Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday May 14, 2019
Nearly two-thirds of Canadians oppose provincial governments spending taxpayers’ dollars to battle federal carbon tax, poll says
Nearly two-thirds of Canadians oppose provincial governments spending taxpayers’ dollars to battle the federal carbon tax, says a new poll released Monday as the Ontario government launched a new television ad slamming the levy.
About 64 per cent of respondents said it is unacceptable for provinces to opt out of the federal effort to combat climate change, including the carbon tax, according to a survey done by Nanos Research for The Globe and Mail. As well, 64 per cent of respondents said they oppose provincial governments spending public money to fight the tax.
Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick are pursuing legal challenges to the levy, which the Liberal government imposed in those provinces that do not have a carbon pricing system of their own, as part of Ottawa’s overall effort to meet its international commitment to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is expected to unveil legislation on May 22 to rescind the provincial carbon tax adopted by the former New Democratic Party government. Mr. Kenney said he, too, will launch a legal challenge if, as promised, the federal government imposed its carbon tax in place of the provincial one that is to be cancelled.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his ministers have launched a multipronged opposition campaign that includes the court challenge in which a decision is expected soon; frequent ministerial photo ops highlighting the cost of the levy; a move to require gas stations to post stickers detailing the cost, and paid advertising. In a spot to air Monday, an Ontario government ad says the carbon tax will cost the average family $648 a year in 2022. Like the rest of the provincial material, the Ontario ad does not include any mention of the fact that the federal legislation requires all revenue raised to be returned to the province, with 80 per cent of families expected to receive more through a rebate delivered on their income tax return than they paid out in tax.
“It’s pretty clear that Canadians don’t like the idea of provinces opting out with the exception of Canadians in the Prairie provinces,” pollster Nik Nanos said. “While the carbon tax and the rebate is not a big political winner [for the federal Liberals], people definitely don’t like using provincial tax dollars to fight the federal carbon tax.”
The survey – which has a margin of error of three percentage points – polled 1,000 Canadians by phone and online between April 25 and 28. (Globe & Mail)