Canada’s most populous province and the federal government is pitching for public opinion over the carbon tax as it launched Monday, just six months ahead of the federal election.
Ontario is one of four provinces, including Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, in which Ottawa imposed the levy because they opted not to impose their own pricing schemes on carbon emissions.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau framed the move as a win for the environment, tweeting that “it’s no longer free to pollute anywhere in Canada.” But Ontario Premier Doug Ford took the opportunity Monday, as drivers started paying about 4.4 cents a litre more for gas, to hammer his populist, anti-carbon tax message.
“By the time the federal government is done, the average household will have to pay $648 a year more in carbon tax expenses,” Ford said at a news conference celebrating the end of a vehicle emissions testing program.
“That may not seem a lot of money for lobbyists or activists and economists who designed the carbon tax for the federal Liberals, but it sure is a lot of money to the seniors, the truckers, the waitresses, the hardworking people I meet everywhere I go across this province.”