April 25th, 2024

Newfoundland’s premier asks Trudeau for meeting to discuss carbon price alternatives

By Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press on April 1, 2024.

OTTAWA – One of seven premiers who asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to pause the consumer carbon price increase is now asking for a meeting to discuss alternatives, while another is calling for a change in government.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey penned a letter to Trudeau over the weekend asking for an “emergency meeting of leaders.”

“The threat of climate change is pressing,” Furey wrote in his letter, shared on social media.

“There is wide consensus that decarbonization is imperative; no serious counter-arguments remain. The only question is how best, at this time, to do so.”

He goes on to defend the actions taken by his province to date to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

“However,” Furey continued, “a larger strategic investment by the government of Canada is required if we are going to have any meaningful impact on carbon emissions in this country.”

The four Atlantic premiers and the leaders in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario asked Trudeau to rethink raising the federal consumer carbon price, which grew Monday by $15 to $80 per tonne.

Many of them have long opposed any carbon levy, but say the affordability crisis plaguing Canadians is reason to halt the increase.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who last week testified before a parliamentary committee about his opposition to the increase, tweeted Monday that the only way to prevent future increases is a change in government.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has challenged Trudeau to make the next federal vote a “carbon tax election.” The next federal election must take place on or before Oct. 20, 2025.

Poilievre has also spent the last month hosting “axe the tax” rallies across the country with the same message. He was to hold a news conference Monday in Nanaimo, B.C., before an evening rally.

Trudeau and other carbon pricing proponents say critics are leaving out the fact that Canadian families receive quarterly rebate cheques, which are more generous to low-income households, to help them offset the upfront costs.

The Liberal party circulated a petition on social media Monday accusing Poilievre of wanting to slash those cheques, which range from $760 to nearly $1,800 per year, depending on where the recipient lives.

Trudeau has accused conservative premiers of lying about the policy’s impact on inflation and has challenged his provincial critics to present alternative plans to reduce emissions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 1, 2024.

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