When it seemed that almost nothing—not even the release of dire UN report predicting humanity’s doom—would make Canadians support a carbon tax, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided to offer a rebate and, lo and behold, Canadians came around.
After Trudeau announced that Canadian households will see a return on what they paid out, support for the carbon tax has reached its highest point in years according to a new poll by Angus Reid. The plan, which was announced on October 23, will see people under the federally implemented carbon tax receive a large rebate in their tax returns as a result of the carbon tax. While its opponents have painted this rebate as a “gimmick,” the announcement has seemingly halted the growing distaste for the tax as support for a carbon tax climbed above 50 percent to the highest level it’s been since April of 2015.
Trudeau’s rebate will impact those in locations without their own provincially implemented carbon tax, which are Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick—support unsurprisingly grew in all those provinces. Support raised most drastically in Saskatchewan (where it went up 18 percent), in Quebec (13 percent), and Ontario (11 percent).
The immensely stubborn folks over in Alberta held strong as the Wildrose province was the only place where support for the tax actually dropped. Further, regarding the Prairies legendary distaste for the tax, it’s important to note that while the biggest increase was in Saskatchewan it was only to 29 percent meaning the majority of those in the province still don’t like the tax.
“In all provinces canvassed, with the exception of Alberta, the number of Canadians saying they support the Liberal plan has risen,” reads Angus Reid’s report on the poll. ”In Ontario, where Doug Ford has led the charge against the tax, a slight majority now support its implementation, instead of opposing it, as they did in July.”
Apart from mere support, there are other things we can learn from Angus Reid’s research. The poll found that the main reason for the opposition of the carbon tax was, unsurprisingly, was that it seemed to be a tax grab. Almost 65 percent of those who opposed did so for those reasons—the other ones were because they didn’t think it would stop climate change (36 percent), because heating and gas bills were already too high (30 percent), six percent said they disliked the tax because they believed climate change to be a hoax.
Unsurprisingly, in terms of support and opposition, there are some lines that can be drawn from the data, particularly by age. “Those between the ages of 18 and 34 are more enthusiastic about the federal carbon pricing plan, with seven-in-ten voicing support,” reads the report. “Older people are divided evenly, with 48 percent opposing and 52 percent supporting.”
But political divides are the most glaring when it comes to carbon tax support. The report states, “four-in-five past CPC voters oppose the plan (80 percent), while seven-in-ten past Liberals (71 percent) and past New Democrats (69 percent) support it.” The majority of Canadians still believe that provincial governments should be the ones in charge of creating and implementing a carbon tax but support for that notion is also falling.
Another interesting finding looks at where Canadians turn to get their information on climate change. Less than half trust the news media and the provincial and federal government—the most trusted are university professors and international organizations like the UN. This is interesting following the release of the dire UN climate change report from earlier this month that essentially outlined that drastic measures need to be taken on climate change lest we face brutal consequences for our inaction.
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