A recent public opinion poll by the NRG Research Group shows that 62% of New Brunswick residents oppose a federal carbon tax.
New Brunswick’s Premier Blaine Higgs (PC) has promised, alongside several other provinces, to oppose a federal carbon tax. According to the New Brunswick Energy Survey more than seven out of ten residents hope to see the Premier keep his promise.
Premier Doug Ford has also been vocal about his opposition to the carbon tax. Recently, the Premier of Ontario has claimed that the carbon tax would potentially drive the country into a recession.
Already, economists are warning that a recession might be imminent for Canada. A majority of Canada’s GDP is driven by household spending. With a carbon tax that drives up the prices of essential goods, it is in the realm of possibility that a carbon tax would negatively affect Canada’s overall GDP.
A study in the Canadian Tax Journal by University of Ottawa researcher and professor Nicholas Rivers suggests that a tax on carbon would increase the cost of everyday essentials like transportation, electricity and heating. The cost of food is also expected to rise by 1.2% along with other goods that require transportation over long distances.
"A carbon tax will punish people for everyday and unavoidable activities, like getting up and going to work each morning, getting kids to school or hockey practice, and trying to make an honest living. These are things the federal government should be working to make easier for people, not harder and more expensive,” said John Williamson, a Conservative Party candidate for the New Brunswick Southwest riding.
According to the poll, which interviewed 1,203 New Brunswick residents, 71% of the population are worried about rising energy costs.
The Liberal government announced that the federally imposed carbon tax is set to go in effect in April in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.
A study by the University of Regina suggested that Saskatchewan’s GDP could plummet by $16 billion if a tax on carbon is adopted.
"Every Liberal MP voted for the carbon tax, which will impose higher energy taxes on families in New Brunswick, Ontario and other provinces on April 1st. They voted against working families, they voted against seniors and they voted against commuters," said Williamson.
Despite federal Liberal support for the tax, New Brunswick’s former Liberal Premier Brian Gallant opposed a raise in carbon pricing, citing the fact that it would likely make things more expensive for regular consumers.
“A Conservative government will abolish Trudeau’s carbon tax as a way to help make life for Canadians more affordable,” Williamson told The Post Millennial.
Opposition to the federal carbon tax is steady throughout New Brunswick, with over 60% of residents in every region viewing it unfavorably.
"Families across the country are facing rising costs and Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax is going to be a tough sell for Liberals in rural and suburban areas where people need to drive,” said Williamson
The province's distaste for the federal plan is in line with opposition leader Andrew Scheer's own position, who plans to ditch the tax if his party gains power in 2019.
However you look at it, the carbon tax debate will likely become a main point of contention in the October election and will serve to pit provincial needs and desires against the federal government.