Poilievre says ahead of carbon price hike: ‘Eby’s constituents can’t even afford baloney’

Click to play video: 'Political Panel: Should B.C. halt carbon tax hike?'
Political Panel: Should B.C. halt carbon tax hike?
Federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has written to Premier David Eby, asking him to hold off on a 23 per cent increase to B.C.'s carbon tax on April 1. Jonina Campbell and Rachael Segal discuss the potential merits of a decision to halt the hike and what it says about Poilievre potentially wading into what become a messy election campaign – Mar 17, 2024

Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre has shot back at B.C. Premier David Eby’s comment that his plea to halt a federal carbon price increase is a “baloney factory” campaign tactic.

Poilievre told The Roy Green Show on Saturday that Eby’s “constituents can’t even afford to buy baloney after eight years of him, and the NDP and Liberal coalition.” 

“He should talk to his own citizens in British Columbia who can’t afford to eat, heat and house themselves and join with the seven other premiers who have called on Trudeau to spike this April 1st tax hike,” he said.

In a letter sent Friday, Poilievre asked Eby to join seven other premiers in opposing the increase, saying the 23 per cent rise amounts to an extra 18 cents on a litre of fuel, and people in B.C. and Canadians can’t afford it.

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Poilievre’s letter said the carbon pricing system set up by Trudeau is an imposition on the provinces that requires them to accept an ever-increasing levy.

But Eby, speaking at an unrelated news conference in Terrace on Friday, said B.C. residents would end up with less money returned to them if the government accepted Poilievre’s “campaign office and baloney factory” request.

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“I don’t live in the Pierre Poilievre campaign office and baloney factory,” Eby said. “I live in B.C., am the premier, and decisions have consequences. The fact we face is that if we followed Mr. Poilievre’s suggestion there would be less money returned to British Columbians after April 1 than there would be if the federal government administered this increase directly.”

Click to play video: 'Political science professor on carbon pricing pushback'
Political science professor on carbon pricing pushback

Poilievre reiterated Saturday that the April 1 tax is “absolutely insane.”

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“Housing costs have doubled. The carbon tax is quadrupling. Inflation is at its worst in 40 years. That’s (Eby’s) and Justin Trudeau’s record,” he said.

B.C. introduced North America’s first broad-based price on carbon in 2008, and will administer the coming increase on behalf of the federal government.

Poilievre’s letter said people in B.C. and across Canada are in need of relief and not tax increases.

“It makes no difference to the hard-working people of B.C. who administers the tax, they still pay it,” Poilievre said in his letter.

The carbon price is set to rise to $80 per tonne, up from $65 per tonne. The minimum levy will more than double by the end of the current annual increase schedule, hitting $170 per tonne by 2030.

The premiers that have asked the federal government to drop the April 1 increase are Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Jesse Bartsoff, spokesperson for Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s office, defended the carbon pricing plan earlier this month as the “most cost-effective way” to protect communities from impacts like Atlantic hurricanes to wildfires.

In February, Ottawa rebranded its carbon pricing rebate program in an effort to make it more clear what the rebate is for when it gets deposited to Canadians’ bank accounts.

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The government said at the time that about 80 per cent of Canadians are getting more from the rebates than they pay in carbon pricing.

–with files from Global News’ Sean Previl and The Canadian Press

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