OTTAWA — One of seven premiers who asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to pause the consumer carbon price increase is now asking for a meeting to discuss alternatives, while another is calling for a change in government.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey penned a letter to Trudeau over the weekend asking for an "emergency meeting of leaders."

"The threat of climate change is pressing," Furey wrote in his letter, shared on social media.

"There is wide consensus that decarbonization is imperative; no serious counter-arguments remain. The only question is how best, at this time, to do so."

He went on to defend the actions taken by his province to date to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

"However, a larger strategic investment by the government of Canada is required if we are going to have any meaningful impact on carbon emissions in this country," Furey wrote.

The four Atlantic premiers and the leaders in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario asked Trudeau to rethink raising the federal consumer carbon price, which grew Monday by $15 per tonne to $80 per tonne.

Many of them have long opposed any carbon levy, but say the affordability crisis plaguing Canadians is reason to halt the increase.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who last week testified before a parliamentary committee about his opposition to the increase, tweeted Monday that the only way to prevent future increases is a change in government.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey penned a letter to Trudeau over the weekend asking for an "emergency meeting of leaders." #CarbonPrice #cdnpoli

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, who is riding high over the Liberals in public opinion polls, has challenged Trudeau to make the next federal vote a "carbon tax election." The next federal election must take place on or before Oct. 20, 2025.

Poilievre has also spent the last month hosting "axe the tax" rallies across the country with the same message. He was to hold a news conference Monday in Nanaimo, B.C., before an evening rally.

At around noon Monday, dozens of people were gathered on Parliament Hill, some waving "axe the tax" signs, while others draped themselves in Canadian flags and those containing an expletive about the prime minister.

Trudeau and other carbon pricing proponents say critics are leaving out the fact that Canadian families receive quarterly rebate cheques, which are more generous to low-income households, to help them offset the upfront costs.

They also point to the costs climate change has on Canadians through disasters such as wildfires or floods.

Last week, some 200 economists and academics from universities across the country released an open letter defending carbon pricing as the most low-cost way to reduce emissions, as opposed to imposing stricter regulations.

The Liberal party circulated a petition on social media Monday accusing Poilievre of wanting to slash the rebate cheques, which range from $760 to nearly $1,800 per year, depending on where the recipient lives.

Trudeau has accused conservative premiers of lying about the policy's impact on inflation and has challenged his provincial critics to present alternative plans to reduce emissions.

For months, he and his ministers have been struggling to find support for the years-old policy as Canadians find themselves paying higher food and housing prices, and Poilievre aggressively campaigns against the carbon price.

Back in February, the federal government rebranded the payments Canadians receive as the "Canada Carbon Rebate" from the "Climate Action Incentive," in an effort to boost support for the policy.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 1, 2024.

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Andrew Furey appears to be the Joe Manchin here.
He makes the usual sweeping statements of certainty from the left that OF COURSE we're all on the same page when it comes to decarbonization. Totally disingenuous. Not true and he knows it.
If he really wants to get on with it, he has to start with the truth.