Ontario’s premier fought hard against Kathleen Wynne’s carbon tax scheme and won. Now, he continues to fight the forces that be in Ottawa. Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has a penchant for recognizing a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
When it comes to carbon taxes, Ford wasn’t fooled for a moment.
Scrapping former premier Kathleen Wynne’s cap-and-trade carbon tax program was at the centre of Ford’s 2018 election campaign.
In his very first act as premier, Ford kiboshed Wynne’s program, which was driving up the price of gasoline, groceries and other essentials without achieving actual results.
“Carbon tax schemes are no more than government cash grabs that do nothing for the environment, while hitting people in the wallet in order to fund big government programs,” said Ford on the day he took office.
But ending Wynne’s program set Ford on a collision course with the federal government. By 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided to force Ontarians to live with a carbon tax. Trudeau imposed what is now called the “carbon tax backstop.”
Under the so-called federal backstop, any province that doesn’t have its own carbon tax that increases at a pace mandated by Ottawa, gets the federal carbon tax imposed on it.
Trudeau first imposed the federal backstop on Ontario in April of 2019. This month, the feds increased the tax for the fourth consecutive year. Their plan is to keep raising the carbon tax by $15 a tonne until it hits $170 by 2030. That will make the carbon tax 37 cents per litre.
Trudeau has tried to sell Ontarians on his carbon tax scheme by putting forward the farcical notion that carbon taxes actually make taxpayers better off financially.
Four times a year, the federal government sends families cheques in the mail that supposedly compensate taxpayers for higher costs on home heating and at the gas pump.
The feds have continually claimed families would be better off after receiving carbon tax rebates than they would have been if the carbon tax and rebates didn’t exist at all.
But the Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Office is once again warning that the federal carbon tax will cost the average Ontario family far more than it will get back in rebate cheques.
The average Ontario household will have a net loss of $478 in 2023 thanks to the carbon tax, even after the rebates. But things are going to get much worse. The original carbon tax is going to keep going up until 2030. And Trudeau’s new second carbon tax will raise gas prices further still.
According to the PBO, those carbon tax hikes will turn a $478 household loss this year into a staggering $1,820 loss in 2030.
That’s right: your family will be out nearly $2,000 a year once 2030 comes around.
Ford has done what he can to fight back. He took Trudeau to court to try to stop the carbon tax and he’s cut the province’s gas tax by 5.7 cents per litre until at least March of 2024.
And Ford hasn’t stopped calling on the feds to change course. As Ontarians confronted decades-high inflation, Ford declared in January that “now more than ever, the carbon tax must end.”
Ford is right, and things will only get worse from here. A family filling up a minivan by the end of the decade can expect to pay $37.50 in carbon taxes alone. Add in soaring home heating bills and the general inflation carbon taxes encourage and Ontario households will be drowning in soaring costs.
As premier, Ford has been a voice of reason on carbon taxes since day one. He freed Ontarians from Wynne’s disastrous carbon tax scheme. But the fight against carbon taxes goes on. Ford has to stay strong in his battle with Ottawa until he helps kill Trudeau’s carbon tax as well.
Jay Goldberg is the Ontario Director at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. He previously served as a policy fellow at the Munk School of Public Policy and Global Affairs. Jay holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Toronto.