Conservative MP and party leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre announced on Thursday that if elected prime minister, he would scrap the federal carbon tax.

“I am announcing today that a Poilievre government would make life more affordable by eliminating the carbon tax on gas, heat and groceries,” said Poilievre at a press conference in Saskatoon. 

“Scrapping the carbon tax will reduce the cost of living, it will mean small businesses will have more money to hire workers and provide affordable goods for their people, and it will allow us to recentre the focus of environmental policy onto real results, not revenue and onto technology rather than taxes.” 

Poilievre also took shots at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the announcement, as well as at potential Conservative leadership opponent Jean Charest, who has been mulling entering the race.

“These price increases are the result of Justin Trudeau’s inflationist deficits and taxes. They’re driving up the cost of living for everyday Canadians,” said Poilievre, who also accused Charest of raising taxes while serving as Liberal premier of Quebec.

“I believe we should leave more money in the pockets of Canadians. I also believe that fighting climate change is about technology, not taxes, results and not revenue. That’s why my government would introduce plans that would incentivize carbon reducing technologies.”

Canadian Taxpayers Federation federal director Franzo Terrazzano said that he was delighted to see Poilievre stick up for Canadians. 

“It’s good to see Poilievre show leadership, stick up for taxpayers and commit to fight the carbon tax. Ottawa is making these tough times tougher by hiking the carbon tax during a pandemic, while Canadians suffer with pay cuts and job losses,” said Terrazzano. “Poilievre is right to fight carbon taxes because Canadians should not be punished for fueling our cars and heating our homes.”

In a press release on the announcement, Poilievre accused the Liberals of taking more from Canadians in the form of carbon taxes than they promised to return in rebates. 

According to a Parliamentary Budget Office report from this year, the government took $1.4 billion more from Canadians than it gave back. 

“To raise a tax that punishes working Canadians is unacceptable,” said Poilievre. “To raise that tax again and again at a time when the cost of living is soaring, and people are having a hard time just getting food on the table? It’s unforgivable.”

According to Terrazzano the carbon tax holds “no gain” for ordinary taxpayers. 

“Canada’s emissions increased during the first year of the federal carbon tax. Despite having North America’s highest carbon tax, British Columbia’s emissions have increased by 10 per cent since 2015,” said Terrazzano.

Poilievre is the only candidate to have officially entered the Conservative leadership contest since former leader Erin O’Toole was ousted by his caucus in February. 

According to Conservative MPs including Bob Benzen, one of the reasons for O’Toole’s ouster was his flip-flopping on carbon taxes during the 2021 election. Despite signing a pledge to get rid of the tax, O’Toole went on to devise a “personal low carbon savings account,” which some called “a carbon tax by another name.” 

“All Conservative Party leadership candidates should learn from O’Toole’s failings: Don’t lie to taxpayers and don’t break your promise to fight carbon taxes,” said Terrazzano. 

“Unfortunately for O’Toole, voters aren’t stupid and held him accountable for breaking his promise to fight the carbon tax. O’Toole’s own party also held him accountable by ousting him from party leader. The Taxpayers Federation will continue to hold all politicians’ feet to the fire on carbon taxes.”