A Republican lawmaker has introduced legislation to tax carbon dioxide emissions as neighboring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada faces a political revolt for the same policy.
With Canada’s carbon tax about to take effect, provincial governments and voters are pushing back. Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have come out against Trudeau’s carbon tax policy, and will likely be joined by others after 2019’s election.
Florida Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo unveiled carbon tax legislation Monday alongside environmental groups. Curbelo’s bill has already met with heavy opposition from conservative groups and leaders.
U.S.-based conservative groups have warned Republicans they could face similar backlash should they bow to environmentalist wishes and support a carbon tax. Conservatives have also hearkened back to 2013 when Australian conservatives ousted a liberal government on calls to repeal that country’s carbon tax.
“We oppose any carbon tax. We oppose a carbon tax because it would lead to less income and fewer jobs for American families,” 41 conservative leaders wrote in a letter to members of Congress.
Carbon tax opposition in Canada has become so heated that Trudeau’s own election prospects have dimmed amid the growing backlash to his climate policies.
Trudeau instituted a policy in 2016 to impose a federal carbon tax on provinces that didn’t have their own plans to cut emissions and fight global warming. Starting in January 2019, every ton of CO2 emissions would be taxed at $7.60, which would increase to $38 by 2022.
Canadians would see a 40 cent per gallon tax added to gasoline by 2022, and electricity prices would likely increase as well. Ontario and other parts of the country have already seen electric bill increases do to the widespread adoption of wind and solar power.
Initially led by Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe, opposition to Trudeau’s climate policies have grown. (RELATED: Conservatives Fear GOP Rep’s Carbon Tax Bill Creates An ‘Earmark For Left-Wing Activists’)
Ontario Premier Doug Ford won a massive election victory over Liberal Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne in June. A major feature of Ford’s platform was nixing the province’s cap-and-trade system and joining legal action against Trudeau’s carbon tax.
“But these same politicians weren’t listening to Canadians. Polls have consistently shown at least half, and often two-thirds of Canadians oppose expensive carbon taxes,” Scott Hennig, spokesman for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said in a statement.
“I wouldn’t want to be Prime Minister Trudeau and have to run for re-election on the record of having implemented a job-killing carbon tax,” Hennig said.
Alberta will hold elections in 2019, and conservative Jason Kenney could win. Kenney has run against a carbon tax, promising to reduce the province’s current tax.
Curbelo’s carbon tax plan is unlikely to see much GOP support in Congress. Only six Republicans voted against an anti-carbon tax resolution that passed the House just days ago.
“I don’t judge any of my colleagues for their vote today, this is kind of a question in a vacuum,” Curbelo told Axios after the vote. “Had they had a time to review my proposal — timing didn’t work out — you would have gotten more no votes.”
Curbelo wants to tax carbon dioxide emissions starting at $23 per ton, which would rise above inflation every year. That’s nearly three times as high as Trudeau’s carbon tax that’s raised the ire of Canadian voters.
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