MPs vote down Poilievre’s push to expand carbon price pause

Click to play video: 'MPs vote down Poilievre’s push to expand carbon price pause'
MPs vote down Poilievre’s push to expand carbon price pause
WATCH: Leading up to the vote, Conservative MP Jasraj Singh Hallan suggested to “shove this carbon tax where the Prime Minister’s poll numbers are: in the gutter.” – Nov 6, 2023

The motion by Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre to have Ottawa extend its carbon price pause to all forms of home heating has been defeated as the Bloc Quebecois joined the Liberals to vote down the motion.

The non-binding motion, which meant it would not need to be acted on by the government, had the support of the NDP, but still failed to get a majority with 135 voting in favour while 186 voted against.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement last month that Ottawa would implement a three-year pause on the carbon price for home heating oil, which is widely used in Atlantic Canada, led to widespread criticism from premiers elsewhere in the country Canada, calling it unfair.

“Given that the government has announced a ‘temporary, three-year pause’ to the federal carbon tax on home heating oil, the House call on the government to extend that pause to all forms of home heating,” Poilievre’s motion reads.

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Click to play video: 'Political Panel: Carbon tax fuels debate'
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Last Tuesday, Trudeau said “absolutely not” to the possibility of more carve-outs in the federal carbon price despite the criticisms of the heating oil plan. As part of the initial announcement, which Trudeau made flanked by Liberal Atlantic MPs, he said Ottawa would work with provincial governments on plans to subsidize heat pumps for low-income residents.

The Liberals’ 158 seats are enough to defeat the combined 142 seats of the Conservatives and the NDP, who announced they would support the motion on Thursday.

This meant the Bloc Québécois held the balance in this vote with 32 seats and chose to vote with the Liberals.

In announcing his party’s support for Poilievre’s motion Thursday, NDP MP Peter Julian told reporters in Ottawa his party would be support the motion due to “equity.”

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“We need to be the adults in the room. Given the panicked reaction of the Liberals, seemingly tied to their polling standing in Atlantic Canada. Given the Conservatives, for once, put forward a motion that doesn’t deny climate change, we will be supporting that motion,” he said.

“The motion today is for once not a crazy climate denying motion. It just refers to the equity of ensuring that takes of all types of home heating and in all regions actually can benefit from that.”

Following Monday’s vote, Conservative Whip Kerry-Lynne Findlay alleged Liberal MP Ken McDonald “gave the finger” to Canadians.

“We just had a very important vote to Canadians and the member from Avalon literally gave the finger to those Canadians as he stood to vote for our motion which was to give them a break and reprieve on home-heating costs,” she accused.

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McDonald, in response, said he had scratched the side of his head with two fingers.

“If they think it’s one finger, that’s up to them,” he said.

University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe told Global News last week he does not anticipate this debate receding as he believes the pause undermines the carbon price, a key policy of Trudeau’s government.

“Its core strength is in providing a uniform incentive to all individuals, all businesses, regardless of where they live, what sector they’re in, what fuel they use,” Tombe said.

“So, I think this is a move that not only undermines the carbon tax itself but changes the conversation around the carbon tax in a fundamental way that will potentially lead to more exemptions. And I think potentially the carbon tax itself, at least at the retail level, being removed entirely.”

— with files from Global News’ David Baxter

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