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‘Axe the Tax’ convoy hits B.C.’s roads, drivers could face disruptions

A national anti-carbon price protest is expected to slow traffic along several major highways on Monday, including three major highways in B.C.

About 300 people gathered in Hope on Monday morning with the potential for traffic disruptions along highways 1, 3 and 5.

Protests around the “Axe the Tax” campaign are scheduled across the country, including at the B.C. and Alberta border in Sparwood and Lucerne.

The Nationwide Protest Against Carbon Tax group says it is seeking the complete removal of the levy and that protests remain peaceful.

Jeff Galbraith, a People’s Party of Canada candidate for Mission-Matsqui-Abbotsford, attended the protest in Hope on Monday morning.

“I think we got a lot of frustrated, disillusioned, disheartened, disenfranchised Canadians. A majority of Canadians … they feel they have no voice anymore.

B.C. drivers can expect to pay an extra three cents per litre when getting gas, starting Monday.

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The carbon price is meant to deter consumers and businesses from using greenhouse gas-emitting fuel sources to reduce emissions.

The B.C. government offers tax credits to help people manage the costs but those tax credits are means-tested and about 35 per cent of British Columbians do not qualify.

“We have to put the governments on notice that citizens of Canada can’t keep doing this,” Galbraith said.

The B.C. government has provided a website where residents can check their eligibility.

B.C.’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, George Heyman, said “100 per cent of the carbon tax increase on April 1st is going back to the Climate Action Tax Credits to supporting low and middle-income British Columbians.”

However, the opposition said the increase will have a cascading effect.

“Every time they increase the carbon tax, they’re increasing the cost of transportation, which is how we get all our goods that show up at our grocery stores that increases the pressure on grocery prices, which are already the highest in the country,” opposition leader Kevin Falcon said.

Starting April 1, a few more things in B.C. are going to cost residents more.

Hydro rates are increasing just over two per cent.

Ferry fares are increasing by 3.2 per cent.

The excise tax on alcohol is going up two per cent.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal carbon price will put more money in Canadian’s pockets while fighting climate change.

“That’s what we’re doing,” he said. “We committed to…the Canada Carbon Rebate from 10 to 20 per cent but that’s being blocked by Conservatives who are preventing money from getting in the pockets of Canadians right across the country who need that money with the cost of living, the cost of groceries going up right across the board.”

Poilievre is set to hold a press conference in Nanaimo at 1 p.m. on Monday.

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