a tax is a tax unless wink wink….

Erin O’Toole has committed the Conservative party to putting a carbon levy on fuel, while insisting it can’t be called a tax because the money doesn’t go into government accounts. The climate plan would be implemented without a consumer-based carbon tax and Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax would be repealed, omitting the fact O’Toole would still impose a new $20-per-tonne carbon charge on consumers.

O’Toole claims his own fuel charge — which would stop rising at $50 per tonne — isn’t a carbon tax because the money goes into a personalized savings account that consumers can spend on government-approved, environmentally-friendly purchases. (Oh Erin that sounds like the Nanny State tsk. tsk.)

With this explanation the Conservative base of anti carbon tax supporters breathed a sigh of relief….NOT!

Climate policy experts celebrated the fact that all major political parties now endorse carbon pricing. But they derided the carbon savings account as a bizarre, administratively-complex mechanism concocted for purely political reasons. noting that you get more money to spend if you burn more fossil fuels — the opposite of a low-carbon incentive.

O’Toole will have a tough sell with his party’s base that he’s not implementing a carbon tax. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is already gearing up for a campaign against it, citing this pledge signed during the leadership race: “I, Erin O’Toole promise that, if elected Prime Minister of Canada, I will: Immediately repeal the Trudeau carbon tax; and, reject any future national carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme.”

The Post Millennial, a right-wing media outlet  is now filled with headlines opposing the climate plan. “O’Toole’s ‘government-knows-best’ carbon tax scheme is anti-Conservative Party,” says one. “Trudeau Environment Minister calls new Tory climate plan the ‘O’Toole carbon tax,’” says another.

Edited from Ottawa Citizen article by Brian Platt: Apr 17, 2021

The carbon price isn’t just about dollars and cents, it’s a culture war thingy.