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The majority of Canadians now feel that climate change policies should take a back seat to the high cost of living, according to a new poll. 

The Angus Reid Institute surveyed Canadians on how they are responding to the April 1 carbon tax increase, which will raise the levy by 23%.

According to the report, 56% of Canadians cited the cost of living as outweighing any climate change concerns, with 40% of respondents saying that the tax has made life “a lot” more expensive. 

Another 25% say that it’s increased their cost of living but only “a little.”

Titled, Carbon Tax: Perceptions of insufficient rebates, cost of living concern & questions over efficacy send support plummeting, the poll aimed to see how Canadians perceive the tax, and why its support has begun to wane.  

The poll found that while the number of Liberal, NDP and BQ voters who support the increase has risen from 15% to 22% since last November, another growing cohort of that same voting block, as many as 16% in the NDP, now want to see it paused or abolished.

Within the Conservative voting base, 75% are in support of scrapping the tax altogether, while 9% want to see it at least lowered.

Even more respondents, 68%, don’t believe the carbon tax is effective at reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

The carbon tax has received so much backlash in recent months that the federal government engaged in a rebranding effort, renaming it the Canada Carbon Rebate. 

It had been previously known as the Climate Action Incentive Payment. 

“The name was updated to the Canada Carbon Rebate to clarify its function, and make its meaning and relationship to the carbon pricing system more intuitive for Canadians,” reads a government press release from February.

The Trudeau government felt that the previous language surrounding the policy may be too “complex” for some Canadians to understand.

“If we can speak the language that people speak because people say the words ‘carbon,’ they say the words, ‘rebate,’ right? And if we can speak that language that’s important, so people understand what’s going on here,” said Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan. 

Despite the name change, the poll found only 4% of Canadians believe that the rebate is helping them save money. 

Only two in five respondents said that they were sure their household had even received the rebate. 

When the Trudeau government announced a carve-out on home oil heating last fall, several premiers called for a carve-out on natural gas heating as well. 

The poll found that 65% of respondents want to see the carve-out extended to include all forms of home heating. 

While only 3% of Canadians homes use oil heating, 30% of that figure are homes located in Atlantic Canada, where voters typically lean Liberal. 

The poll also found that 68% of Canadians believed the oil exemption to be politically motivated, instead of the government attempting to ease the cost of living for people. 

Support for the carbon tax is highest in British Columbia and Quebec, however, those two provinces have provincial carbon taxes and not a federal tax. 

Opposition to the tax is highest in Alberta and Saskatchewan but it also surpasses the majority threshold in Atlantic Canada as well. 

The carbon tax was first implemented in 2019 with the price for carbon being scheduled to increase $15 per year until it reaches $170 per tonne in 2030.