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Carbon Tax rebate hits Canadians' pockets as 'Axe the Tax' protests continue

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Millions of Canadians woke up Monday with a carbon tax rebate cheque in their bank account, but that's not good enough for some, who are protesting the tax.

Hundreds of "Axe the Tax" protesters have camped out on the side of Highway 1 near Cochrane for 15 days, since the federal tax increased on April 1.

"It's just great to see Canadians all come together because this is definitely something that can unite everybody," said protest organizer Judy Martens.

"So if everybody's hurting, we're here for them."

The federal Liberal government says a family of four in Alberta will receive $1,800 in rebates, the majority through direct deposit.

An individual will receive $225 quarterly.

To have received the rebate on Monday, you must have filed your personal income tax return before March 15th.

If you filed after, you will receive it at the earliest time of May 15, June 15 or July 15th, the next rebate payment.

"If you haven't done your taxes, you don't get that," said protester Rudy Bruce.

"If you're standing up to the government in some form or fashion, you're screwed. You don't get that."

Bruce says he is a long-haul truck driver and the cost of gasoline and diesel is challenging.

"I haven't done my taxes in over seven years," he said.

"The reason for that is because the government is trying to dip into my taxes and take me for four grand, which I'm trying to put a stop to."

He says he has yet to receive the rebate.

"This rebate thing is a total joke, because it's pushing up the cost of your groceries, is pushing up the cost of everything," he said.

When Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem was in Calgary last fall, he said carbon pricing contributes "in the range of 0.15 per cent" to inflation.

"So quite small," Macklem said at the time.

Martens says the group will continue to protest with signs and flags until the carbon tax is removed.

"I've heard of one person receiving it (the rebate) but that's not even the point of it," Martens said.

"If you give someone your full meal and you get some crumbs in return, it's not enough to sustain you, so that's why we're still out here."

Jason Wright says the rebate is an example of Ottawa not listening to Canadians.

"I think there's definitely an insulated elite class in Ottawa that are so disconnected from the common person on the ground," he said.

"There's no public transit here. So how are you supposed to get around? Like, a lot of people can't afford this stuff."

Mount Royal University political science professor Lori Williams says many against the tax want to understand where the money is going.

"There are some people, no matter what the rebate is, they're simply against the carbon tax on principle, just like the federal government," she said.

"The sense of whether people are being disadvantaged by this or that particular component of these expenses is something that they may not be able to put together in a clear calculation."

The scene along highway one on Sunday saw hundreds of protesters out with flags, honking horns and encroaching on the highway, slowing weekend traffic.

Monday demonstrations were smaller, but graffiti scrawled on the Trans-Canada remained.

Arthur Green, press secretary for the office of the deputy premier and public safety and emergency services, provided CTV News with the following statement:

"Canadians have a constitutional right to protest, and our government fully supports that right, but they must do so safely, from the side of the road. Alberta's government does not support the blocking of highways as Albertans rely on roads and highways to move goods such as grains and other agri-products, energy products, petrochemicals, minerals and other natural resources, as well as manufactured goods within the province and to other markets. It is imperative that road and highway infrastructure remains open to ensure people can get where they need to go, and the economy can continue to thrive without interruption."

The province did not comment on the graffiti.

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