Federal opposition leader Pierre Poilievre’s “axe the tax” slogan may be the foundation of his campaign to oust Prime Minister Justin Trudeau but it doesn’t apply in B.C.
That’s because the carbon tax Poilievre wants to kill in B.C. is actually provincial and not federal. It was implemented in 2008, a full decade before the federal version.
Poilievre’s only hope of ending the B.C. tax depends upon either a B.C. United or a Conservative Party of B.C. win in this October’s provincial election, a year ahead of the scheduled federal vote.
Both provincial parties, should either one defeat the current NDP government, have committed themselves to repealing the tax on fuel and home heating oil.
The distinction about who can do what was not lost on Poilivere during a stop in Terrace Jan. 23.
“Well, we’ll see what British Columbians vote for in their forthcoming provincial election,” said Poilievre.
“But right now the federal government is mandating that B.C. must quadruple its tax to 61 cents a litre,” he said.
That’s a reference to the agreement between B.C. and the federal government that the former match the latter’s carbon tax increase schedule.
“So the tax the [provincial] NDP has in place here will, even if they don’t want to increase, it has to go up because of the Trudeau mandate,” Poilievre said.
“So I’m going to get rid of that and I’m going to keep fighting for B.C. to get rid of its carbon tax as well,” he added.
“If they’re re-elected, that will not only drive up gas, but also groceries because when you tax the fuel of the farmer who makes the food and then the trucker who ships the food and then grocer who sells the food, then you tax the food and people are already struggling,” Poilievre said.
Still, Poilievre held the line on a specific alliance between his federal Conservatives and any provincial party to jointly campaign against the carbon tax.
“I’m not going to do that,” he said.
Poilievre’s comments came during a one-hour stop at the Velocity Truck Centre on Hwy 16 just west of the bankrupt Skeena Bio-energy pellet plant Jan. 23 to speak to employees and managers gathered inside.
He followed that with a brief series of remarks to a gathering outside of about 40 people.
The stop also gave Poilievre the chance to introduce Ellis Ross as his candidate in the Skeena - Bulkley Valley riding for the 2025 federal election.
“We want him on Parliament Hill so that he can fight for the people here and stand up for your values and your interests in Ottawa,” he said of Ross, who is currently the two-time BC United Member of the Legislative Assembly for the provincial Skeena riding.
“After eight years of Trudeau and the NDP, everything costs more, work doesn’t pay, housing costs have doubled, crime, chaos, drugs and disorder are common in our streets and the NDP have betrayed the people of Skeena - Bulkley Valley,” said Poilievre in singling out but not mentioning Taylor Bachrach, the current New Democratic MP, by name.
Poilievre’s other remarks, both inside and outside, reinforced his consistent “Bring It Home” message.
“We will do it with a common sense plan to bring home lower prices by axing the carbon tax and balancing the budget to bring down inflation and interest rates,” he said.
“We’ll bring home power paycheques with lower income taxes that reward hard work by repealing the anti-energy laws and quickly signing off on more natural gas liquefaction, forestry and mining projects that will bring work and six-figure salaries to blue-collar workers.”
In other topics:
Regardless of who is elected as the American president this November, Poilievre said he’d work to open the United States to more Canadian business opportunities.
“They want Canada to help contribute to the continental defence, which is understandable. But my message to them is, look, we could have a stronger military if they’d stop punishing our economy with unfair tariffs and protectionism. Let’s get a trade deal that actually knocks down the barriers, grows stronger economies, which can fund stronger militaries.”
“Definitely Beijing. We are giving $250 million to the Asian Infrastructure Bank which China is using to rebuild the old imperial Silk Road across Eurasia. I don’t know why we would be funding the Asian bank bringing back the Chinese empire.”
Rebuilding the military
“First of all, we’re blowing billions on bad procurements where we pay these large corporations for equipment that doesn’t show up on time and comes way over budget.
“I want to get back to common sense procurement, where we get the best price and the best value for our taxpayers and our military members.
“Second, we need to cut the back office bureaucracy and put the money into frontline soldiers, sailors, and airmen.”
“We support Ukraine’s defence of its freedom against the illegal invasion. We opposed Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax which he is putting into the free trade agreement [with Ukraine].”