On Tuesday, the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources dismissed calls for more federal carbon pricing exemptions on home heating.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a three-year pause on the carbon tax for oil heating in homes, a move that predominantly benefits Canadians living in Atlantic Canada.
Homes heated with oil produce higher emissions than natural gas. This has led several premiers to demand Trudeau grant their residents the same exemption for natural gas.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre also wrote an open letter to Trudeau, asking for federal carbon pricing exemptions on all home heating.
On Monday, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said his government would stop collecting the carbon tax from homes heated with natural gas in his province if the Trudeau government did not extend the same exemption it gave to Atlantic Canada, a region known as a voter stronghold for Liberals.
Moe said the current exemption has resulted in “two classes of taxpayers.”
On Tuesday, Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson responded to Moe’s threat by saying, “There will be no more carve-outs coming.”
Wilkinson added that Moe’s position wasn’t legal under the law. “We expect him to comply with the laws of the land,” he said. “It is a requirement that they collect that or that it be collected in some way.”
Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault later told The Globe and Mail, “we won’t be creating other exemptions to carbon pricing.” Guilbeault said that the exemption for home oil heating is a “very particular situation.”
“There’s a number of factors that were taken into account: the price of home-heating oil has climbed three times faster than natural gas, it’s less efficient, it’s more polluting,” said Guilbeault.
“Some people have said that this would slow down our fight against climate change, quite the opposite. We’re accelerating it. We will be taking out of Canadian residences home-heating oil faster than we would have otherwise.”
Trudeau declined to speak with reporters about further exemptions while entering a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill on Tuesday.