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Poll says 7 in 10 Canadians are against carbon tax hike on April 1

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As Canada's carbon tax rate is set to increase beginning next month, new polling data suggests the majority of Canadians are against the idea of paying even more for fuel.

Beginning on April 1, the federal government will be increasing the price on carbon pollution by $15 per tonne, continuing with its plan to increase it each year until 2030.

That means the carbon tax will be 17 cents per litre on gasoline, 21 cents per litre on diesel and 15 cents per cubic metre of natural gas.

The Trudeau government says the strategy is meant to reduce emissions and encourage innovation, but one group says a growing proportion of Canadians are against the added cost.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) released the results of a Leger poll on Monday that suggested almost seven in 10 Canadians oppose the upcoming hike.

Sixty-nine per cent of respondents opposed the hike while just 31 per cent were in support.

Excluding Quebec and B.C., the two jurisdictions where the carbon tax isn't directly applied, the group of Canadians against the hike rises to 72 per cent, the CTF said.

"The poll is clear: the vast majority of Canadians, across every province and all demographics, oppose the upcoming federal carbon tax hike," said Franco Terrazzano, CTF federal director, in a news release.

"Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should listen to Canadians and stop hiking his carbon tax."

The call to cease hikes to the carbon tax came after the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) launched a petition against the levy.

The CFIB is upset that the federal government is reducing the carbon tax rebate for small and medium-sized businesses from nine per cent to five per cent starting this year.

It says the change could cost businesses $500 million in 2024.

"The federal government has committed to giving rebates every year to consumers like you and I. Small businesses were promised a specific amount, and unfortunately, they haven't received much, if not any," said Andrew Sennyah, an Alberta-based senior policy analyst for the CFIB.

According to figures from the CFIB, Alberta businesses are owed approximately $718 million in rebates.

Other provinces also against the carbon tax

Pushback against the federal government's carbon tax is also being felt in many provinces, such as in Saskatchewan.

In that province, the government said it would not remit the carbon tax on natural gas used on home heating, a move it said would save its residents $400 per year.

It said it made the move after the federal government announced a three-year exemption on home heating oil – primarily used in Atlantic Canada – from the carbon tax framework.

In response to the idea, the federal government said it would not be sending carbon tax rebate cheques to Saskatchewan residents, since those figures are based on the amount of money remitted to Ottawa.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has also been in opposition to the federal carbon tax, going so far as calling it "the worst tax ever."

"You’re being gouged by the carbon tax, it’s as simple as that," he said last month.

At the same time, Ford proposed a new law that would force future governments in Ontario to put all new carbon taxes to a referendum, to ensure Ontarians have their voices heard "loud and clear" before a levy is introduced.

The Leger poll used data collected online from 1,590 Canadians aged 18 and over between Feb. 23 and 25.

No margin of error is associated with the non-probability sample in the poll, but Leger said for comparative purposes, a probability sample of 1,590 respondents would have a margin of error of +/- 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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