Carbon tax spat taking shape
WINNIPEG — Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says he will introduce a carbon tax of $25 a ton next year and keep it at that rate in defiance of the federal government.
Pallister says his Progressive Conservative government is rejecting Ottawa’s demand that provinces implement a tax that would start at $10 a ton in 2018 and ramp up to $50 a ton by 2022. The federal Liberals have said that if a province refuses to do so, they will enact the tax itself and give the money back to the province.
“There’s some element here, of course, of intimidation. Ottawa has told us that they’re going to invoke a plan,” Pallister said Friday. “If we just say ‘no,’ we get (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau’s plan, so clearly we want Manitobans to back a made-in-Manitoba plan.
“If Manitobans are favourable to our plan, I think it will be difficult for Ottawa to invoke theirs on our province.”
Most other provinces have already agreed to follow Ottawa’s proposal. Saskatchewan is the only one threatening not to impose a tax at all.
Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said the proposal is “a big step forward” because Canadians know that pollution isn’t free. Paying for pollution will spur innovation and force markets to come up with cleaner solutions, she said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the details of Manitoba’s plan,” she said in a statement on her Facebook page. “But I also want to be very clear: we’ve laid out the price schedule we need to see, which reaches $50/tonne by 2022 – well beyond the $25/tonne carbon price Manitoba is proposing.”
Manitoba will be in good shape for the first few years of the carbon pricing plan, she said.
“After that, they’ll need to up their game. The details matter.”