View From the Legislature

NDP Absent on Call for Carbon Tax Relief

  • Kelvin Goertzen, Author
  • Member of the Legislative Assembly, Steinbach

The first day of April will be no joke for Canadians who are driving into the gas station to fuel up their vehicle. By all accounts, it appears that the federal Liberal government plans to go ahead on that day with a 23% hike to their carbon tax. Not only is that going to hit drivers at the pump, but it will also impact shoppers at the grocery stores as well.

Prime Minister Trudeau’s insistence on making life less affordable for all Canadians prompted seven of Canada’s Premiers last week to join together in calling on the federal Liberal government to halt this impending carbon tax increase. Not only did seven of Canada’s 10 provincial Premier’s call for a freeze to the carbon tax increase, that same week a new poll was released that indicated that 70% of Canadians now oppose the Trudeau carbon tax.

One name that wasn’t on the list of Canadian Premiers seeking carbon tax relief was Wab Kinew. Manitoba’s Premier decided not to sign on to the call to halt the April 1st increase despite repeatedly telling Manitobans he is concerned about rising costs. One way to have demonstrated that concern would have been through joining together with the vast majority of other provincial leaders to help stop the carbon tax increase that will result in a family of four paying $700 more in groceries this year.

At a time when interest rates remain high and many families are having to make very difficult choices between filling up their vehicle, buying groceries or heating their home, the last thing Canadians need is another increase in taxes. What is equally frustrating when it comes to the Manitoba NDP, is trying to determine just where they stand on the carbon tax itself. At various times, the Manitoba NDP Premier has expressed support for the carbon tax as well as concern about it. One thing that is clear is that he does not want to express opposition to it directly to Mr. Trudeau.

Much of the reason that the overwhelming number of Canadians oppose the carbon tax is directly related to the how the federal Liberal government has promoted this policy. Few Canadians now believe that the carbon tax is positively impacting climate change and even fewer believe that they are receiving more back in rebates than they pay in the tax. And after the federal Liberal government created a carbon tax exemption for Atlantic Canada and then told the rest of Canada that they would not be treated equally because they did not elect enough Liberals, any remaining confidence in this policy eroded.

While the provincial Premier’s are unable to force Prime Minister Trudeau to halt his carbon tax increase on April 1st, it is important that they express the concerns of the majority of their citizens. The fact that the Manitoba NDP have chosen to remain silent on this issue is concerning and leaves Manitobans wondering just whose interest their government is looking after.