British Columbia Premier David Eby pledged that his government would be the last one standing to uphold a carbon tax even in the face of a potential rollback for the federal government levy.
While speaking at the B.C. NDP party convention in Victoria on Saturday, Eby rebuked calls to do away with the provincial carbon tax, which has been in place for nearly 15 years.
“Let me be clear, we will not back down. God forbid, if the rest of the country abandons the fight against climate, B.C. will stand strong,” said Eby.
The province announced its carbon tax in 2008 – the first Canadian province to begin the practice. The federal levy was in part modeled after B.C.’s tax.
Eby accused opponents of abandoning their responsibilities to future generations.
“Right now, we have to be a leader on this issue, because we are also a leader in feeling the effects of climate change in British Columbia,” said Eby.
“All the other parties that seem to me, in an effort to win votes, are willing to sell their children’s future. I think it’s unacceptable, we won’t do it and we’ll support strong climate action.”
Ever since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau extended an exemption to the federal levy on home heating oil – a move which largely benefits Atlantic Canadians – opposition to the federal carbon tax has grown, as more people seek ways to increase affordability.
Support for the carbon tax continues to plunge nationally.
Even in British Columbia, the carbon tax is beginning to wear thin with voters. According to a new poll by the Innovative Research Group, 49% of British Columbians surveyed said that they oppose the provincial levy.
Although Eby has not abandoned his government’s commitment to a carbon tax, he joined with his provincial counterparts earlier this month to demand more fairness from the federal government in the way that it applied its exemption.
“For us, the (provincial) carbon tax has been an effective mechanism to reduce carbon pollution since 2017, and our emissions have gone down despite a dramatic increase in population,” said Eby.
But he added that his discussion with Canada’s other premiers were grounded in “shared concerns around affordability and fairness.”