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Viersen on carbon tax on heating fuel vote

Arnold Viersen says he and CPC will continue to fight for heating fuel carbon tax exemption
Peace River - Westlock CPC MP Arnold Viersen (pictured here at a County of Barrhead council meeting in August) said he was disappointed his party's motion to suspend the carbon tax on all home heating fuels was defeated during a Nov. 7 opposition day vote.

BARRHEAD/WESTLOCK - The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) has not given up on its efforts to have the Liberal government roll back the carbon tax on all heating fuels.

Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the government would exempt heating oil from the carbon tax for three years.

On Nov. 6, MPs voted against a CPC non-binding motion 186 to 136 to extend the government's carbon tax exemption to include all heating fuels.

NDP MPs joined CPC members, while Bloc Quebecois and Green MPs sided with the Liberals.

The Liberals said the exemption was to give oil users additional time to allow Canadians who use the fuel more time and money to replace it with electric heat pumps.

The government also announced they would be expanding a program to help people buy heat pumps and doubling the top-up to the carbon-price rebate for rural Canadians, who tend to drive longer distances and have fewer options to reduce their fossil-fuel use.

Peace River-Westlock MP Arnold Viersen said on Nov. 7 that he and the CPC would continue pushing for the carbon tax exemption on home heating fuels and other "common-sense solutions to reduce the cost of living for Canadians."

He added that he would also be pushing for the end of the carbon tax in general, saying he would be putting forth a "notice of motion of his intention at the next meeting of the House of Commons Indigenous Northern Affairs standing committee, which he is a member of.

Viersen said going into the vote, the CPC, who presented the motion by Leader Pierre Poilievre on one of their allocated opposition days, were hopeful that it would receive the support of the house.

"We put the motion forward calling for the removal of the carbon tax on all home heating fuels because it is unfair for the Liberals just to remove it for the Maritimes because everyone is struggling with their heating bills regardless of which part of the country they live in," he said.

Viersen added that although the CPC did not have prior talks with any other opposition parties, they believed their motion stood a good chance of passing as they thought there was a better-than-even chance that the NDP would support it.

"We knew the NDP had called for the removal of GST on home heating, so we thought we would get their support," he said.

Before the vote, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said while he was reluctant to vote with Conservatives, he called the Liberals' approach divisive and one that needed to be rejected.

Viersen called the three-year heating oil exemption an admission by the Liberals that the carbon tax "was not worth the cost".

He also added he did not buy the arguments of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said on Nov. 1 that the reason why the government implemented the three-year carbon tax exemption on home heating oil was that its cost was much higher compared to other fuels and its use was "disproportionately relied upon by lower-income Canadians in rural areas across the country who need more support.

Statistics Canada reports that in 2021, only three per cent of all Canadian homes relied on home heating oil. Most of these homes are in the Atlantic region, but the new exemption applies nationwide.

"The Minster of Rural Economic Development's [Gudie Hutchings] response [during CTV’s question period] was that if people in the prairies wanted a break from the carbon tax, they should have elected more Liberal MPs, basically admitting that this is a crass political move to save votes in Liberal Atlantic Canada strongholds," he said. "This is after [the Liberals] berated anyone opposed to the carbon tax for the last number of years as being climate change deniers. Now it turns out this is just political."

Barry Kerton,

Barry Kerton

About the Author: Barry Kerton

Barry Kerton is the managing editor of the Barrhead Leader, joining the paper in 2014. He covers news, municipal politics and sports.
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