Thursday, November 02, 2023

Another Self Inflicted Wound

The cost of living is on everyone's mind these days. In an effort to make things a little easier, the Trudeau government decided to remove the tax on home heating oil for three years. For a government that has been trying to ween Canadians off oil, it was an extraordinarily stupid move -- because millions of Canadians now heat their homes without oil. Susan Delacourt writes:

When Justin Trudeau announced a partial rollback of his carbon levy last week, the happiest politicians in Canada appeared to be the gaggle of Atlantic Liberal MPs who stood beaming beside the prime minister at the podium.

The second happiest politician was Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, who has been treating this move by Trudeau as an embarrassing retreat, and has been running victory laps ever since. He is now calling for a “carbon tax election.”

Certainly Poilievre has reasons to see this as a political win for him. Not only has this announcement given him evidence of Liberal vulnerability, but it’s created some rare unity on the right across Canada, with conservative premiers also calling out Trudeau for regional favouritism and unfairness.

One of those premiers, Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe, is even threatening a populist tax revolt.

Alberta’s Danielle Smith said she would do the same thing if her province’s energy regime was set up the same way, but it is privately run and the premier can’t force a private business to withhold taxes.

It's true that nothing Trudeau does will please Moe or Smith. But Trudeau's decision gives both premiers a chance to light a fire. And it gives Poilievre a cudgel which he will use every day until the next election.

It's true. Governments defeat themselves.

Image: the deep dive


Cap said...

This was entirely foreseeable. What did the Liberal brain trust think would happen if they gave one part of Canada a break on the dirtiest, most expensive form of home heating?

When I was a kid, most Toronto homes had oil heating. Today, you'd be hard-pressed to find one that still does. What's the holdup in the Maritimes, and why shouldn't we be using the high and rising cost of heating oil to promote transition to heat pumps? The whole thing reeks of vote buying as it makes no sense from an environmental or economic point of view.

Owen Gray said...

The decision puts a lie to the Liberals' claim that they are stewards of the environment, Cap.

Anonymous said...

Many of the problems the Federal Liberals have created for themselves are as a result of the advisors they have. Most, if not all, came from the Ontario Liberals under Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne. The same tired formulas are being repeated: running on wedge issues, sanctimonious preaching on all manner of issues, constantly being caught up in duplicitous activities, etc, etc. If you lived in Ontario, you have seen this show before. Truth be told, Atlantic Canada has been a basket case for a few generations now, and they always have their hands out for more cash for their votes. If the PM really believed that the carbon tax was that crucial, he would have told his Atlantic caucus to suck it up and consider the challenge of climate change. He won't challenge Quebec or the Atlantic provinces because he needs their votes. That is why one his ministers actually told the truth and said if the prairies want breaks, they need to elect some Liberals. So as usual, it is about politics and not much else. AN

Owen Gray said...

Your comment is spot on, AN.

zoombats said...

"The decision puts a lie to the Liberals' claim that they are stewards of the environment, Cap".
I think Owen that you might need to review your history. Trudeau lost all credibility when the Libs bought a defunct Kinder Morgan pipeline.

Owen Gray said...

The irony, zoombats, is that the decision didn't gain him a single vote in Alberta.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the Liberal government has a severe optics problem, Owen. It appears they do not want to get re-elected. The only way to temper this latest fiasco is allow the tax reduction on all Canadian homes that use heating oil. Of course it would be nice if the federal government could squeeze Irving Oil to reduce some of their excessive profits. Unfortunately Irving has always done the squeezing in the Maritimes. RG

zoombats said...

Nov. 29, 2016 — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces pipeline approvals, including the Trans Mountain expansion, to get more Alberta crude to tankers on the B.C. coast. Trudeau notes the work of Notley and points to her climate-change plans.

March 18, 2017 — Alberta Progressive Conservatives select former federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney as their new leader. Kenney immediately begins to implement his central campaign promise, with the assistance of Opposition Wildrose Leader Brian Jean, to begin negotiations to merge the two parties in time for the 2019 election.

Alot was going on at that time. It pretty interesting that He didn't gain any votes and I don't understand why Notley didn't benefit considering she never really gave much credence to ruling a province of knuckle dragging climate denialists

Owen Gray said...

This policy is a gift to the oil companies, RG. The money is going into the pockets of the oil barons.

Owen Gray said...

These days, zoombats, logic doesn't drive policy.

Northern PoV said...

Given 'our' reactions to the inadequate baby-steps-to-begin-decarbonization, here and abroad, 'we' are truly well into an suicidal extinction event.

Rod Sterling's voice: Ladies and gentlemen, we have entered the suicence.

Owen Gray said...

The future doesn't look bright, PoV.