Trudeau Hikes the Carbon Tax Yet Again

Tom Finnerty04 Apr, 2024 2 Min Read
Up in smoke, Canada.

In what has become a bit of a Canadian April Fool's Day tradition, the Trudeau government went ahead with their annual carbon tax increase on April 1st, from $65 per ton of carbon emitted to to $80 per ton. These yearly increases will continue until 2030, at which point the tax will be a shockingly high $170 per ton.

At least, that is, if things go according to the plan as originally envisioned in 2018, when Trudeau was riding high. Six years later the story is very different -- Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada are being clobbered in the polls:

Those numbers, modeled onto actual consistencies, suggest that if the election were held today, the Conservatives would win 213 seats in parliament, while the Liberals would win a mere 53. (Even combining the Liberal seat totals with those of the N.D.P. and the Green Party -- who have been central to keeping the Trudeau agenda rolling in the wake of his poor showings in the past two election -- only brings the seat count up to 91.)

There are a variety of reasons for this, but the Liberals' ideological environmentalism is one of the big ones. This is evidenced by the fact that there is suddenly widespread, robust pushback to the carbon tax, after years of its not having wide resonance outside of the oil and gas producing prairie provinces. Former Conservative leader Erin O'Toole even attempted to counter the Trudeau carbon tax by offering his own slightly rejiggered version. But current leader Pierre Poilievre has been saying "Axe the Carbon Tax!" every chance he gets.

What's more surprising, however, is that this shift isn't confined to Conservatives. Members of Trudeau's own party have taken to begging him -- sometimes in public -- to at least delay the tax increase. Andrew Furey, the Liberal premier of Newfoundland, sent Trudeau an open letter to that effect last month.

The reason for this shift is because the effects of the tax are becoming increasingly noticeable. As Canadians for Affordable Energy's Dan McTeague pointed out recently, "The cost of everything has gone up. It’s gotten so tough for businesses that some restaurants have begun adding a ‘carbon tax’ line item to the final bill." No politician wants to be associated with something so radioactive. Especially because this downside is, as they say, a feature not a bug. In McTeague's words, the "carbon tax is working." Here's what he means:

The goal [of the tax] is not simply to reduce emissions — in fact emissions have gone up. The goal is actually more nefarious than that.... [T]he Trudeau government’s own Healthy Climate, Healthy Economy plan articulates the logic of the tax quite well when it says, “The principle is straightforward: a carbon price establishes how much businesses and households need to pay for their pollution. The higher the price, the greater the incentive to pollute less, conserve energy and invest in low-carbon solutions...”

Their intention is clearly stated — they figure that, if the price of fueling up your car, going on a vacation and heating your home gets high enough, you will have to drastically alter the way you live your day-to-day life.... Which is to say, the carbon tax is a punishment for participating in normal economic activity, for living a regular life.

A war on "living a regular life" -- is there any more succinct description of the Left's guiding philosophy? Here's wishing Poilievre every success in his battle with Trudeau.

Tom Finnerty writes from New England and Ontario.


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One comment on “Trudeau Hikes the Carbon Tax Yet Again”

  1. Canada’s national debt is what, around $1.3 trillion? With a population of 39 million, that’s around $33,000 per capita. In the U.S. it’s around $100,000 per capita. These debt figures are typical throughout the Western world and are multiplied by local government indebtedness within each national government. Why? Because the contradictions from three or four generations of the welfare state have come home to roost. Now begins the Great Game of determining who is to get stuck with the bill. A carbon tax on hydrocarbons is fundamentally a consumption tax and consumption taxes are the most regressive of all taxes. Once upon a time, the welfare state could be financed with arbitrary oil/gas price increases, but Russia has interrupted the monopoly that made that strategy possible. This is the real “climate change” that has happened—a change in the strategic economic climate that made the illusion of socialism possible—for a season. Unable to finance the welfare state with the petrodollar, Western elites have chosen instead to hand the bill to the middle class via carbon taxes and similar mechanisms, all wrapped in a cloak of altruistic virtue to obscure the banal economic motives.

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