Ford’s mandate clear to end carbon pricing
Whatever one’s view of Ontario Premier Doug Ford legislatively killing cap-and-trade last week, no one can claim he didn’t have a mandate to do it.
Ford campaigned on ending former premier Kathleen Wynne’s carbon pricing scheme in the June provincial election that brought him to power.
By contrast, Wynne said nothing about imposing carbon pricing on Ontarians in the 2014 election that brought her Liberal government to power.
After that election, she said she had no plans to introduce a carbon tax. Instead, she introduced cap-and-trade. While not technically a carbon tax, cap-and-trade impacts the public in the same way.
In Wynne’s case, it was raising $2 billion annually in new revenue for her government, paid for by consumers in higher retail prices for most goods and services.
Ford also ran on challenging in court the carbon tax Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will now impose on Ontario, following Ford’s scrapping of cap-and-trade.
Trudeau says he has a mandate to do so because he won the 2015 federal election campaigning on creating a national carbon price.
That’s true, but disingenuous, since Trudeau didn’t specify what form it would take or what it would cost Canadians.
Now, he says it will be a carbon tax and rebate scheme, and most Ontarians will be better off financially because the rebates will be larger than the taxes.
Of course, Trudeau also said during the 2015 federal election Canada would have three years of “modest deficits” under his Liberal government with a $1-billion surplus in year four. Right.
Ontario Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks Rod Phillips says the Ford government will likely release its plan to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions next month.
But it’s a given it won’t meet Trudeau’s condition of setting a carbon price of $20 per tonne of emissions starting in 2019, rising to $50 in 2022.
What the PM does or doesn’t do regarding carbon pricing over the long term will depend on the results of next year’s federal election.
But what Ford is doing now is what he said he would do in the June Ontario election.
Unlike what Wynne did and Trudeau intends to do on carbon pricing, Ford’s mandate to end it in Ontario is clear.