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Conservative motion calls for PM, premiers to have 'emergency' carbon price meeting

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OTTAWA -

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is challenging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to defend his carbon pricing policy in a televised "emergency meeting" with the country's premiers.

The Conservatives introduced a motion Tuesday demanding that Trudeau sit down with provincial and territorial leaders within five weeks.

MPs are expected to vote on the motion Wednesday.

Poilievre said he believes Trudeau is "too scared" to hold the televised meeting because he knows the Liberal government is losing the carbon pricing debate.

"Trudeau is in hiding," Poilievre said Tuesday.

"There's going to be a carbon tax election, and whether Trudeau hides from me or not, he's going to have to face me in a carbon tax election."

The Conservatives insist the carbon price is making life less affordable for Canadians, while the Liberals say their rebate scheme means most Canadians actually end up with more money at the end of the day.

Liberal MP Adam van Koeverden responded to Poilievre's motion in the House of Commons by calling him a "petrol puppet" who is campaigning for Alberta Premier Danielle Smith and oil and gas companies.

The Bloc Quebecois expressed exasperation with another day spent in the "Conservative tax bubble," accusing the Opposition of spreading "kooky" falsehoods about the policy.

Smith is among several premiers -- including counterparts in Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador -- who want a face-to-face meeting with Trudeau to discuss the policy.

Trudeau has so far rejected their overtures, saying he believes the premiers would rather "make political hay" out of the controversy than present viable alternatives.

It's hard to have a conversation with premiers who have no plan to address climate change, Energy Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said Tuesday.

The New Democrats, meanwhile, are accusing the Liberals of treating carbon pricing as the "be-all and end-all" of climate policy.

"While the leader of the Opposition wants to ignore the climate crisis, the prime minister wants to use it to divide Canadians," NDP MP Laurel Collins said.

"He doesn't see fighting the climate crisis as an opportunity to unite people, to take on this existential crisis. Instead he uses it as a political wedge."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 9, 2024.

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