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Opinion: Nobody's laughing at this April Fool's Day joke

Not only should the government scrap the 23 per cent increase for the carbon tax, it should scrap the tax completely.
Oil service rig Getty
Latest increase to the carbon tax is too much.

The federal government hiked the carbon tax by 23 per cent on April 1.

It's the first day of the fiscal year, so that's why the tax increase happens on that.

But it was April's Fool Day. Sadly, the feds didn't turn around and announce the tax hike was a gag.

Despite the ongoing cost-of-living challenges facing Canadians, the government decided to follow through with the increase. Even though Canadians were telling the feds that they didn't want to see any more added expenses, even though the carbon tax hasn't done anything to reduce emissions, and even though the carbon tax increase has some pretty widespread impacts, the feds weren't listening.

You would hope that the federal government would heed the concerns of people across the country and pull the plug on this latest hike, but they didn't.

When the carbon tax was introduced a few years ago, there actually was support for it, particularly in urban centres, where you have public transit and other options for getting people to their destinations without vehicles. And with the number of voters in large urban areas, those are the voices the feds will hear.

But the carbon tax has increased, just like the cost of virtually everything has gone up. Canadians have grown increasingly frustrated. And now we're looking at a 23 per cent increase? That's going to anger a lot of people, especially those in the lower-income brackets.

With so many people now voicing their opposition, it seems the only ones who still support the carbon tax are the staunch environmentalist members of the party, and members of other parties who want to see really stringent measures put in place to reduce fossil fuel usage.

The government will tell you that most Canadians will get back more than they put in for the carbon tax. But there's a lot who pay more than they get back. And it's not just large polluters who lose money on this.

The carbon tax rebate cheques help people make ends meet, they still have to endure the higher cost of living for three months to get to the rebate cheques. For them, it's not easy. And it's going to be even more difficult with a 23 per cent tax increase.

We don't just feel the impact of the carbon tax with the price at the service station, although that is one problem area. We feel it at the grocery stores, the clothing retailers, the restaurants and anywhere else we have to pay for transportation costs to get goods to market.

It not only impacts the oil and gas sector, but it affects farmers, the trucking industry and so much more.

And it hinders our country's competitiveness. It makes it harder for Canada to attract businesses. If a company is looking to invest internationally, and if it's a close race between Canada and a country without the carbon tax, it will select the country without Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's "price on pollution".

The carbon tax increase also affects other levels of government that have higher fuel costs.

We can sit here and call on the government to withdraw this increase. and make life easier for all of us. But we know our cries won't be heeded.

The Conservative Party and its supporters can proceed with its Axe the Tax rallies, but the Liberals won't budge. At least not in the short term.

We know how people in rural Canada feel about the carbon tax. It should be gone. But we'll see if this is an issue for the next federal election in large urban centres.

Investing in projects that will actually reduce emissions would be a far better option.

Hopefully, this will be the last carbon tax increase in Canada for a long time to come. And hopefully one day it will become just a chapter in Canadian history.