Poilievre Threatens to Keep House Sitting Over Christmas After Carbon Tax Bill ‘Gutted’ in Senate

The Tory leader says his party will table ‘thousands’ of amendments to block the passing of the Liberals’ mini-budget.
Poilievre Threatens to Keep House Sitting Over Christmas After Carbon Tax Bill ‘Gutted’ in Senate
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre holds a press conference regarding his “Axe the Tax” message from the roof of a parking garage in St. John's, on Oct.27, 2023. (The Canadian Press/Paul Daly)
Noé Chartier

Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre has pledged to obstruct House of Commons proceedings by tabling “thousands” of amendments to “ruin” the prime minister’s Christmas in retaliation for the Senate watering down a carbon tax exemption bill for farmers.

“You’ve ruined Christmas for Canadians. Common sense Conservatives are going to ruin your vacation as well,” Mr. Poilievre said while addressing his caucus Dec. 6.

The Tory leader said the amendments would be tabled at committee and in the House to force “all night, round-the-clock voting” to block the passing of the Liberals’ mini-budget.

Mr. Poilievre is protesting persistent deficit spending by the government and its “economically destructive plans.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during question period in the House of Commons on Dec. 6 that Mr. Poilievre has “threatened to ruin the holidays if his ideological demands are not met.”

He was responding to Mr. Poilievre claiming that the prime minister intervened to have Bill C-234 stopped in the Senate.

The Tory leader sharply criticized the decision by the Senate on Dec. 5 to amend Bill C-234, which seeks to remove the carbon tax from propane and natural gas used to heat or cool barns, and to dry grain.

The private member’s bill, tabled by Tory MP Ben Lobb, is at the last stage in the Senate before becoming law, but a 40-39 vote has amended the bill to keep only the grain drying exemption.

This could spell the end of the bill, which must return to the House where the Liberals control the legislative agenda. The bill had passed the House in March with support from the Bloc Québécois and the NDP.

Mr. Poilievre claims that the Liberals used “manipulation and intimidation” to “gut” the bill in the Senate.

The Liberals have repeated that the Senate is independent and that they have only appointed independent senators.

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said in mid-November he had been conversing with senators about the issue, but rejected that those efforts were “lobbying.”
Meanwhile, the Conservatives’ pressure to have the bill passed has resulted in pro-carbon tax senators raising an official complaint against intimidation in the Chamber. Senate Speaker Raymonde Gagné ruled on Dec. 5 that the privilege of senators had been breached when Conservative Sen. Don Plett confronted some of his colleagues Nov. 9 in relation to the bill.
Sen. Bernadette Clement also complained of receiving threats after Tory House Leader Andrew Scheer posted her parliamentary contact information on social media, asking supporters to contact the senators who oppose Bill C-234.

Conservatives under Mr. Poilievre have made repealing the carbon tax a central policy, saying it contributes to the cost-of-living crisis, and has challenged the Liberals to hold a “carbon tax election.”

“Over the Christmas period, whether through a walk in the snow, or while you’re sitting next to a warm fire, think about this reality: there will be a carbon tax election, I will win the carbon tax election, and whether you like it or not, I will axe the tax,” Mr. Poilievre said to the prime minister while speaking to his caucus.