Premiers of five provinces ask for meeting with Trudeau over carbon tax

Pictured from left to right are the premiers who signed a letter calling for a meeting on carbon pricing with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs, Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston and Alberta Premier Danielle Smith.

The premiers of five provinces are calling for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to meet with them to discuss their request for carbon price exemptions on not just home heating oil, but all forms of home heating.

The open letter shared Saturday was signed by the premiers of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

In the open letter, the premiers wrote that while they are pleased that Atlantic Canada has received a carbon price exemption on home heating oil, which around 30 per cent of residents use, they believe that similar exemptions need to follow.

“Many Canadians households do not use home heating oil and instead use all forms of heating to heat their homes. Winter is coming and these people also deserve a break,” the letter states. “It is of vital importance that federal policies and programs are made available to all Canadians in a fair and equitable way.”

The premiers added that they feel this decision has “caused divisions across the country” by “singling out Atlantic Canadians” for this relief.

The letter called for the federal government to remove the federal carbon price from “all forms of home heating,” and concluded with a request to meet and discuss the issue.

This comes after two weeks of debate following the announcement of a temporary pause of the carbon price for those who use home heating oil, which is most commonly used in Atlantic Canada.

Trudeau has rejected the idea of expanding the pause to other forms of heating, stating at the end of October that “there will be no more carve-outs coming.”

In a meeting of Canada’s premiers earlier this week, they made a similar statement that they felt the change was not equitable.

Both the federal Conservative party and the federal NDP have also expressed opposition to singling out home heating oil for an exemption.

The carbon price is a climate policy measure which aims to lower greenhouse gas emissions by making it more expensive to burn fossil fuels.

Although it has been contentious since it was first proposed, tension around the policy has increased in recent months as high inflation and a growing cost-of-living crisis continue to put pressure on Canadians.

Canadians receive rebates on their tax return to compensate them for the carbon price, referred to as a “climate action incentive,” with the amounts varying depending on where you live. According to Canada’s parliamentary budget officer, 80 per cent of households will receive more from the rebate than they pay in carbon pricing.

-With reporting by writer Alexandra Mae Jones