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Trudeau, Smith set to meet as carbon price provincial pushback grows

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Danielle Smith are scheduled to meet in Calgary on Wednesday as pushback grows from provincial premiers to a planned carbon price increase.

The federal backstop is set to rise from $65 a tonne to $80 a tonne on April 1. This means the fuel charge on gasoline will go from 14.3 cents per litre to 17.6 cents.

On Tuesday, Liberal Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey wrote a letter to Trudeau and posted it on X, calling on a pause for plans to increase the carbon price.

Furey wrote that while his government is “deeply invested” in environmental sustainability, the increase set for April 1 “is causing understandable worry as people consider how they will manage the mounting financial strain.”

This letter was reposted on X by Smith, along with Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe.

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Later that day, Progressive Conservative Premier Tim Houston posted his own letter to Trudeau on X, saying the increase should be cancelled.

Houston wrote that while government has a role in addressing climate change and reducing emissions, the increase only means “more money out of (Nova Scotian’s) pockets to pay an unnecessary carbon tax.”

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Both premiers said the increase means higher prices to ship goods to and across their respective provinces.

Click to play video: 'Doug Ford on carbon pricing: ‘Worst place you could put money is into the government’s pockets’'

Doug Ford on carbon pricing: ‘Worst place you could put money is into the government’s pockets’

In an emailed statement, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s communications advisor Jesse Bartsoff said the carbon price contributes “as much as one-third” to Canada’s emission reduction targets for 2030.

“This is the most cost-effective way to protect our communities—from Atlantic hurricanes and flooding to wildfires across the country—and make life more affordable with the Canada Carbon Rebate,” Bartsoff wrote.

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Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan’s decision to not pay federal carbon price is ‘immoral’, Guilbeault says'

Saskatchewan’s decision to not pay federal carbon price is ‘immoral’, Guilbeault says

This is the latest chapter in the growing provincial pushback on the carbon price.

At the beginning of this year, Saskatchewan stopped collecting and paying the carbon price on home heating in response to Ottawa’s three-year pause on the charge for home heating oil.

Last week while in Montreal, Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault called the move “immoral” suggesting it’s one thing to debate policy but another to break a federal law.

The federal government has signalled this may reduce the amount Saskatchewan families receive in carbon rebates since they cannot pay back money that isn’t collected.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has been heavily naming the carbon price as a core contributor to the current cost-of-living crisis and has vowed to get rid of the pricing plan if his party forms the next government.

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