Danielle Smith urges feds to scrap ‘inhumane’ carbon tax hike at House committee

As Albertans prepare for multiple increases to the cost of gas Monday due to the Federal Carbon Tax and the Provincial Gas Tax both going up, multiple groups are calling on those governments to change their minds.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith appeared before the House of Commons on Thursday in an effort to get the federal government to scrap next week’s carbon tax hike.

Smith had strong words while appearing before the standing committee in Ottawa as she demanded they suspend the $15 increase to the tax set for Apr. 1.

“This isn’t just reckless, it’s immoral and inhumane,” she said. “I’m here on behalf of Albertans and Canadians who are struggling with severe financial pressures.”

Smith claimed many residents are becoming desperate in the face of a cost of living crisis driven by inflation and high interest rates, citing the cost of natural gas, which she says will be going up to more than double the cost of the base price.

“The solution for the federal government is to increase the carbon tax on something that is life or death for Albertans in the extreme cold of weather,” she said.

Smith said, at the very least, the federal government should apply policy equally.

“We’ve heard the Quebec representative say several times that Quebec doesn’t pay the fuel tax,” she said. “We’d also like to see an exemption on all forms of home heating, not just ones that are centered in Atlantic Canada, and on a typical type of fuel.”

Smith was joined in her appeal by New Brunswick premier Blaine Higgs, who also oppose next week’s increase.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly said that eligible Canadians receive more back in rebates than they pay in carbon tax at the pump or on natural gas, despite opposite claims from Conservative politicians.

The carbon price increase will mean a surge of 17 cents per litre on gasoline, and 21 cents per litre on diesel on Apr. 1.

At the same time, Smith’s provincial government is bringing back a 13 cent per litre gas tax.

The premiers of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have all asked to Trudeau to forgo the planned increase.

The prime minister has pushed back against the premiers, saying they have not proposed better ideas to fight climate change.

More than 200 economists associated with universities across the country took aim at Conservatie claims in the carbon price policy debate. The group disagreed with the notion that the carbon price has driven up the cost of living, and called out opponents for failing to pitch alternatives to reduce emissions.

A spokesperson for Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre said the party won’t be taking advice from “so-called experts” when it comes to carbon pricing.

With files from the Canadian Press

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