OTTAWA — A Conservative riding association has launched a petition against leader Erin O'Toole's decision to introduce a "carbon tax."

The party's electoral district association for Battlefords-Lloydminster in rural Saskatchewan announced Monday it has launched a petition it plans to present to the Conservatives' national council.

The move is the latest blow to O'Toole's leadership as at least three other riding associations have requested he undergo an early leadership review by mid-June and some MPs feel he's not fit for the job.

In a statement, the riding president for Battlefords-Lloydminster says O'Toole didn't honour the policy members adopted last March that spells out their belief there shouldn't be any federal carbon taxes or cap-and-trade systems imposed onto provinces.

Michael Hudec says O'Toole violated that policy last April when he revealed the party's climate change plan included a carbon pricing system that would see the money consumers pay be entered into a proposed "personal low carbon savings account."

O'Toole has argued his plan isn't a carbon tax because unlike the federal backstop applied by the Liberal government, his proposal wouldn't see money sent to government coffers.

Hudec says in his statement that O'Toole ignored the will of party members by introducing what he called the "O'Toole carbon tax."

“Make no mistake, it’s just the O’Toole carbon tax, but by another name. O’Toole’s carbon tax will make everything more expensive for everyone, and is the exact opposite of what our members voted for at our most recent democratic policy convention," he says.

In a separate statement, the riding's MP Rosemarie Falk says she respects the decision of the riding association's board.

Tory dissenters fire another shot at their leader Erin O'Toole, this time over his proposed #carbontax. #cdnpoli

"The Conservative Party of Canada is a grassroots political party with an obligation to be accountable and responsive to its membership," Falk said in a statement.

"As the member of Parliament for Battlefords-Lloydminster, my position has always been that a carbon tax is ineffective and unfairly punishes the rural communities that I represent."

In a statement Monday afternoon, party president Rob Batherson said national council has the authority to determine if a petition is valid, saying this one will be reviewed at a future meeting.

Despite the turmoil, a memo obtained by The Canadian Press, which was recently presented to national council by Batherson, says 2021 was a banner year when it came to fundraising.

The document outlines how the party ended the year with nearly $27 million raised, making 2021 the third-best year on record when it came to fundraising.

In December, the memo says it ended the quarter with almost $3.1 million raised. It said because of the election, donors who typically donate in the fourth quarter were encouraged to do so in the third.

Batherson also says in his notethe party is election-ready after having already paid off its election loan.

In 2021 his memo says the party added nearly 20,000 new donors.

"This is the earliest we have accomplished this in party history," the memo reads.

"To be ready for an election only four months after the previous one is unheard of in Canadian politics — but here we are."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2022.

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"O'Toole has argued his plan isn't a carbon tax because unlike the federal backstop applied by the Liberal government, his proposal wouldn't see money sent to government coffers."

As far as I know, Ottawa does not keep a cent of federal carbon tax revenues.

"The federal govt said 90% of the carbon tax revenue collected will go back to households in the affected provinces and territories thru Climate Action Incentive payments; the remaining 10% will go to hospitals, schools and businesses in order to help develop greener solutions."
"What is a carbon tax, and will it make a difference?"