Singh defends NDP carbon price position — without directly supporting a consumer levy

OTTAWA — The federal leader of the New Democrats is insisting his party's position on carbon pricing remains unchanged.

But Jagmeet Singh is refusing to say explicitly whether he supports Canadians having to pay it on consumer items like gasoline.

Singh met with reporters today for the first time since a speech last week created confusion about the NDP position on the federal consumer levy on fuel.

In it, Singh sang the praises of "affordable, low-carbon options" and vowed to "not punish people" who can't change how they heat their homes or get to work.

He later said he was trying to emphasize initiatives with the most impact, such as methane regulations or a carbon price on industrial emitters.

Singh added that he doesn't want working Canadians to feel like they're shouldering the burden.

The apparent shift in tone even seemed to flummox Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who last week admitted he doesn't understand the NDP's position.

Trudeau noted that Singh is facing "political pressure" from conservative premiers and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, who want to scrap the policy.

The NDP later released a statement insisting it supports the "consumer carbon price."

But when asked today to clarify, Singh would only say the the party's voting record makes clear that it supports "a price on pollution."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2024.

The Canadian Press