Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accidentally said the T-word.
In question period Wednesday, Trudeau diverged briefly from his preferred lingo when discussing his government’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — “carbon pricing” — and instead called it a tax.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the House of Commons on Oct. 5, 2016. (Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
Conservatives, who prefer the term “tax” and are already warning the plan will make just about everything more expensive, erupted in applause.
The slip happened moments after deputy Tory leader Denis Lebel accused Trudeau of “trying to sugarcoat the reality” by calling the plan carbon pricing.
“Canadians aren’t fooled. That’s a new tax,” Lebel said. “This is bad news for Canadians.”
He called on the prime minister to guarantee Canadians that the price of their groceries and gasoline won’t soon be going up.
PM drowned out by mock applause
The prime minister shot back that his government was showing the leadership that has been lacking for too long.
“We’re also guaranteeing that this this tax… this… pricing on carbon will be…”
Trudeau was drowned out by the mock applause of evidently delighted Tories.
Trudeau rose again to guarantee the “price on carbon” will be revenue-neutral for the federal government.
“It will be up to provinces to determine how they choose to reimburse their citizens for this progress on the environment and the economy,” he said.
'Accidentally told the truth'
Tory MP Pierre Poilievre then charged that Trudeau “accidentally told the truth that this is a tax.”
Poilievre, who represents an Ontario riding, said green energy decisions by provincial Liberals have forced poor families in the region to head to food banks with their hydro bills in their hands. A “federal carbon tax” will do the same, he warned.
“Why is prime minister forcing the poor to choose between heating their homes and feeding their families?” he asked.
Trudeau said that was all “a bit much” from a party that voted against lowering taxes for the middle class by raising them on Canada’s wealthiest. He also mocked Tories for thinking it’s better to send millionaires child benefit cheques rather than increase those cheques for lower income families.
“This government is focused on helping the middle class and those working so hard to join the middle class,” Trudeau said. “We will remain so despite the fear-mongering from the other side.”
And despite predictions of immediate and gloom, the policy Liberals unveiled this week doesn’t kick in until 2018.
That didn’t stop Tories from taking to Twitter with a video accusing the prime minister of a “Freudian slip.”
— Conservative Party (@CPC_HQ) October 5, 2016