Conservatives peddle misinformation as they denounce fictitious truck tax

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The Conservatives are fed up with a truck tax that does not exist. The outrage stems from a opinion piece in the Toronto Sun by a director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, who claims that the federal government “plans to hit Canadians with a major new tax on their trucks and sport utility vehicles.”

The basis of the claim stems from recommendations provided to the government by an independent advisory group, known as the Net-Zero Advisory Body (NZAB). The NZAB was created via Section 20 of the Net Zero Emissions Accountability Act.

Section 13 of the act states that “the governments of the provinces, the aboriginal peoples of Canada [and] the advisory body established under section 20” be given the opportunity to make representations to the federal government.

The NZAB recommended, among other things, that the government “expand Canada’s existing green levy (excise tax) on gas-guzzling vehicles to include [internal combustion engine] types of vehicles, such as pickup trucks. This recommendation was included in the appendix to the recent federal government report emission reduction planalongside recommendations from each province and territory, the Métis National Council, the Assembly of First Nations and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

The Minister of the Environment is legally bound, under section 13.1 of the Act, to ensure that submissions made to the government are accessible to the public, hence the inclusion of all submissions in the schedule of the government report.

But I guess that’s not as outrageous as claiming that the “new tax” is “deeply buried” in the report, as the director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation claimed.

Alanis Morissette’s level of irony in all of this is that the existing excise tax on gas-guzzling vehicles was introduced under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2007. This salient detail appears to have been removed from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation opinion piece. Nor was it mentioned by conservative politicians like Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and presumed Conservative leadership frontrunner Pierre Poilievre, even though they were members of the Harper government at the time. .

It is much easier to falsely claim that it is a “punitive tax on workers for the purchase of vans”, because Kenney claimed it wasor that the feds are looking to “put thousands of new taxes on anyone who buys a truck,” as Poilievre tweeted.

In its most charitable interpretation, the people who peddle “truck tax” nonsense are simply too meaningless to understand the difference between an independent advisory body making non-binding recommendations to the federal government and politics. government official. Although it’s hard to fathom that this applies to politicians who have been in office for as long as Kenney and Poilievre.

Politicians of all stripes will choose which facts and figures to present in order to paint themselves or their party in the most flattering light. But this is not just a trivial political or partisan sleight of hand. The non-existent truck tax is presented by the Conservatives as official Liberal government policy that will soon apply to everyone’s pickup truck, and that is patently false.

The truck tax framework is particularly troubling given the Conservative Party’s growing willingness to condone — and in some cases actively promote — blatant conspiracy theories, like Poilievre and his fellow leadership candidate. Leslyn Lewis have done.

Wanting a political environment based on facts and reality is not a partisan issue, but it risks becoming one if conservatives continue to favor the peddling of outrage over the truth.

The erosion of the standards of our political discourse will have all sorts of negative consequences for our democracy down the line – all of which are far worse than a non-existent truck tax.

Supriya Dwivedi is a liberal commentator who works as Senior Counsel for Enterprise Canada and Director of Policy and Engagement at the Center for Media, Technology and Democracy. She is a columnist for the Star. Twitter: @supriyadwivedi

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