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

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. 

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Nate Tabak, Canada Correspondent

Nate Tabak is a journalist, editor and producer in Toronto. He covers Canada for FreightWaves, with a keen interest on the cross-border economic relationship with the United States. Nate spent seven years working as an investigative editor and reporter based in Kosovo. He covered everything from corruption to the country’s emerging wine industry. He also reported across the Balkans and investigated Albania’s multibillion-dollar marijuana industry with a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Nate grew up in Berkeley, Calif. He enjoys exploring Toronto with his wife and is always looking forward to his next meal.

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