As Ontario Premier Doug Ford awaits the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling on the constitutionality of the federal carbon tax, he and his Progressive Conservative party may want to consider the results of a new poll released this week by Clean Prosperity. The poll uncovered some surprising findings about how Ontarians feel about carbon pricing.
|Update (March 25, 2021): The Supreme Court ruled today that the federal carbon tax is constitutional. Read our reaction to the ruling.|
The February 2021 poll of voters across Ontario suggests that carbon pricing enjoys strong public acceptance, including among PC supporters. With the Supreme Court expected to rule against Ontario’s legal challenge of nationally-mandated carbon pricing, this could present an opportunity for Premier Ford to put forward a new vision of Conservative climate action.
The poll, conducted by Conservative pollster Andrew Enns at Leger, found that 55 percent of PC voters would support Premier Ford implementing a carbon tax and rebate in Ontario. Some 64 percent of Conservative voters like the idea of a carbon tax that uses the revenue to reduce personal income taxes. Thirty percent said such a policy would make them more likely to vote Conservative, while just five percent said they’d be less likely to vote for the party.
“It’s no surprise that Conservative voters now believe carbon pricing must be part of a serious climate plan,” said Clean Prosperity Executive Director Michael Bernstein.
If the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of a Canada-wide price on carbon emissions, then the Ontario PC government will have to comply. But they have the option of implementing their own, Conservative carbon pricing policy. A full two-thirds of PC voters prefer that Premier Ford implement his own carbon tax system if the province loses its case at the Supreme Court.
Premier Ford has a broad range of Conservative carbon pricing policy options available to him, including tax relief, increased support for rural Ontarians, and support to small businesses.
The poll also found broad support for climate action among Ontarians of all political stripes: Three-quarters of voters support the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, and 56 percent said they couldn’t vote for a party without a credible climate plan.
For 69 percent of voters, a carbon tax and rebate is a key part of a credible climate plan, making it harder for Premier Ford to argue he is serious about climate while adamantly opposing a consumer carbon price.
“It’s no surprise that Conservative voters now believe carbon pricing must be part of a serious climate plan,” said Clean Prosperity Executive Director Michael Bernstein. “Evidence shows that carbon pricing is the most cost-effective way to reach net zero.”
“Regardless of what happens at the Supreme Court, Premier Ford has an opportunity to take the lead on climate action by implementing his own, made-in-Ontario carbon price. These poll results make it clear that all Ontarians, including Conservative voters, will support him.”
Key findings from the poll
- 55% of PC voters would support Premier Ford’s decision to implement a carbon tax and rebate in Ontario.
- 56% of all voters say they can’t vote for a party that doesn’t have a credible climate plan, and 69% of voters said a carbon tax is part of a credible plan.
- 64% of PC voters would support a carbon tax combined with income tax reductions; 30% say it would make them more likely to vote PC, while just 5% say they’d be less likely.
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