The Ford government’s anti-carbon-tax stickers are getting the parody treatment.
The Green Party of Ontario is unveiling its own version of the sticker Thursday, with a similar graphic design, lettering and colour scheme, but a completely different message about climate change.
“Climate change will cost us more,” declares the Green Party’s sticker. The version Premier Doug Ford revealed last month declares, “The federal carbon tax will cost you.”
Gas station companies that fail to post the government’s sticker on the pumps could face fines of up to $10,000 a day, under new legislation the Progressive Conservatives call the Federal Carbon Tax Transparency Act.
Green Leader Mike Schreiner said his stickers will be offered free to gas stations who want to display them alongside what he calls “the propaganda stickers being forced on them by Ford.”
Schreiner said in an interview Wednesday that he and his staff wanted to inform people “about the real costs of the premier’s campaign to sabotage climate solutions. So we thought, ‘Why not just produce a sticker that tells the other side of the story?'”
The Green Party sticker lists bullet points on the potential effects of climate change “if we don’t act now,” including worsening extreme weather events and an annual cost of $91 billion by 2050.
The Ford government defends its stickers as necessary to publicize the costs of the federal carbon pricing plan, imposed on the province April 1 after the newly elected PCs cancelled Ontario’s cap-and-trade program.
The sticker shows the carbon tax adding 4.4 cents per litre to the price of gas now, rising to 11 cents per litre in 2022. The federal government is giving Ontario taxpayers a rebate called the “climate action incentive” that amounts to $307 for a family of four on their 2018 income tax return.
Last week, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce urged the Ford government to back off on its stickers, calling their imposition an example of unnecessary red tape on business with fines that are too large.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says it intends to challenge the constitutionality of the law, claiming that it violates freedom of speech by compelling gas station owners to post a political message.
The NDP has asked Canada’s chief electoral officer to investigate whether the stickers should be considered campaign advertising as the October election approaches.