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Opinion: Don’t buy the Conservative line on carbon tax, Serré says

Nickel Belt MP says Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre and his party are misleading voters about Canada’s carbon policy
Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré.

We know Canadians are feeling the rising cost of living, particularly through higher grocery bills, rent and gas prices. 

We also know that a price on pollution is the best way to fight climate change. Our government is committed to supporting families amidst the challenges of inflation by implementing measures to ease financial burdens. The Canada Carbon Rebate, issued to all tax-paying Canadians who file (regardless of income), is part of this effort. Facts show that eight out of 10 households receive more from the Canadian Carbon Rebate than they pay.

In Ontario, the scheduled April 1  increase to pollution pricing and the Canadian Carbon Rebate will increase proportionally. Canada’s price on pollution is revenue neutral, which ensures that 80 per cent of Canadians receive more back through the Canada Carbon Rebate than they pay through pollution pricing. 

Pierre Poilievre, leader of the Conservative Party, has made his primary objective abundantly clear with his “Axe the Tax” campaign: to stoke anger for his own personal benefit.  

Pierre Poilievre is blatantly deceiving Canadians, exploiting the anxieties of many by resorting to  fear-mongering instead of presenting the truth, particularly regarding the April 1 fuel charge increase. Yes, the price on pollution is increasing by two to three cents, but what he is not telling Canadians is that the Canadian Carbon Rebate amounts also go up.

He is misleading Canadians into thinking that the April 1 increase is a recent government decision, when in fact it is mandated by the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act passed in 2018. 

If it was up to Pierre Poilievre, Canadians would not be getting these quarterly rebates. He would leave the average person worse off while helping his rich friends pollute even more and make climate change worse for all of us.

Pierre Poilievre and the Conservative Party want to make pollution free again – and take money out of the pockets of families. They have no plan for the environment. They've attempted to revoke Canadians' Climate Action Incentive rebates and oppose efforts to allocate funds to Canadians for affordability. 

Canadians need their politicians to work with each other on solutions – not against them. 

In provinces where the federal fuel charge applies, including Ontario, approximately 90 per cent of those proceeds are returned directly to Canadians through the Canada Carbon Rebate, and the remainder is returned to small businesses, Indigenous governments and farmers.

In Ontario, while the average household will pay $869 in pollution pricing, they will get back $1,124, leaving them better off by $255. This is because the Government of Canada does not keep any direct proceeds from pollution pricing. 

All direct fuel charge proceeds are returned to the province or territory of origin. Since pollution pricing is revenue neutral and, according to OXFAM, the top 10 per cent of polluters in Canada are responsible for more than a quarter of all emissions, this allows the Canada Carbon Rebate to return more to eight out of ten Canadians  than they pay. 

Poilievre has refused to even acknowledge climate change and fails to present any semblance of a climate plan. As communities across this country were burned by wildfires last summer, Poilievre poured fuel on the fire by spreading disinformation and directing his party to vote against important climate investments. While Canadians were losing their homes to devastating  floods, Poilievre failed to rise and quell the concerns with even an attempt at a climate plan. 

In 2023, insured losses from climate change reached $3.1 billion in Canada, the fourth highest  amount ever reported in the country’s history. These numbers under-represent the full cost of  damage with much going unreported and borne by the taxpayer. Actions to evacuate and  relocate people after climate emergencies often pose severe psychological and emotional  trauma and can devastate communities.

As parliamentary secretary to the minister of Energy and Natural Resources, I support the minister on many issues, such as the implementation of national firefighters to address forest risk management and to address the country’s never before seen forest fire season of 2023. 

Canada’s response to climate action must remain a priority and be addressed without delay. This is where many measures, including pricing pollution, must continue to be taken.

I refuse to play political games for personal gain, at the expense of people’s emotions, while the  Conservatives have made fearmongering and disinformation their playbook. That is gravely  unfortunate for the constituents of their ridings. 

Here are some other important bills the Conservatives voted against: 

  • A national school lunch program
  • Affordable childcare 
  • Dental care and pharmacare 
  • Banning assault style rifles

Please note:

To be eligible for the Canada Carbon Rebate (the rebate on the price on pollution,) a  person must simply file their income tax. The payment is not income tested. It is important to note that couples married or in a common law situation will receive a joint  payment issued to whoever had their taxes assessed first. 

Depending on your bank, your payment may appear with a different deposit name ranging from “Pre Auth Credit Canada” or “CAIP” for example. If you have not received your climate action incentive payment, you can reach the Canada Revenue Agency for  more assistance at 1-800-387-1193. 

• If 2024 taxes were filed electronically by March 15, individuals should receive the next CCR payment on April 15. If taxes were filed after March 15, the April payment will be later, once the return has been assessed. Because CCR is based on households, both spouses or common-law partners need to file. Additional payments  scheduled for July, October and January 2025. 

Marc Serré is the Liberal MP for Nickel Belt.


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