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Poilievre rallies thousands to ‘axe the tax’ in Edmonton

Pierre Poilievre was in Edmonton Wednesday night to criticize the carbon tax.

The leader of the federal conservatives spoke at the Edmonton Expo Centre, calling on Albertans to put pressure on the feds to “axe the tax.”

The current $65-per-tonne carbon price increases to $80 per ton on April 1. The carbon tax rebate for families will also increase at that time.

The carbon tax hike will raise the price of gas by around three cents per litre.

The Alberta government will reinstate the provincial fuel tax the same day, adding another four cents per litre at the pumps.

“The fact that (the UCP are) totally comfortable bringing back a gasoline tax on April 1, the same day that the carbon tax is going to go up, clearly means that they don’t have an objection to a tax on carbon-emitting products,” said economist Moshe Lander.

In addition to more expensive fuel, Poilievre told the crowd Wednesday the carbon tax will raise the costs of other living expenses like food and housing.

Those claims have been challenged by experts. On Tuesday, more than 200 economists from Canadian universities signed an open letter challenging those claims, saying the levy is the cheapest way to reach national climate goals.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has maintained that the carbon pricing model works, and Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said eight out of 10 Canadian families will get more back in rebates than they pay into the tax.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith attended the rally, where she encouraged Edmontonians to call on local MLAs and MPs to put pressure on the federal government.

“You have the power to call all the NDP leadership candidates and all of the MLAs and tell them to tell their boss Jagmeet Singh in Ottawa that he should axe the tax and spike the hike,” Smith told the crowd.

In a letter defending the carbon tax, Trudeau said Alberta has failed to propose an alternative system to replace the carbon tax, or it proposed systems that failed to meet the minimum standard for emissions reductions.

According to Smith, Alberta will release its own climate action plan Thursday.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Chelan Skulski, CTV News Calgary’s Timm Bruch and The Canadian Press 

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