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A majority of Canadians want Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s signature carbon tax to be scrapped or waived for the next three years to make the levy consistent across the country, an opinion poll released on Thursday showed.

Last month, Trudeau announced a three-year carbon tax exemption for home heating oil and higher carbon tax rebates mostly for Atlantic Canada amid soaring costs of living.

But the limited carve out of one of the Liberal government’s most important climate policies has sparked demands from premiers of other provinces for similar concessions.

The latest opinion poll from Angus Reid Institute “reveals a profound lack of awareness, and misconceptions” about how much tax Canadians pay, the institute said. The poll showed 42 per cent of Canadians want the carbon tax to be scrapped and a further 17 per cent would like it to be cut temporarily for the next three years, while one-quarter want a freeze in any subsequent increases.

Only 15 per cent said the tax should continue as planned with the scheduled price increase next April.

The carbon tax is intended to discourage use of fossil fuels and accelerate a switch to clean energy.

But the ongoing cost of living crisis has contributed to an 11-point drop in support for carbon pricing compared to 2021 levels, the poll showed.

Despite the opposition to the tax, some 54 per cent of respondents said Canada should continue to commit to reaching its 2030 emission reduction targets.

Canada’s opposition Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre has long wanted to axe the tax, arguing it is an unfair cost for consumers. Poilievre would clobber Trudeau if an election were held today, polls show. However, a vote is not due until 2025.

In September, Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem said the carbon tax contributed about 0.15 percentage points to the inflation rate, which was 3.8 per cent that month. If the current price of C$65 a ton were eliminated, it would lower inflation by 0.6 percentage points for one year.

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