California governor assails PC plan to ditch system
The governor of California waded into an Ontario election issue Monday, saying a Progressive Conservative plan to scrap the province’s capand-trade system would be foolish.
Gov. Jerry Brown was asked about the controversial Tory proposal after meeting with Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne to discuss next steps to fight climate change.
Ontario recently linked with California and Quebec to hold joint cap-and-trade auctions after running its own system for a year.
The Tories initially promised to replace cap and trade with a carbon tax, since federal rules require provinces to adopt one of the two systems.
But the party’s new leader, Doug Ford, has vowed to eliminate carbon pricing altogether and suggested he would fight Ottawa in court if necessary.
With the province headed to the polls in June, both Wynne and Brown raised the alarm Monday about what they called a step backwards in tackling global warming.
Rolling back carbon pricing only delays progress and increases costs down the line, Brown said when asked about the Tory plan.
He referenced U.S. President Donald Trump, whose administration has clashed with California on car emission standards and other measures on air pollution. “Trump is already pilot testing this kind of manoeuvre and so far it’s more litigation than action,” he said. “The scientists are clear (on climate change), the world is clear through the Paris agreement ... . ”
Brown added that carbon pricing is an area where some politicians “can make a lot of noise” and urged voters to scrutinize campaign promises.
“Sometimes they ’ll win a few votes, but there’s also a lot of buyer’s remorse here,” he said. “Certainly you can see that in the United States now.”
Wynne said the province has come far in reducing its carbon footprint and has seen economic growth as a result. “It’s very important that we stay on track but right now we’re in a situation where we have an opponent in Doug Ford and the Conservatives who basically want to take us out of the game,” she said.
The Tories, meanwhile, renewed their commitment to eliminating cap and trade, calling it an expensive tax “that makes life harder for Ontario families and our economy more uncompetitive.”
“We will put money back into the pockets of Ontario taxpayers and stand up for our job-creators,” they said in a statement.