There’s a chance to kill the carbon tax on home heating in Canada and the politicians in Ottawa should all push to make it happen.
On Monday, Members of Parliament will vote on a motion in the House of Commons to remove the federal carbon tax from all forms of heating fuel.
How did we get here?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau triggered this firestorm when he decided some Canadians are more equal than others and those select few deserve a carbon tax break on their home heating.
The roughly three per cent of Canadians who heat their homes with furnace oil will save about $300 this winter because they won’t have to pay Trudeau’s carbon tax.
The homes that rely on furnace oil the most happen to be smack dab in the middle of Liberal-held ridings in Atlantic Canada.
Up to 40 per cent of homes in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador rely on oil tanker trucks to roll into their backyards and fill their home oil tanks to fire their furnaces.
Usually, that fuel would carry a carbon tax of 17 cents per litre, costing about $170 extra in the carbon tax every time the tank is filled.
This heating fuel may sound foreign to some folks across Western Canada nowadays. That’s because they don’t use it anymore.
The majority of homes in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC all use natural gas for winter heat. Some rural and mobile homes use propane and they are also getting screwed with Trudeau’s carbon tax.
The carbon tax will cost the average household using natural gas more than $300 extra this year on home heating. Over the next three years folks will pay about $1,100 extra.
Trudeau and his ministers are refusing to give them the same relief as the voters, er, people, in Atlantic Canada.
“Perhaps they need to elect more Liberals on the prairies,” said Trudeau cabinet minister Gudie Hutchings when asked why the Trudeau government had targeted Atlantic Canada for home heating cost relief.
The premiers of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick have all called on Trudeau to remove the carbon tax from all home heating fuels. Some provincial NDP opposition parties have also supported the call for carbon tax relief.
“This is nakedly political that they are trying to win back support in Atlantic Canada,” said Alberta Premier Danielle Smith. “It’s outrageous and they need to apply the same fairness across the country.”
“I am calling on the federal government to offer the same carbon tax exemption to Saskatchewan families by extending it to all forms of home heating, not just heating oil,” said Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe. “Hopefully that exemption will be provided soon but, if not, effective January 1, SaskEnergy will stop collecting and submitting the carbon tax on natural gas.”
“Justin Trudeau has now admitted his carbon tax is hurting struggling Canadians,” said New Brunswick Premier Blain Higgs. “But pausing the tax on home heating oil isn’t enough. All Canadians need relief.”
The Parliamentary Budget Officer shows the carbon tax will cost the average household up to $710 this year even after rebates.
Why wouldn’t all federal politicians vote to kill the carbon tax on all forms of home heating for all Canadians?
Their constituents in places such as Thunder Bay, Nickel Belt, Timmins, Churchill, Calgary and Edmonton all deserve an answer on that.
The federal NDP has said they will vote with the Conservatives on the motion to provide the same carbon tax relief to all forms of home heating fuel. That’s a big deal if it happens and a big step forward.
But what about the Liberal MPs in Western Canada?
Trudeau’s two Alberta MPs must stand up for their constituents.
Edmonton MP Randy Boissonnault and Calgary MP George Chahal must vote to give the people in their ridings the same relief that folks in Halifax will be getting this winter.
If MPs fail to vote to remove the carbon tax from all heating fuels, it proves they want some Canadians to be punished for staying warm this winter, based on where they live and how they vote.
Franco Terrazzano is the Federal Director and Kris Sims is the Alberta Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation