Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre is calling for a “massive pressure campaign” to pressure the ruling Liberals to help pass a law that would remove the carbon tax from fuels used in some agricultural activities.
“My message to Canadians is: Call your Liberal MPs and tell them to get Justin Trudeau out of the way,” Poilievre said of the prime minister during a news conference in Vancouver on Monday.
Poilievre spoke in favor of a private bill introduced by Conservative MP Ben Lobb. Bill C-234 was passed by the House of Commons in March, with majority support from opposition parties. He is now in the Senate, but procedural disputes have delayed his vote until later this month.
The bill would eliminate the carbon tax on natural gas and propane used in activities such as irrigation, grain drying, food preparation, and heating and cooling barns and greenhouses.
Poilievre promised to “work with all Canadians over the coming weeks to mount a massive pressure campaign, just as we did with home heating, to eliminate this tax.”
The proposed legislation comes as the government grapples with the fallout from its decision last month to suspend the carbon tax on home heating oil. Federal Conservatives and some premiers have pushed for that exemption to be expanded beyond oil and to all fuels used for home heating.
Trudeau has firmly closed the door on new exemptions.
Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault has also drawn a line in the sand on new exemptions.
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“As long as I’m environment minister, there will be no more exemptions from carbon pricing,” he told The Canadian Press last week.
But approval of C-234 could take that decision out of the government’s hands.
Poilievre’s appeal on Monday asked Canadians to pressure the government to allow a vote on the bill.
There are no longer Liberal senators, although the upper house is now dominated by senators appointed by Trudeau, recommended through an independent advisory board.
in an interview that aired Saturday on CBC Home, Guilbeault repeatedly emphasized that the government does not dictate how most senators vote.
“We don’t tell senators what to do or how to vote or not to vote. The Conservative Party does that with its conservative senators; we don’t do that. And we’ll see what happens in the Senate,” he said. presenter Catherine Cullen.
“I don’t think it should be taken for granted that the Senate will necessarily pass this, we’ll have to see,” Guilbeault said. “I’m not saying no way, but the decision has not yet been made by the Senate.”
But he did acknowledge that he had been in contact with some senators about the issue.
Poilievre said on Monday that senior ministers had been “frantically” lobbying senators over the legislation.
He said the bill was an important step in solving affordability issues affecting Canadians.
“It’s a common sense solution, it’s a compassionate solution.”