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- by Sarah Buchanan, Envoronmental Defence

Premier Ford is forcing gas station owners in Ontario to put up misleading anti-carbon tax stickers by August 30th. These stickers deliberately hide the truth by leaving out any mention of carbon tax rebates, and by failing to mention the devastating impacts of the climate crisis we are facing.

You have the right to speak up, but most people aren’t aware they have the option to comment because it is buried in Ontario’s Regulatory Registry. You can have your say until July 9 by going here and selecting comment via email at the bottom.

We are not alone – business owners aren’t happy about this either. In fact, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce spoke out against the stickers, saying that forcing gas station operators to display “political” stickers violates their rights and fre edoms. And Ontarians aren’t buying it either. A recent poll showed a majority of people do not approve of the $10,000-a-day fines gas station owners could face for not posting the stickers by August 30th.

The Globe and Mail’s editorial board went further, calling the stickers “propagandistic half-truths that mimic Ontario PC rhetoric by conveniently telling only part of the story.” Why? The stickers mention the federal carbon tax will add 4.4 cents a litre this year to gasoline bills, but fail to mention that this revenue will be returned to taxpayers as rebates. They also point out that “a government cannot force a business to become a medium for the transmission of a message that is self-evidently partisan.” This is known as ‘compelled speech,” and violates your freedom of expression.

The urgency of addressing climate change is no longer under debate. We need a government who will take leadership on solving the climate crisis. We don’t need a government wasting taxpayers’ money on misleading sticker campaigns, long drawn-out court cases, or million-dollar ad campaigns aiming to discredit the climate solutions we desperately need.

If you agree, please make your voice heard here by July 9 and remember to select comment via email at the bottom.

Here are some points you can include in your comments. But make sure to make it your own!

    • The stickers are deliberately misleading because they don’t mention carbon tax rebates available to Ontarians, which more than offset the costs to the vast majority of households. The federal government estimates the average rebate for households to be $300 in Ontario, while the average cost is estimated at $256.
    • Taxpayers are paying the cost of printing 25,000 decals, distributing them to the province’s 3,200 gas stations, enforcing their use, and defending the government against any legal challenges arising from sticker enforcement (on top of the millions of dollars taxpayers have already paid to support Ontario’s legal challenge and misleading ad campaign.)
    • Putting a price on carbon pollution is a fair and cost-effective way to reduce the carbon pollution causing the climate crisis, and one of many tools needed to slow climate change.
    • Failing to take action to address the climate crisis will cause a devastating loss of human life, and will cost people and businesses much more than 4.4 cents per litre.

 

 

 

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