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Trudeau Shows Misplaced Priorities With Carbon Tax


Imposing a carbon tax on recession-weary Canadians apparently isn’t enough for Justin Trudeau. Now, he’s inflicting his misguided eco-policy on war-torn Ukraine. That’s right – as bombs fall and cities burn, Trudeau is forcing a carbon tax on Ukraine.

The updated Canada-Ukraine trade deal contains a clause promoting cooperation on carbon pricing. While Ukraine battles against Russian aggression, Trudeau wants to saddle them with his favorite eco-policy.

Conservatives erupted at this absurdity. Pierre Poilievre fumed that Ukraine has “a knife at its throat” yet must swallow a carbon tax.

The ridiculousness is staggering. Canada already provides military aid. But Trudeau believes this isn’t enough without grafting on his green agenda too. 

Ukraine needs weapons and armor, not lectures on carbon taxes from hypocritical champagne socialists.

Trudeau won’t stop until everyone – even war victims – pay for their emissions sins.

With Canadians already struggling under rising carbon taxes damaging jobs and growth, why does Trudeau feel the need to spread this economic pain to Ukraine too?

The recent vote on the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement Act has exposed a stark divide between the Conservative Party and the governing Liberals. 

While all parties claim to staunchly support Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s illegal invasion, a controversy stems from Clause 5 in the updated agreement, which states the parties will: “promote carbon pricing and measures to mitigate carbon leakage risks.” 

During debate in the House of Commons, Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre took issue with this clause, alleging it would “impose a carbon tax on the people of Ukraine” at a time when they are embroiled in war with Russia.

He accused the Trudeau government of “inserting a “carbon tax” in the deal when Ukraine, battling the Russians, “has a knife at its throat.”

The Liberals, on the other hand, defended the aspirational language and accused the Conservatives of abandoning Ukraine over an insignificant clause. 

As explained by Dean Foster, a director of trade negotiations at Global Affairs, the language is meant to be aspirational and set “principles for co-operation” on carbon pricing between Canada and Ukraine.

According to Foster’s testimony earlier this month: “The reference to carbon pricing cooperation in the environment chapter does not bind Ukraine   to imposing a carbon price. It provides for cooperation between Canada and Ukraine in this area.”

So while the deal promotes carbon pricing principles, the government maintains it does not directly require Ukraine to enact a domestic carbon tax at this stage. Nevertheless, the Conservatives voted en masse against the trade agreement legislation based on concerns over the carbon pricing references.

This partisan bickering obscures the larger absurdity of the Trudeau government prioritizing its ideological carbon agenda over constructively assisting Ukraine.

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion began in February 2022, Canada has provided Ukraine with over $8 billion in military, humanitarian and financial aid. This support is commendable and should continue unabated. 

However, the Trudeau government has repeatedly made puzzling decisions that seem to put its domestic carbon pricing ideology ahead of Ukraine’s urgent needs. The controversial clause in the Canada-Ukraine trade deal is the latest example. 

While the government claims it does not actively impose a carbon tax on Ukraine, the wording clearly promotes carbon pricing principles. This needlessly injects Trudeau’s signature climate policy into an agreement with a nation fighting for its survival against a ruthless aggressor.

Rather than lecturing Ukraine about reducing emissions, Canada should focus on providing real material support to defeat Russia.

Poilievre and the Conservatives have proposed constructive solutions, like expediting permits to export Canadian energy products to replace Russia’s stranglehold on European supply. This would benefit Ukraine better by bolstering their economy. 

Yet the government continues to delay and obstruct increased fossil fuel exports, prioritizing vague commitments to fight climate change over countering Russian aggression. The Ukrainian people desperately need weapons, humanitarian relief and economic partnerships, not lofty carbon targets.

The absurdity of pushing carbon pricing amidst war goes beyond the trade agreement. 

