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Parliamentary budget officer says government not muzzling him over carbon price data

OTTAWA — Parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux says he is not being “muzzled” by the federal Liberals over economic data related to the impact of carbon pricing.

Giroux is correcting the record after he says he left the wrong impression at a committee meeting two weeks ago.

On June 3, Giroux was asked about his carbon pricing analysis at the House of Commons finance committee, after he had acknowledged earlier this spring that his original analysis was flawed.

During that meeting, he agreed with Conservative MP Marty Morantz that the Liberals were preventing him from talking about government data.

But at a separate committee meeting Monday, when Liberal MP Charles Sousa asked Giroux to confirm that claim, he said it was a mistake.

He says he was told not to disclose the actual data Environment and Climate Change Canada gave him to prepare his analysis, but he was not being muzzled from including the data in his analysis.

The documents include a number of spreadsheets on GDP and emissions data based on economic and climate models of the impact of carbon pricing.

The government had previously refused to make the data public, saying it was only telling part of the story without factoring in the positive economic impacts of climate investments and the carbon rebates or the negative economic impacts of climate change itself.

However, the spreadsheets were released last Thursday just as the Conservatives tabled a motion demanding their release.

The data showed that with carbon pricing, Canada’s emissions will be 12 per cent lower in 2030 than without it, a difference that amounts to about 78 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

On the economic side, carbon pricing will reduce the national GDP by 0.9 per cent of $25 billion.

The Conservatives say the Liberals refused to release the data because it confirms that carbon pricing has a negative economic impact.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 18, 2024.

The Canadian Press