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Canada’s Conservative leader vows to kill carbon tax, fuel standards

The leader of Canada's Conservative Party wants to end the country's carbon tax. Photo: Shutterstock.

Canada’s Conservative Leader, Andrew Sheer, said his party would kill carbon pricing and proposed fuel standards that he characterized as a “secret tax” if his party defeats Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in October. 

Sheer took aim at the environmental policies in a letter to Trudeau released on July 8. While the opposition to the carbon tax wasn’t new, Sheer asserted that the clean fuel standards, which have yet to be finalized, would increase the cost of gas. 

“Your secret fuel tax will undoubtedly increase the cost of gasoline by at least another four cents a liter, a fact you continue to hide,” Sheer wrote. 

Sheer’s basis for the claim isn’t clear. Canada plans to adopt stricter standards for fuel in 2022, which would mandate the use of liquid petroleum products with lower carbon density, including regular gas and diesel. 

Liberal MP Sean Fraser, the parliamentary secretary for the minister of the environment, responded to Sheer on July 9, saying that while the costs of requiring cleaner-burning fuels had yet to be calculated, they were vital for Canada’s future.

“Doing less will cost Canadians, who are already feeling the impacts in extreme weather events like floods and fires, and health risks like Lyme disease and asthma,” Fraser tweeted.

Fuel standard aims to cut carbon emissions by 30 million tons per year

The Clean Fuel Standard is intended to cut carbon emissions by 30 million tons per year. In June, the government released a proposed regulation for the standard, seeking stakeholder input, including members of the oil industry. 

The regulation would require lower carbon density fuels including gas and diesel. It lays out exceptions for international maritime shipping, aviation fuel and remote communities. 

The letter offered a preview of Conservative talking points going into October’s federal elections. Conservatives have seized upon Trudeau’s environmental policies, particularly the carbon tax, as ineffective measures that hurt economic growth. 

Members of the trucking industry, while supportive of efforts to reduce emissions, have criticized the carbon tax as a punitive measure that squeezes already thin margins.

Trudeau has made environmental policies a central part of his government. Canada has among the highest per-capita greenhouse gas emissions in the world, and its vast northern regions have disproportionately experienced the effects of climate change. 

Nate Tabak

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist and producer who covers cybersecurity and cross-border trucking and logistics for FreightWaves. He spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at [email protected]