector,” he told reporters in a press conference.

“Climate change is real, it’s impacting Canadians and it’s costing Canadians, and you’ll never hear Pierre Poilievre talk about that.”

Source: National Post