Millions of Canadians are keeping an anxious eye on their thermostats, praying the power stays on and bracing for carbon-taxed heat bills to arrive.
A frigid winter cold snap delivered daytime temperatures in the minus 30s with overnight wind chills of over minus 50 in parts of Canada. Natural gas furnaces are running around the clock, keeping families from freezing and water pipes from bursting.
The situation got scary Saturday when an Alberta-wide alarm blared across smartphones, TVs and radios. The province warned the power grid was maxing out and rolling blackouts were about to hit.
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith took to social media imploring Albertans to turn off their lights, stop using appliances and hunker down to save the power grid from blacking out. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe tagged in, announcing his province was sending 153 megawatts to Alberta.
When it’s minus 40, running the furnace isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. And yet, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is punishing Canadians with a carbon tax for the sin of staying warm and staying alive in winter.
The federal carbon tax is currently set at $65 per tonne, costing 12 cents per cubic meter of natural gas and 10 cents per litre of propane. An average Canadian home uses about 2,385 cubic metres of natural gas per year, so the carbon tax will cost them about $300 extra to heat their home.
Even after the rebates, average families will be out hundreds of dollars this year because of the higher heating bills, gas prices, inflation and the economic damage that comes with the carbon tax, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
But the Trudeau government isn’t done. On April 1, the carbon tax is going up to $80 per tonne. That will cost 15 cents per cubic metre of natural gas.
In fact, Trudeau plans to crank up his carbon tax every year. Over the next three years, Trudeau’s carbon tax will cost the average family $1,100 on natural gas alone.
Canada is a cold place. Keeping the heat on isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. And Trudeau’s carbon tax punishes families who need to stay warm during the winter months. Even worse, Trudeau knows the carbon tax makes it more expensive for families to keep warm.
“We are putting more money back in your pocket and making it easier for you to find affordable, long-term solutions to heat your home,” Trudeau said when he removed the carbon tax from home heating oil for three years.
This was an admission of an obvious reality: the carbon tax makes life more expensive. Otherwise, why would Trudeau take the carbon tax off a form of heating energy?
Trudeau’s carbon tax-carve out was a political ploy to keep his Atlantic MPs from revolting while support for the Liberals plummeted in their typical stronghold.
While many Atlantic Canadians use heating oil, 97 percent of Canadian families use other forms of energy, like natural gas or propane, and won’t get any relief from the feds this winter.
Even in Atlantic Canada, 77 percent of people want carbon tax relief for all Canadians this winter, according to a Leger poll commission by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Provincial politicians of all stripes have demanded the feds take the carbon tax off everyone’s heating bill.
That’s because staying warm isn’t a partisan issue. All Canadians need to heat their home. And we shouldn’t be punished with a tax just to survive the winter.
Trudeau should completely scrap his carbon tax. But at the very least, he should extend the same relief he provided to Atlantic Canadians and take the carbon tax off everyone’s home heating bill.
By Franco Terrazzano
and Kris Sims
Franco Terrazzano is the Federal Director and Kris Sims is the Alberta Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.