It's the battle of the stickers.
Gas stations now have the option to display a "Climate change will cost us more" decal on pumps, a design released Thursday by Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner. It's a play on Premier Doug Ford's soon-to-be mandatory sticker warning about the perceived cost of the federal carbon tax.
"It's outrageous that the premier is forcing businesses to be complicit in his anti-climate misinformation campaign. We're inviting gas stations to make use of the stickers if they want to inform the public about the full costs of the climate emergency," said Schreiner in a statement.
The Green Party stickers will be available to any gas operator for free. However, Ford's legislation threatens gas corporations with a maximum $10,000 fine a day if the provincial stickers aren't displayed on pumps.
Slamming the federal carbon tax has been a rallying cry for Ontario Progressive Conservatives.
"The Prime Minister says the carbon tax will be good for us," Ford said at a news conference last month. "But then I sit back and say really? Why should anybody believe what he says anymore."
On the sticker, the provincial government says the carbon tax is pushing up gas prices, but doesn't mention the federal carbon tax rebate.
The carbon tax is expected to cost a typical household $258 in increased living costs this year, and residents get a rebate of $307 for a family of four, according to the federal government.
Watch: How to claim carbon tax credits. Story continues below.
Schreiner said the Green Party stickers display "the latest research on climate costs for Canada," as high as $91 billion a year by 2050 and temperatures rising 6.3 C by 2100.
"The extreme flooding across the country should compel us to have an urgent discussion about reducing pollution and preparing our communities," Schreiner said.
"Yet the Premier wastes millions of taxpayer money to sabotage solutions. And he is cutting funding for programs that protect us from extreme weather by axing tree planting and cutting flood preparation programs."
Schreiner is not the only critic.
Earlier this week, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association lawyers Steven Sofer and Sandra Barton wrote in a letter to the province that the mandatory sticker legislations constitutes "compelled political speech," and is a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
If the legislation is passed, the association will challenge the province in court, the letter said.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has also requested the province to remove the proposed sticker legislation from the Federal Carbon Tax Transparency Act.
"Our members – including gas station operators – have expressed concerns regarding the political nature of the stickers, viewing them as a violation of their rights and freedoms," Rocco Rossi, chamber president, said in a letter to the province. "In addition, this initiative is an example of unnecessary red tape: it is both a new administrative burden and an increased cost to business thanks to the punitive and out-sized fines for non-compliance."
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