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Five provincial premiers have personally sent letters to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging him to convene an emergency first ministers’ meeting to discuss the carbon tax.

The unified stance follows recent polling showing that seven in 10 Canadians oppose the carbon tax, and an equal seven in 10 provincial premiers previously called for carbon tax relief.

Just before the April 1 carbon tax increase of 23%, the first premier to write a letter last Saturday was Newfoundland and Labrador’s Andrew Furey.

Furey told Trudeau that increasing the costs of necessities would not achieve the policy’s intention without sufficient alternatives. 

“Today, a gas-powered truck drives fishing gear to the wharf in a rural Newfoundland and Labrador community. After April 1, there will be an additional carbon tax, but that same truck still must drive fishing gear to the wharf. There are no alternatives available. So, the key intent of this policy, to lower emissions, is not being achieved at this time,” wrote Furey.

The premier explained that his province has reduced emissions to the lowest level since 1992. He added that realistic change can only come through investment, not taxes.

“Solutions sought through a collaborative approach will lead to real and meaningful changes,” wrote Furey.

New Brunswick’s Premier, Blaine Higgs, joined Furey’s call on Wednesday.

“Your government’s policies — and in particular, the carbon tax — are fuelling inflationary pressures that are driving up the cost of food, fuel, and other important consumer goods,” wrote Higgs.

The premier echoed Furey’s concerns that alternatives were unavailable. 

Higgs echoed the concerns he shared with the parliamentary committee on Thursday in his letter, saying that Canada has missed the opportunity to reduce global emissions on a notable level while punishing its citizens less.

“I am prepared to work with you to develop alternatives that will restore Canadian leadership in the global climate crisis while protecting our economy and our citizens from paying a disproportionate price for these efforts,” wrote Higgs.

Next to put Trudeau on the chopping block was Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, who sent him a letter on Thursday.

She said that “Albertans and Canadians are facing a cost-of-living crisis not seen in decades,” and that her province had been calling on Ottawa to eliminate the carbon tax since 2019.

Smith explained that the parliamentary budget officer said the net cost to Albertans will increase to $2,700 by 2030-31. 

“In March, natural gas was selling at less than $1.80 a gigajoule. Now that the carbon tax has increased to $4.09 per gigajoule, the tax alone is more than double what it costs Albertans to heat their homes. This is not just reckless, it is immoral and inhumane,” wrote Smith.

She said that without a carbon tax, Alberta’s plan will allow the province to achieve a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.

Smith provided additional comment on Trudeau’s response at a press conference on Friday.

“Our small businesses are getting crushed by this because [the carbon tax] keeps on going up. They don’t do rebates to small businesses or large businesses, and all of those costs end up getting handed down in the cost of the goods that people buy. And that’s the reason why we continue to have an inflation crisis,” said Smith.

True North previously reported that inflation in Saskatchewan and Manitoba fell quicker than expected after cutting the carbon tax.

On Friday, the most recent provincial premier to write Trudeau a letter was Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe.

He mentioned how the federal government exempted home heating oil from the carbon tax, unfairly benefiting Atlantic Canada.

“As a result, on January 1, 2024, Saskatchewan stopped collecting the federal carbon tax on natural gas and heating and on electric heating through our Crown-owned utilities, not because we want to challenge federal law, but because it was the only way to ensure Saskatchewan residents are treated fairly within the Canadian federation,” wrote Moe.

Moe was the fourth premier to write Trudeau a letter demanding an emergency meeting on the carbon tax.

Trudeau interviewed with CBC on Thursday, saying he already met with the premiers in 2016.

On Friday, the prime minister was further questioned about the ongoing carbon tax feud.

He explained that the parliamentary budget officer’s report shows that families in Alberta receive $1,800 in carbon tax rebates. He failed to mention that the average family pays a net cost of $710 even after receiving the rebate.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was the fifth and most recent provincial premier to write a letter to Trudeau. He had harsh words for Trudeau at a press conference on Tuesday.

“This carbon tax has to go, or in a year and a half, the prime minister’s going. It’s as simple as that. He will be going. I’ll guarantee you,” said Ford.

In a Friday press conference, Ford spoke about the letter he sent Trudeau.

“Taxing people doesn’t reduce emissions, and that’s what they’re doing. They’re hurting the economy. They’re hurting people. Unacceptable.”