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More than 50 people show up for carbon tax protest at Hope Scale

April Fool’s Day full of protests as federal government raises carbon tax
Protesters against the carbon tax increase gathered at the Hope Scale on April 1. (Mark Thomson/Screenshot)

Pranks and laughs weren’t the only thing happening in Hope on April Fool’s Day as protesters voiced their anger over the increase to the federal carbon tax.

Starting a 9 a.m., a sizeable group of more than 50 people gathered at the Hope Scale, on the westbound lane located between Laidlaw and Hunter Creek, on Monday in protest of the federal government’s $15-per-tonne increase to the carbon tax.

The increase came into effect on Monday, raising the carbon tax on fuel from $0.14 to $0.18 — bringing the price of gasoline up to an average of 3.3 cents per litre.

For many of the protestors, they said this increase was unacceptable and would only contribute further to difficulties in affording food, gas, and housing.

READ MORE: As Canada starts to pay more for pollution today, here’s what you need to know

Throughout the day, protesters held up signs demanding the federal government “axe the tax” and “spike the hike.” Signs with language against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were also displayed during the protest along with the Canadian flag.

While the protest took place, multiple Hope RCMP and the BC Highway Patrol officers were at the scene, directing traffic and keeping an eye on the protest.

The protest at Hope was one of many, taking place across the country, inspired by Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s “Axe the Tax” rally which also took place on Monday. Several of the protests resulted in traffic being stalled on the Trans-Canada Highway and at provincial border crossings.

During his rally, which was at the Millway Market Gas N Go station in Nanaimo, Poilievre said that the increase was a “cruel April Fool’s Day joke on Canadians.”

“We need to unify our country around an optimistic vision to axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget and stop the crime,” he said.

READ MORE: Poilievre visits Nanaimo to pan April Fool’s Day carbon tax increase

However, according to Trevor Melanson, the communications director with Clean Energy Canada, the carbon tax is not the “true culprit of why things have gotten so expensive in this country and in this province.” In fact, according to a letter issued by hundreds of economists from universities across Canada, “global factors such as COVID-19 and international conflicts have ‘mainly’ contributed to inflation, not carbon taxes.”

“According to the Bank of Canada, carbon pricing has caused less than 1/20th of Canada’s inflation in the past two years,” Melanson said. “Climate change, on the other hand, poses a real threat to Canadians’ economic well-being. For example, it increases the risk and severity of natural disturbances, such as fires, floods, and severe storms.”

“We all know we need to do something and there is really no-zero cost option here. Obviously, not solving climate change is not zero cost. It’s the most costly option.”

— with files from The Canadian Press and Wolf Depner

READ MORE: B.C. ‘better off’ with carbon tax, but foes have ‘easier’ story to tell: analyst


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Kemone Moodley

About the Author: Kemone Moodley

I began working with the Hope Standard on August 2022.
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