Poilievre wants Trudeau to have carbon price meeting on TV with premiers

Click to play video: 'Canadian farmers demand relief from price on carbon imposed by federal government'
Canadian farmers demand relief from price on carbon imposed by federal government
In Canada, farmers are feeling the pinch of the federally imposed 'carbon tax,' which is designed to reduce the country's emissions. The levy, which puts a price on pollution, is expected to contribute to one-third of Canada's emissions reductions by 2030. However, farmers argue that it is hurting their industry by adding unnecessary strain and increasing fuel costs. Marney Blunt reports – Apr 6, 2024

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to have a “publicly televised” meeting with the premiers to talk about the carbon price increase.

“I think he’s too scared,” Poilievre said Monday morning when asked if he thinks Trudeau would meet with the premiers on TV.

Natural Resource Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told reporters on his way into cabinet that Trudeau has been clear with the premiers that he is willing to hear alternative pitches to the federal plan, as long as they incorporate the backstop pollution price.

“At end of the day, it’s on the provinces to actually come up with something that is a reasonable option to have a conversation. Having a conversation with a bunch of folks that have no climate plans and no plan to address the climate issue — it’s pretty hard to have a conversation. So if they want to be productive, great,” Wilkinson said.

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Wilkinson pointed to comments made by Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe at a parliamentary committee just before the carbon price increase, where he said the province looked at alternatives but found they were all too expensive.

Last week, Trudeau did speak with NDP Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew about his push for Ottawa to recognize a Manitoba alternative to the carbon price.

Details of that plan have not been presented publicly.

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On April 1, the federal backstop rose from $65 per tonne to $80, with pushback from most premiers in jurisdictions it applies.

Liberal Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey wrote Trudeau last month, requesting a meeting to talk about alternatives.

In response, Trudeau sent his own letter to provinces where the backstop applies — all but British Columbia, Quebec and the Northwest Territories — saying they’ve always been able to present alternatives that incorporate the backstop.

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Now, Poilievre is using the Conservatives’ opposition day motion to force a debate on a meeting.

The motion calls for Trudeau to meet with the premiers on the “financial burden it places on Canadians” and plans for provinces to opt out of the federal plan to pursue other “responsible ideas to lower emissions.”

The motion concludes with a condition that the meeting be held and televised within five weeks of the motion being adopted.

Trudeau and his ministers lean on a parliamentary budget officer (PBO) report that says most families receive more money back in rebates than they pay in the fuel charge.

Poilievre references the same March 2023 report, which also says most Canadians see a greater net cost when broader economic factors are considered.

The PBO is preparing a new cost analysis of the federal carbon price.

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