O’Toole pledge-Canadian Taxpayers Federation-carbon tax

It was only 21 days ago when federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole vowed to killed Prime Minister Justin’s Trudeau’s carbon tax.

Within a space of three weeks, O’Toole announced that if elected he would introduce his own vision of the tax with a with a complicated ‘green card’ spending program.

In a March 25, press release, O’Toole told Canadians he was going to get rid of Trudeau’s tax.

“Canada’s Conservatives will repeal the Justin Trudeau Carbon Tax,” O’Toole said in reaction to the Supreme Court ruling the carbon tax was constitutionally OK.

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O’Toole statement

But then in a shocking flip flop, O’Toole tore up his leadership campaign’s signature promise Thursday and will be campaigning on a large, re-branded carbon tax in the next federal election.

O’Toole is proposing to charge a $50/tonne carbon tax on everything from gasoline to home heating fuel, and use the money to fund government-controlled savings accounts, which Canadians can use to purchase government-approved, environmentally friendly products.

Canadians would pay a carbon tax beginning at $20 per tonne, increasing over time to $50 a tonne, but the Tories promised it would go no higher than that. However, O’Toole promised emphatically there would be no carbon tax at all under his leadership.

When running for party leader, O’Toole signed a Canadian Taxpayers Federation pledge to oppose the federal carbon tax. The vow said: “I, Erin O’Toole promise that if elected Prime Minister of Canada, I will: Immediately repeal the Trudeau carbon tax, and reject any future national carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme.”

O’Toole repeated his pledge to fight against any consumer carbon tax during the campaign for the Tory top spot.

The O’Toole carbon tax may also leave less money in taxpayers pockets than the Trudeau plan.

Under the Trudeau plan, a portion of the federal carbon tax is rebated to taxpayers to spend as they see fit. Under the O’Toole plan, revenues will go into personalized “green” savings accounts that Canadians could only spend on government-approved environmentally friendly products.

People could then draw on those accounts for “things that help them live a greener life,” the document says. 

The Conservative carbon plan calls for the accounts to be managed by a private sector consortium, appointed by the government.

Giving Canadians control of the money to ensure leaders “won’t be tempted to use the carbon tax revenue to fund (Trudeau’s) big government plans.”

The government control of the account, however, will severely limit what Canadians can spend their carbon rebates on, like gasoline, groceries, or housing.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief

Dave Naylor is News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief of the Western Standard based in the Calgary Headquarters. He served as City Editor of the Calgary Sun & covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years.

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