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Poilievre motion fails on carbon price increase; confidence threat remains

A motion presented by the Conservatives to halt the upcoming carbon price increase on April 1, dubbed “spike the hike,” was defeated in the House of Commons on Wednesday. Environment Minister emphasized the urgency of climate action, stating, “We can’t put climate change on pause.”

Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre had introduced the motion earlier in the week in an attempt to prevent the annual increase in carbon pricing, which is slated to elevate from the current $65 per tonne to $80 per tonne on April 1. These increments are set to continue annually until 2030, reaching $170 per tonne.

Despite Poilievre’s efforts, the motion was voted down, with the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc Quebecois opposing it. Poilievre has now hinted at introducing a non-confidence motion against the government regarding the carbon price increase, indicating a potential dissolution of the House for a carbon tax election.

However, the success of such a motion is uncertain, given the NDP’s agreement with the Liberals to support them on confidence matters. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has previously expressed his focus on issues like removing the GST from home heating, considering it an essential service.

With this being the final sitting week before April 1, the Conservatives have indicated their intention to employ various legislative strategies to halt the increase. Despite growing concerns from some provincial leaders and policymakers, Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault affirmed that the government would proceed with the scheduled increase, stressing the ongoing urgency of addressing climate change.

Meanwhile, Poilievre has submitted a second motion, seeking the House’s confidence in a report by Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux. The report indicates that the carbon tax imposes a net cost on Canadians, contrary to the government’s claims of providing rebates. However, there are discrepancies regarding the net impact of the carbon price on households, with broader economic factors influencing the assessment beyond direct rebates.

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