Toronto

Federal carbon tax 'has to go,' says Ontario premier

Ontario Premier Doug Ford slammed the federal carbon tax hike that kicked in Monday, calling on Canada's government to scrap it.

Drivers will pay extra 3.3 cents per litre at the pump; levy also means higher rebates

Ontario Premier Doug Ford makes an announcement and answers questions at a news conference in Mississauga on Feb. 13, 2024.
On Tuesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford slammed the new federal carbon tax hike. The increase of $15 per tonne of carbon went into effect Monday, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that increase will also mean larger quarterly rebate cheques. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press)

Ontario Premier Doug Ford slammed the federal carbon tax hike that kicked in Monday, calling on the federal government to scrap it. 

"We stand against the carbon tax... we know Ontario businesses can't afford this costly burden," Ford said Tuesday at a news conference in East Gwillimbury, Ont., north of Toronto. 

Ford, who has long opposed the increase, said the province has a long list of agricultural organizations that are feeling the impact and support the Conservative's campaign to axe the tax. 

"This carbon tax has to go or in a year and a half, the prime minister is going. It's as simple as that, he will be going, I'll guarantee you," Ford said.

"[Trudeau] will not be there. The ideology they have is just beyond me — I just do not understand it at all."

The federal government's increase of $15 per tonne of carbon went into effect Monday. The carbon tax increase will cost drivers an extra 3.3 cents per litre at the pump.

Since the Canadian government's fuel levy was introduced in 2019, the carbon tax has added 17.6 cents to the cost of a litre of gasoline.

The increase will also mean larger quarterly rebate cheques, which families are next set to receive on April 15 to help offset the higher cost of fuel, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said. In Ontario, a single-person household will receive $140 quarterly and a family of four will get $280 every three months.

Ford said the carbon tax hike is "punishing, crippling companies out there."

Last week, Ford touted some of the transit investments and infrastructure changes his province has made at a news conference in Ottawa. He previously said there are other ways to reduce emissions rather than "digging into people's pockets.

"We are going to fight it tooth and nail," he said at an East Gwillimbury farm Tuesday. "We have so many people here I could fill this field, not with hundreds of thousands but millions of people who are against this carbon tax."

WATCH | Ford slams carbon tax hike, says he does not understand it 'at all': 

Carbon tax 'has to go,' Ontario premier says

20 days ago
Duration 0:26
Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the carbon tax 'has to go, or in a year and a half the prime minister's going.'

Drew Spoelstra, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, said the levy is taking money away from investing in clean farming technology. 

Spoelstra said last fall, he dried 2,500 tonnes of grain on his farm outside Hamilton, which cost $4,500 in carbon tax.

"We support a clean environment but farmers just don't have any alternatives. We have to use fuel and energy to grow the food that we all eat," he said at the news conference Tuesday.

While tax is increasing, so is the rebate: Trudeau

Trudeau has said that while the price on pollution is rising, so is the Canada Carbon Rebate. 

"It's money in people's pockets while we continue stepping up in the fight against climate change," said Trudeau while making an unrelated announcement in Ottawa Monday.

"So all those premiers that are busy complaining about the price on pollution but not putting forward a concrete alternative that they think would be better for their communities are just playing politics."

In a statement to CBC Toronto Tuesday, the office of the Minister of the Environment, said the federal government does not keep any direct proceeds from pollution pricing in Ontario, and directs fuel charge proceeds are returned to the province.

"Pollution pricing was designed to take into account the unique needs of farmers," the statement reads. 

"Upon its creation, the federal system exempted all gasoline and diesel used on farms, as well as biological emissions, such that roughly 97 percent of on-farm emissions are not subject to the price on pollution."

Crombie responds to Ford on carbon tax hike

Ford also took a jab at Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie, dubbing her the "Queen of the Carbon Tax." 

The premier said he has spent years calling on the federal government to scrap its tax, adding that Crombie cannot say the same.

"For weeks, as the carbon tax hike loomed, Bonnie Crombie has refused to stand against it," he said Tuesday.

Crombie has previously said if her party is successful in the next provincial election, she will not introduce a carbon tax.

"Doug Ford is spending all his time, energy and taxpayer money to distract from his failures, scandals, and the fact that his Conservative government has no plan to fight climate change and protect our children's futures," she said in a statement to CBC Toronto.

"Don't forget: the only reason Ontario has a carbon tax is because Doug Ford spent millions to rip up the made-in-Ontario climate action plan he inherited."

Crombie added that the Liberal Party intends to fight against climate change and introduce a "bold, progressive climate action plan" that will save families money.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Jabakhanji

Reporter-Editor

Sara Jabakhanji is a general assignment reporter with CBC News in Toronto. You can reach her at sara.jabakhanji@cbc.ca.

With files from David Thurton, Meredith Healey and The Canadian Press

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