Source: Facebook

Canada’s premiers might get their wish to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss the carbon tax. 

After a surprising turn of events, the Conservative’s opposition motion calling on Trudeau to convene an emergency meeting passed, with the unexpected support of the NDP and Bloc Québecois.

The non-binding motion, debated on Tuesday and spearheaded by Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, calls for Trudeau to gather all of Canada’s 14 first ministers to discuss the levy. 

The opposition motion to hold a televised carbon tax emergency meeting was voted on Wednesday and passed despite Liberal MPs’ opposition.

The motion calls for the meeting to address “(a) the ongoing carbon tax crisis and the financial burden it places on Canadians, (b) the Prime Minister’s recent 23% carbon tax increase, (c) plans for provinces to opt-out of the federal carbon tax to pursue other responsible ideas to lower emissions.”

The opposition motion states the reasoning for its demands, considering Canada ranks 62 out of 67 countries on the Climate Change Performance Index, even with the federal government’s current environmental plan in place. 

“And that this meeting be publicly televised and held within five weeks of this motion being adopted,” concluded the motion. 

During the debate on Tuesday, NDP MP Laurel Collins called out Trudeau on his climate policy.

“The Prime Minister wants to use it to divide Canadians. He does not see fighting the climate crisis as an opportunity to unite people to take on this existential crisis. Instead, he uses it as a political wedge,” said Collins. 

“He tried to buy votes with exemptions for Atlantic Canadians. He treated carbon pricing as the be-all and end-all of climate policy, so that when the Liberals bought a pipeline, missed targets, and broke climate policies, they could present it as proof of their climate credibility.”

The Conservative party issued a press release the same day the motion was debated. 

“Justin Trudeau has unleashed economic misery across Canada. But instead of providing Canadians with some relief, he decided to hike the carbon tax again on April 1st by 23%. This is just one step in Trudeau’s plan to make everything more expensive by quadrupling the carbon tax over the next six years,” reads the release.

The release pointed towards the fact that 70% of Canadians and 70% of provincial premiers have asked Trudeau to “spike the hike.”

Five provincial premiers wrote letters to Trudeau in recent weeks, calling on him to convene an emergency first ministers’ meeting to discuss the carbon tax. He has refused these requests.

In 2015, Trudeau said in a post to X that “Canadians need a PM who will meet with the Premiers, & forge a smart economic plan for all Canadians, in every sector and region.”

The Conservatives tabled a motion on March 20, 2024, calling for a stop to the 23% increase in carbon tax on April 1. It was defeated 205 to 119 in Parliament. 

Four premiers wrote to the finance committee, requesting to testify in opposition to the carbon tax increase on April 1. They were not granted a hearing, but some were allowed to testify before the Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. 

Conservative MP Jasraj Singh Hallan tabled a motion last Friday to allow the premiers who have yet to testify an opportunity to appear before the finance committee. 

“Trudeau has ignored premiers and the majority of Canadians all to continue his carbon tax crusade and raise prices on Canadians. Not worth the cost,” wrote Hallan in a post to X.

Hallan’s motion was also debated on Tuesday. The motion calls on the committee to invite Premiers Furey, King, Houston, Ford, and Kinew to appear before the finance committee within two weeks of the motion’s adoption.

“Furthermore, the committee prioritize hearings with the premiers above all other business,” concluded the motion

Hallan reported that the NDP, Liberals. and Bloc Québecois voted against the motion, stopping premiers from appearing before the committee.

Poilievre was asked whether he thought Trudeau would actually meet with premiers on television.

“I think he’s too scared. Trudeau is in hiding. He’s hiding from me at QP today. I just learned he won’t show up to debate me on the carbon tax in the house today. But do you blame him? He’s losing the debate. Canadians want to axe the tax. There’s going to be a carbon tax election. And whether Trudeau hides from me or not, he’s going to have to face me in a carbon tax election,” said Poilievre.

Although the motion’s passage is non-binding, it signals a shift in parliamentary sentiment toward carbon tax discussions. The onus now falls on Trudeau to decide whether he will host the meeting.