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Debates over carbon tax generate heated opinions

Posted on November 9, 2023 by Taber Times

By Cal Braid
Taber Times
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

On Nov. 3, Martin Shields, MP for Bow River, rose in the House of Commons debates to express his concerns about equality as the Liberal government administers the carbon tax. Conservatives are criticizing the Liberals for a selective taxation process that seems to be unfolding as both a punitive measure and a reward – depending on where the taxpayer’s loyalties lie. His statements were supported by a number of other Conservatives who were present during the session, with a lone Liberal bearing most of the burden of defending his party.

“Canada was once a country where everyone was equal, but after eight years of the NDP-Liberal government, it seems that some Canadians are more equal than others,” Shields said. “Rather than axing the tax for all Canadians everywhere, the Prime Minister declared a carbon tax exemption for some Canadians in some places. Why? It is because his Atlantic caucus revolted with dwindling poll numbers.”

“The Minister of Rural Economic Development said if people want an exemption, they should vote Liberal,” Shields continued. “My father had a phrase for that, which I cannot say here. On Monday, the Liberal member for Edmonton Centre will have two choices: Will he side with the Prime Minister’s ideological project and tell his constituents he does not care how much it will cost to heat their homes in frigid Edmonton this winter, or will the Liberals have a free vote for the common-sense Conservative motion to make all Canadians equal by axing the tax?”

The Hon. Michelle Rempel Garner (CPC), of Calgary Nose Hill supported Shields’ stance, saying, “On the Liberal tax on home heating, inexplicably the member for Edmonton Centre suggested that his constituents should switch out their natural gas furnaces for expensive, higher-emitting heating oil systems. The member for Calgary Skyview has done precious little to get Calgarians the same tax relief for home heating that his party has given to other parts of the country.”

“These Liberals need to get their act together,” Rempel-Garner said. “On Monday, the Liberals have the opportunity to admit the Liberal carbon tax is not worth the cost and vote in favour of our common-sense Conservative motion to axe the tax on all forms of home heating. Winter is coming, and Canadians in all parts of the country are watching. The Liberals should do the right thing, stand up for their constituents and vote in favour of this motion.”

Rick Perkins (CPC), of South Shore-St. Margarets, added more fuel to the fire, saying, “Nova Scotia Liberal MPs got an earful this summer on how the carbon tax was making life more unaffordable in that people were having to choose between eating, heating and housing. Last week, on the day of the massive rally for the leader of the Conservatives in Nova Scotia, the panicking Liberal Prime Minister, who is plummeting in the polls, made an emergency announcement. What was the big announcement? Was it to remove the cause of the problem of the cost of living crisis and axe the carbon tax? No. Was it to permanently take the carbon tax off home heating at least? No. It was to pause the tax on oil heating temporarily but quadruple it after the next election, and the Liberal minister from Newfoundland said the pause only applies to places that vote Liberal.”

“Atlantic Canadians want fairness, not divisive politics,” Perkins said. “I challenge the Atlantic Liberals to vote for the Conservative motion to remove the Prime Minister’s costly carbon tax from all forms of home heating so that Canadians can keep the heat on.”

The conservative voices met resistance from Marc Serré (Lib), Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and to the Minister of Official Languages. Serre said, “When it comes to fighting climate change, all I ever hear from the Conservative Party members is what they oppose. They oppose providing heat pumps to save on energy bills. They oppose a price on pollution that will put more money in the pockets of Canadians. The heat pump program is a national program. They oppose offshore renewable energy projects. If the Conservative Party actually cared about Canadians, it would present policies that actually support and not just cut government programs.”

“Climate change is important,” he emphasized. “We are taking steps to deal with it.”

Serre said the Conservative Party “routinely votes against vital supports for affordability, housing and health care. Conservative MPs are opposing every single measure we introduce to address affordability and climate change. Instead of their track record of divisive politics, they should be able to support good measures to help Canadians. This is a national program, despite the misinformation from the Conservative Party. Their approach is reckless and unacceptable.”

The Hon. Kerry-Lynne Findlay (CPC), of South Surrey-White Rock, used cut-and-dried terms in assessing the situation. “The Prime Minister is creating two classes of Canadians: those who pay the carbon tax and those who do not,” she said. “After eight years of the Prime Minister, people are forced to choose between heating and eating. He is not worth the cost.”

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