It is hard to believe that just in 2017, nine provinces supported Justin 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.
On December 9, 2016, following a First Minister’s meeting, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed a Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. This was Justin Trudeau’s attempt at coercing the provinces to impose carbon taxes. Trudeau had previously campaigned in the 2015 federal election on a promise that he would "work cooperatively" with the provinces and premiers on climate policy. However, in 2016 at his first convention as then leader of the Ontario PC Party, Patrick Brown betrayed grassroots conservatives by announcing that he was in favour of a carbon tax. Brown's shocking announcement came after he had won the party's leadership on a fiscal conservative platform that included opposition to any carbon tax.
Brown's announcement meant that Trudeau faced no opposition by any major provincial party leader in Canada's largest province of Ontario (which is also the province that delivered Trudeau's Liberals their majority in 2015). As such, Brown's decision rolled out the red carpet for Trudeau to announce that a carbon tax would be mandatory.
With Patrick Brown as the leader of the Ontario PC Party, most provinces went along or remained quiet with on Justin Trudeau’s plans. Fortunately for Saskatchewan taxpayers, former Premier Brad Wall and current Premier Scott Moe were opposed to Justin Trudeau’s initiatives in order to prevent Saskatchewan from adopting carbon taxes.
Following Patrick Brown's resignation as Ontario PC leader, the party's leadership race was dominated by the themes of the AxeTheCarbonTax.ca campaign and the themes of party corruption advocated for, by our sister campaign, TakeBackOurPCParty.com.
As a result, all four candidates for the Ontario PC Party leadership were opposed to a carbon tax, with Doug Ford emerging victorious after being the earliest and most ardent supporter of our campaign. Ford even stated in this first leadership debate that he was going to "Axe The Carbon Tax."
During the leadership race, Patrick Brown fan and carbon tax advocate, Mark Cameron, wrote a column entitled "Opposing A Carbon Tax Is Ontario Tories' Fastest Route To Another Defeat."
In his column, Cameron concluded that if the Ontario PC Party wanted to "avoid a repeat of past election failures" and "win over those voters" who would consider voting PC, they HAD to support carbon taxes.
Prior to that, in October 2016, just two weeks after Jim Karahalios (AxeTheCarbonTax.ca founder) had his PC membership revoked and was denied entry into Patrick Brown's pro-carbon tax rally, McParland wrote a column entitled "Patrick Brown's victory plan? Stop his own party from screwing up again" where he referred to carbon tax opponents in the PC Party as "dunderheads" who "want just one more internal act of suicide before retiring from the ring."
But with the results of the 2018 Ontario election, these attempts by the "experts" trying to characterize opposition to carbon taxes as a political albatross, came crashing down.
Previously predicted doomsday scenarios failed to unfold.
Instead, the Ontario PC Party led by Doug Ford, won a thunderous 76 seat majority.
Of all of the challenges that the PC campaign endured, none of them had anything to do with Ford's promise to "Axe the Carbon Tax." In fact, the evidence suggests that Ford's opposition to carbon taxes helped to counter the challenges to his campaign. An IPSOS poll released in May revealed that 72 percent of Ontarians thought carbon taxes were just a tax grab, while 68 per cent dismissed them as a purely symbolic gesture.
One of these campaign challenges came from the "ghost of Patrick Brown," as characterized by PC campaign manager Kory Tenyecke.
But it wasn't just Patrick Brown's "ghost" that tried to sabotage the PC campaign.
The self-proclaimed "expert" on "winning", Patrick Brown himself, in the flesh, emerged multiple times in the middle of the election campaign in order to defend his corrupt legacy, promote his pro-carbon tax election platform "the People's Guarantee", criticize PC leader Doug Ford, and try to sabotage the PC Party's chances of winning.
To counter these and other challenges, Ford stayed with his core commitment to "Axe the Carbon Tax" - the same promise he kicked off his PC leadership bid with.
Two days after his election, Ford announced his new government's first priority would be to "cancel the Liberal cap-and-trade carbon tax" and "challenge the federal government carbon tax on Ontario families."
After a hard fought 17 months of the AxeTheCarbonTax.ca campaign, it goes without saying that this was a huge victory!
Prior to his announcement, some in the media ridiculed Ford's promise to "scrap the carbon tax" by claiming that Ontario's cap-and-trade scheme was not a carbon tax. On Twitter (@axethecarbontax), Jim Karahalios reminded them that not only is Kathleen Wynne's cap-and-trade scheme a tax, it is also a racket!
A week later, writer Candice Malcolm called it the same, in her Toronto Sun column entitled "Liberals' carbon tax racket is coming to an end."
In her column, Malcolm summarized the turn of events in the national debate on carbon taxes by saying "just like that, the tables have turned in Canada."
But of course, we all know it didn't happen "just like that."
Rather, it was quite the ordeal!
As Anthony Furey later described in the Toronto Sun, Ford's promise to end cap-and-trade" is quite a remarkable turn of events, given that it was only a year ago that former leader Patrick Brown was a vocal champion of carbon taxes. The PCs under Brown even went so far in their wrongheadedness as to banish anti-carbon tax activist Jim Karahalios from the party over his advocacy."
Not only was Jim Karahalios banished, he was barred from entering Patrick Brown's convention, and he was refused a paid AxeTheCarbonTax.ca booth at the annual conference put on by the Manning Centre for Building Democracy.
And as the PC Party's new spokesperson, Jeff Silverstein, explained to QP Briefing:
"In 2017, when Patrick Brown was leader of the PC Party, the Superior Court threw out a legal case launched by the PC Party against Jim Karahalios, an outspoken critic of Patrick Brown and head of the 'Axe the Carbon Tax' and 'Take Back Our PC Party' campaigns ... The legal case that was filed was another misguided attempt by Patrick Brown to stifle dissent on party issues that are matters of public interest, and the court agreed, ruling it was a SLAPP – a 'strategic lawsuit against public participation.' The legislation put in place to deter SLAPP suits entitled Karahalios to 100% of his legal fees to be paid by the PC Party."
The above are only the most public events of the AxeTheCarbonTax.ca campaign over the last 17 months. The journey included many other challenges along the way.
As Malcolm correctly pointed out in her column, now that Doug Ford has vowed to fight Justin Trudeau's carbon tax by joining forces with Scott Moe, Andrew Scheer, and Jason Kenney, those in favour of carbon taxes "aren’t going down without a fight, and the usual green evangelists have ratcheted up their name-calling and fear-mongering campaign over climate change."
As Jim Karahalios wrote in the Financial Post, today, the number of provinces supporting the Trudeau carbon tax is down to five, or maybe even four. Soon it could be down to three.