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Conservatives drop support for carbon pricing


The Conservative party is jettisoning an election promise to put a price on carbon, with its interim leader telling MPs the issue must be dealt with in their upcoming leadership race.

Multiple sources told the Star that Candice Bergen informed her caucus of the approach at a meeting on Wednesday morning.

The meeting came exactly a week after the Conservative MPs voted to remove Erin O’Toole as party leader, a move many of them explicitly linked to his embrace of carbon pricing almost a year ago.

That decision had marked a major shift in party policy — the Conservatives have long opposed carbon levies and O’Toole had run for the party’s leadership opposing them as well.

But in a bid to put forward a climate change plan that would be seen as credible, he pivoted and promised that an elected Conservative government would introduce a consumer price on carbon.

That announcement in the spring of 2021 came as a surprise to his caucus, and just a month after the party’s grassroots rejected inserting a statement that “climate change is real” in their official policy book.

It is that book which must form the basis of the party’s policies over the coming months, Bergen told the MPs on Wednesday.

So far, Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre is the only person to formally declared their intention to seek leadership of the party.

Poilievre has been staunchly opposed to carbon pricing, and called for a freeze on a planned increase to the federal levy late last year.