Canadians mount Freedom Convoy-styled protests against carbon tax
Canadians mount Freedom Convoy-styled protests against carbon tax

Thousands of Canadians from across the country are gathering along highways, provincial borders, and Liberals MPs’ offices in a Freedom Convoy-styled protest against the federal carbon tax. 

The tax rose to 17 cents per litre of gasoline, 21 cents per litre of diesel and 15 cents per cubic metre of natural gas on Monday, Apr. 1.

Event organizers at various locations told True North that demonstrators are prepared to stay for weeks in hopes of swaying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to remove his costly tax. 

“We’re going to be camping out. There’s no departure date, let’s put it that way,” organizer Elliot McDavid told True North at the Calgary protest.

The demonstration saw around 400 attendees by Monday morning, with more arriving each minute. Protesters used traffic pylons to block one way of traffic on Highway 1 heading west towards Banff. Vehicles slowed down and many honked in support, while some protesters tried to hinder legacy media. 

“A week, two, three — whatever it takes,” organizer Miranda Courts told True North at the protest in Loydminister along the Alberta-Saskatchewan border. Around 500 attendees showed up there to protest the tax. That demonstration featured a pancake breakfast, coffee, and a warming shack.

Demonstrators at the Nova Scotia–New Brunswick border succeeded in slowing traffic to a near standstill, according to the RCMP. 

Hundreds of cars and trucks lined both sides of the highway, with the RCMP eventually closing the road and diverting traffic to a detour. 

Another 30 protesters picketed Ontario Liberal MP Jennifer O’Connell’s office.

One attendee told True North that the tax is difficult for the common person and those on fixed incomes.

“All these MPs, they have high incomes so it does not affect them,” she said. 

Another several hundred demonstrators arrived in Ottawa and chanted “freedom” in French and English. The demonstration took place on Parliament Hill and included speeches. 

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre told supporters last month that he wanted them to organize protests at the officers of Liberal and New Democrat members of Parliament to pressure them into stopping the carbon tax hike that went into effect Monday.

The Conservatives introduced a non-confidence motion in the government over the tax, but it was blocked by all of the other parties in the House of Commons.

Poilievre is set to host his own “spike the hike” rally in Nanaimo, B.C. Monday evening.

 The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is also criticizing the federal government’s tax hike, which comes as MPs get a pay hike. 

All members of Parliament received a raise Monday, ranging between $8,500 and $17,000, depending on their role. A backbench MP’s salary is now $203,100. A minister’s salary is $299,900, and the prime minister’s salary is $406,200.

 “MPs are taking more money out of Canadians’ pockets and stuffing more money into their own and that’s wrong,” said the taxpayer advocacy group’s federal director, Franco Terrazzano. “MPs should be providing tax relief, not hiking taxes and their own pay.”

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