Here’s a free tip for all Conservative Party leadership candidates: don’t break your promise to fight carbon taxes.
Former Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole lied to taxpayers about the carbon tax. And he paid the price. The next leader of the Official Opposition needs to hold Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accountable for rising tax bills.
When running for Conservative Party leader, O’Toole promised to fight carbon taxes. He signed the Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s pledge that said:
“I, Erin O’Toole, promise that, if elected Prime Minister of Canada, I will: Immediately repeal the Trudeau carbon tax and reject any future national carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme.”
That’s as clear as it gets.
But just before the last election, O’Toole flip-flopped and ran on a platform that included two carbon taxes. Yes, two. In addition to a carbon tax that would drive up the price of gasoline by 11 cents per litre, O’Toole also wanted to bury a second carbon tax in fuel regulations. O’Toole’s two carbon taxes would soak Canadians for an extra 27 cents per litre of gas.
Unfortunately for O’Toole, Canadians aren’t stupid, and voters held him accountable for flip-flopping.
Now, Conservative members of Parliament are holding O’Toole accountable by ousting him as party leader. O’Toole’s carbon tax is the primary reason.
MP Arnold Viersen told the Western Standard he would oppose a carbon tax even if it came from his own party.
“I will oppose anything that makes life more expensive for northern Albertans regardless of whichever leader is imposing it,” said Viersen.
MP Bob Benzen cited the carbon tax in his letter calling for a review of O’Toole’s leadership.
“The adoption of a de-facto carbon tax policy in April 2021 despite clear direction from our members who are opposed to a carbon tax, and despite his campaigning against such a tax during the leadership contest” topped Benzen’s list of grievances against O’Toole.
The Battlefords-Lloydminster Conservative Electoral District Association launched a website advocating to “end the carbon tax.”
O’Toole’s carbon tax handcuffed his MPs’ ability to hold Trudeau accountable on inflation. Two-thirds of Canadians are worried that their paycheques won’t keep up with the rising cost of living, according to a Nanos Research survey from late 2021. This April, Trudeau will increase his carbon tax for the third time during the pandemic. But we’ve hardly heard a peep from the Conservatives on the carbon tax because their leader wanted to hammer Canadians with a carbon tax of his own.
The carbon tax wasn’t O’Toole’s only major flip-flop. O’Toole frequently reminded Canadians that “Trudeau is borrowing $424 million each day” and that “Canada’s debt is already over $1 trillion.” But O’Toole’s platform promised to spend $50 billion more than Trudeau’s last budget.
O’Toole also flip-flopped on Trudeau’s gun ban and buyback.
The buyback has all the makings of another taxpayer boondoggle. The Parliamentary Budget Officer says it could cost $756 million. But that hefty price tag doesn’t include administration costs, which could add billions of dollars to the final tab, according to Gary Mauser, a Professor Emeritus at Simon Fraser University.
Even with those big costs, Canada’s National Police Federation says Trudeau’s gun grab won’t address “current and emerging themes or urgent threats to public safety,” such as criminal activity, gang violence or the flow of illegal guns across the border.
“It diverts extremely important personnel, resources, and funding away from addressing the more immediate and growing threat of criminal use of illegal firearms,” said the NPF.
O’Toole’s platform initially scrapped the gun grab. But after a little predictable pushback, he took out his magic marker to completely reverse his policy with a footnote: “All firearms that are currently banned will remain banned.”
O’Toole misled taxpayers, and he paid the price. The next Conservative Party leader should learn from O’Toole’s failings and get the Opposition back to fighting the carbon tax.
Franco Terrazzano is the Federal Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
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