Is Justin Trudeau's carbon tax "dead," or just on the ropes?

Is Justin Trudeau's carbon tax "dead," or just on the ropes?

July 18, 2018

Tomorrow, Canada's provincial premiers will meet in St. Andrews, New Brunswick to discuss provincial priorities. It will be Doug Ford's first meeting as Ontario Premier with the rest of Canada's premiers.

Premier Ford has vowed to "scrap" the "cap-and-trade" carbon tax and fight any form of a federally imposed carbon tax. You can bet that on the agenda for the premiers will be Justin Trudeau's proposal to "mandate" a carbon tax on all provinces.

Luckily, Ford won't be alone in his opposition to a national Justin Trudeau carbon tax.

It is hard to believe that just over a year ago, nine provinces supported Trudeau's plan to usurp provincial jurisdiction and mandate a national carbon tax.

At the time, only Saskatchewan, led by Premier Scott Moe, opposed the Trudeau carbon tax grab. Saskatchewan has since filed a reference case to their Court of Appeal challenging a federally imposed carbon tax on constitutional grounds, arguing that the matter falls under provincial jurisdiction.

Today, going into the meeting of the premiers, the number of provinces supporting the Trudeau carbon tax is down to five, or maybe even four.

Along with Saskatchewan and Ontario, Prince Edward Island has now said they will not accept Trudeau's mandatory carbon tax and will instead be "fighting for Islanders" on the issue. That's Prince Edward Island's Liberal government led by Liberal Premier Wade MacLauchlan.

Yes, that's right, a Liberal provincial government in Canada is siding with Premier Doug Ford and Premier Scott Moe in rejecting Trudeau's carbon tax.

In Newfoundland & Labrador, another Liberal provincial government led by Liberal premier Dwight Ball, has yet to legislate their own carbon tax. Newfoundland & Labrador's Minister of Municipal Affairs and Environment, Andrew Parsons, had previously said in May that their government would be waiting to see what Ontario would be doing on the issue. Well, we all know the answer to that now.

Of course, there's also Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister. Pallister, you might remember, was in a rush to announce his own "made-in-Manitoba" carbon tax plan a few months ago, albeit a less expensive version than Trudeau's.

Pallister was so adamant in his defence of his carbon tax that he even criticized this campaign when we launched in Manitoba.

Pallister went so far as to call us "misguided" along with our partners (the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation) in our coalition called Manitobans Against Carbon Taxes. Click here for a refresher.

But more recently, Premier Pallister's Manitoba government has now said it is willing to take the Trudeau government to court over the carbon tax issue.

And today, New Brunswick Liberal Premier Brian Gallant, who is hosting tomorrow's meeting, started back peddling on his support of a Trudeau carbon tax. Gallant suggested they may revisit a carbon tax if it disadvantaged his province as a result of other provinces taking a hard line against it.

That takes the list of premiers supporting Trudeau's carbon tax down to four.

By next summer, if Alberta's United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney is successful in defeating their NDP government and he becomes Alberta's next premier, Trudeau's carbon tax supporters will be down to three - leaving only Quebec, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia. 

Things are looking so bleak for enthusiasts of the carbon tax racket that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff, Ian Brodie, recently wrote in a Twitter post, “Say it over and over. The carbon tax is politically dead and won’t survive the end of [the] Trudeau prime ministership. Everyone knows this but not everyone will admit it.”

And now we have some carbon tax supporters predicting the same.

Yesterday, former staffer to Prime Minister Jean Chretien and well known Liberal Warren Kinsella (who describes himself as being "110%" in favour of a carbon tax), wrote this in a Twitter post, "Alberta (soon), Sask., Manitoba, Ontario, even some Liberal-led provinces in the East: Trudeau’s dream of a carbon tax is dead, pretty much."

It wasn't long ago that the pundits and "experts" said a carbon tax was unstoppable in Canada. They said there was political consensus on the issue. Some even called our campaign at AxeTheCarbonTax.ca "fringe." 

What a difference a year makes.

From nine provinces in favour of a carbon tax, to now down to four. And soon maybe three.

It's amazing.

In just a few months, a campaign of conviction - backed by loyal grassroots supporters and eventually championed by two provincial Premiers - changed the national narrative on a carbon tax.

Now it remains to be seen, will Justin Trudeau follow the lead of many former prime ministers who believed that national unity was their first and most important responsibility as prime minister of Canada and back off his carbon tax racket? 

Or will he keep pushing forward and make carbon taxation an election issue in 2019?

Something tells me Trudeau's carbon tax dream isn't "dead" yet.

Jim Karahalios

AxeTheCarbonTax.ca