The Trudeau government’s announcement that home heating oil will be temporarily exempt from the carbon tax has led to legitimate policy debate and political bluster.
But it should come as little surprise that the government employed a targeted strategy. For decades, similar approaches have been followed across Canada in economic development, infrastructure spending, climate and energy.
But whereas the public might have previously shrugged off the exemption as a reasonable accommodation to a small group of end users — if they'd noticed at all — they are now paying close attention.
Two things appear to be different with the current carbon pricing debate: the direct potential compliance cost to consumers — currently $65 per tonne of CO2, rising to $170 by 2030 — and today’s tense political environment, particularly as it relates to climate policy.
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