Canadians’ support for federal climate change policy cooling
As the Liberal government's carbon tax morphs from plan to reality, public support has eroded, falling to just 44 per cent nationwide
VANCOUVER—Canadians were more comfortable with the notion of a national carbon tax when it was simply an idea.
While a slim majority (56 per cent) of the country supported a cross-country carbon tax in early 2015, backers of the Liberal’s carbon levy are now in the minority.
According to a new Angus Reid Institute poll, 44 per cent of Canadians coast to coast say they support the plan, while many provinces have turned strongly against it.
Opposition is fiercest in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Newfoundland, where 71 per cent, 68 per cent and 67 per cent respectively say they don’t support the federal government’s new carbon levy, which will force provinces to have a minimum $10 per tonne tax on carbon by 2018—before rising to $50 per tonne by 2022.
Even in British Columbia, which already has a carbon tax in place, half of those polled refused to back the federal initiative.
One of the reasons for the change of heart lies south of the border. With U.S. president Donald Trump now in the White House, 55 per cent of Canadians say Ottawa should hold off on implementing its climate change plan to avoid disadvantageous competition with U.S. companies.
Others, like Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, say provinces should fight back against taking climate change marching orders from Ottawa. A majority of those polled in Saskatchewan, Alberta and New Brunswick say their province should fight the federal plan. Many others said their province should come up with its own carbon plan, which would meet federal guidelines.
Just 19 per cent of Canadians said their province should do nothing and let the federal plan take effect.
Most provinces, including Alberta, B.C., Ontario and Quebec, already have some form of emissions plan in place.