The carbon tax already imposes real economic harm on Canadian families and businesses. The costs of the tax disproportionately hit low-income Canadians, draining budgets for necessities like groceries and rent. Businesses face mounting hurdles as carbon taxes raise operating and transportation costs. 

The tax adds billions in regulatory burdens that hinder Canada’s global competitiveness and discourage investment. With Canadians struggling with inflation and a potential recession, raising carbon taxes is reckless economic self-sabotage. Extending these costs to Ukraine via a trade deal is absurd moral posturing.

While Ukraine fights for survival, the Trudeau government remains fixated on imposing costly climate policies on both Canadians and Ukrainians. This is deeply misguided. Canada should scrap the carbon tax, expedite energy exports to Europe, and focus aid to Ukraine on their immediate military and humanitarian needs. 

We must stop hindering our energy industry, which is critical for both our domestic economy and European energy security. The Conservative Party understands this, and that is why it opposed the trade agreement. Only by aligning policies with Ukraine’s current realities, not far-off emission targets, can Canada play its part in ending Russia’s illegal war.

Moreover, Trudeau’s government’s recent Fall Economic Statement reveals planned declines in Canadian military assistance to Ukraine over the next few years. This reduction coincides with the government’s unwavering commitment to increasing Canada’s carbon tax, despite growing economic concerns. 

The contrast exposes misplaced priorities that recklessly put climate change agendas ahead of urgently supporting Ukraine’s self-defense against Russian aggression.

The economic update indicates military aid to Ukraine will fall from $816 million this fiscal year down to $318 million in 2023-24, and further to only $197 million by 2025-26. This represents a major cut to urgent near-term assistance as Ukraine fights for survival against Russia’s illegal invasion. Rather than steadfast support, this suggests a slow phase-out of aid as the war drags on.

This makes the simultaneous plan to reduce military assistance over the coming years all the more striking. Just as Ukraine requires steady Western armaments to liberate occupied territory, the government picks a strange time to force carbon pricing wording into the trade pact. And soon after, budgets reveal declining aid despite Ukraine’s long struggle ahead.

The message is that while Ukraine fights for its very existence, the government insists on signaling its virtue and priorities on climate action. If the carbon pricing clause is so insignificant as the government claims, why risk united support for the trade deal over it? This gives the impression that domestic political optics around reducing emissions matter more than pragmatically supporting Ukraine.

The government must recognize that now is not the time for needless carbon policy posturing. All parties should unite to back the trade agreement without controversial provisions that distract from the core focus of supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty.

Instead The Liberal-NDP government recently voted down a Conservative motion to amend Bill C-57 to expand munition exports from Canada to Ukraine. The opposition argued that explicitly adding provisions to bolster arms shipments would strengthen Canada’s support for Ukraine’s military defense needs. However, the ruling Liberal-NDP coalition rejected the motion.

Rather than approve the Conservative motion to unambiguously expand munitions shipments via amendments to Bill C-57, the ruling Liberal-NDP coalition chose instead to back the Canada-Ukraine trade agreement containing aspirational carbon pricing language. This contrast reveals misaligned priorities that inappropriately inject climate politics into vital military support for Ukraine.

In the midst of Ukraine’s existential battle for survival against authoritarian aggression, the government has inappropriately inserted partisan climate politics into the policy discourse. This betrays a misalignment of priorities that privileges far-off emissions targets over pragmatically assisting an ally facing immediate threat.

Rather than unite all parties behind steadfast support for Ukraine, Trudeau has risked consensus to force carbon pricing language into the trade pact. This empty moral posturing does nothing to help Ukraine’s military defense and economic needs. Meanwhile, planned reductions in military aid expose diminishing resolve as the conflict drags on.

The absurdity of imposing carbon taxes on a nation at war reveals an ideological rigidity that loses sight of strategic imperatives. The government must recognize the grave error of signaling climate virtue while Ukrainians are dying. All talk of carbon pricing should be scrapped to refocus efforts on providing weapons, aid and economic partnerships.

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