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Press release  •  3 min

How can we protect climate policies from bad faith attacks?

Published on 

Unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe Territories [OTTAWA], 20 March 2024:

Canadians are suffering from the cost of living crisis. The rising prices of energy, food, housing and transportation, as well as the impacts of the warmest year ever recorded – record wildfires, floods and storms – have touched virtually every household in the country.

We are not fooled: some federal politicians and many premiers are shamelessly exploiting Canadians’ very real economic pain for political gain. Climate policies have nothing to do with the hardships Canadians are facing, yet these politicians are ignoring the real causes of the cost of living crisis and scapegoating carbon pricing. It is clear to us that the debates and votes held in Parliament this week calling for a freeze on long-planned carbon pricing increases are part of a concerted effort to dismantle more than just carbon pricing: they are part of an ideologically driven effort to limit all climate action.

The attack seeks to undermine not only this one policy, but Canada’s climate plan as a whole – forcing everyday Canadians to shoulder the burden of both the affordability and climate crises so that multinational oil and gas companies can continue polluting without consequence.

Climate policy cannot be sacrificed to the whims of political leaders who would rather put the interests of Big Oil ahead of the needs of Canadians. The federal government must not just hold the line on carbon pricing and other climate initiatives – it must enhance its efforts to ensure Canada does its part to protect Canadians from the impacts of climate change while putting money back into their pockets.

Recent opposition to the planned carbon pricing increase is just the latest in an organized effort by fossil fuel companies and laggards to thwart climate action at the expense of Canadians’ well-being. False and misleading claims about the carbon tax exacerbating unaffordability do a disservice to the low and middle-income Canadians who stand to gain the most from the carbon tax through quarterly rebates, and who face the greatest risks from increasing extreme events like wildfires, floods and drought.

The truth is, inflation is driven by multiple factors including real estate speculation and price-gouging by monopolies and industries like oil and gas. And while these fossil fuel companies rake in excessive profits, they are fighting against each and every attempt to be held accountable.

All levels of government must work together constructively to tackle the climate and affordability crises simultaneously. Instead of seeking to undo important climate measures, all parties and governments should work together towards policies for addressing both crises together, such as:

Crucially, Canada’s approach to tackling climate and affordability must not undermine the inherent and treaty rights of Indigenous peoples recognized under both international and domestic law, and federal policies – including carbon pricing – must be developed and implemented in a way that respects the fundamental rights, title, sovereignty and decision-making authority of Indigenous nations.

The carbon price serves as an important price signal to consumers and companies, while giving the vast majority of Canadians back more than they pay. Many Canadians have come to depend on the quarterly rebates to meet their basic needs. The government should proceed with the planned April 1st increase in the carbon levy, which will also increase the rebate payments that benefit eight out of ten Canadians. At the same time, carbon pricing is only one tool in the climate policy toolbox, and must be accompanied by complementary climate policies, as well as an affordability package that prevents Canadians from having to choose between their well-being and a safe climate.

Governments across the country need to push back against the cynical use of carbon pricing as a convenient distraction from the real culprits. To help Canadians through this difficult time, they must adopt policies that provide tangible and immediate support to address rising costs, while tackling the long-term dependency on fossil fuels that make us poorer and more vulnerable to energy price shocks and climate disasters.

Climate Action Network-Réseau action climat Canada
Environmental Defence Canada
Greenpeace Canada
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
David Suzuki Foundation
West Coast Environmental Law Association
Destination Zero


Canada’s farthest-reaching network of organizations working on climate and energy issues, Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat (CAN-Rac) Canada is a coalition of 150 organizations operating from coast to coast to coast. Our membership brings environmental groups together with trade unions, First Nations, social justice, development, health and youth organizations, faith groups and local, grassroots initiatives.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Caroline Brouillette, Executive Director