By Bobbi Ann Brady MPP
As I was grocery shopping the other day, I noticed a sign, Everyday Essentials, above a refrigerator case of butter, which was selling for $8.99 a pound. Who is paying this price?
The word “essential” stuck in my craw, and I had a great discussion with my kids around the supper table that evening on marketing.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau considers his carbon tax essential to combat climate change. Most people I talk to see it as a non-essential tax grab at a time when we can least afford it. A tax grab that has increased the cost of everything that requires fuel of some kind. That includes the production and shipment of essential and non-essential foods and everything consumers utilize. This includes fuel to heat their homes during frigid Canadian winters – heating our homes is not a luxury.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is the first to have spoken out and is doing more than just talking about it. He and his provincial government is fighting back against Trudeau. Effective Jan. 1., Saskatchewan stopped collecting the carbon tax on home heating fuels, which means natural gas and electricity are exempted.
Inspired by Saskatchewan, on January 13th, I launched a petition calling on the Ontario government to follow Moe’s lead and remove the carbon tax from natural gas, propane, and electric heat for the next three years.
The inspiration for Saskatchewan was the federal government’s November 2023 move to exempt heating oil for three years from the carbon tax in the Maritimes. Being that heating oil is the predominant choice for home heating in The Maritimes, amidst dreary polls, Trudeau and the Liberals were clearly trying to bolster support in one of their traditional strongholds.
That move pretty much left the rest of Canada out in the cold, so to speak. Natural gas and electricity dominate home heating outside the Atlantic provinces. We know many in Ontario who also heat with propane.
My petition doesn’t get into the mechanics of how to execute this strategy, but Ontario can make this happen despite pushback that it would be difficult lacking a provincially-owned energy distribution system like Saskatchewan’s SaskEnergy.
Doug Ford has access to the brain trust, the bureaucrats who can make this happen for Ontario taxpayers. If Doug Ford cannot follow Scott Moe’s example, he should explain why not. At the least, if all the premiers start pushing back in this regard, perhaps Justin Trudeau will reconsider.
On social media, the majority of people have made it clear they would like to see the carbon tax scrapped entirely. Since it is a federal tax, this is the only aspect of it I can chase.
For this reason, my petition doesn’t tackle carbon tax as a whole, but I do want to share a couple more thoughts on the topic. With the price of gasoline being one of the factors in calculating inflation, and the carbon tax putting the price of gasoline up 14.3 cents per liter, it could be argued that the government is adding to inflation. And then, the price of fuel adds to the cost of producing food, transporting goods, business operations, and, of course, our day-to-day lives. Of course, the icing on the cake is rising inflation keeps interest rates high.
I don’t have all the answers, but where there is a will, there is a way. What do I know for certain is many of my constituents are suffering financially.
Bobbi Ann Brady is the MPP for Haldimand-Norfolk