Feds see red over Man­i­toba’s green plan

Winnipeg Free Press - - FRONT PAGE - DY­LAN ROBERT­SON AND LARRY KUSCH

HE fed­eral Lib­er­als are brac­ing for a bat­tle with Man­i­toba over its re­cently re­leased green plan, which will fall be­hind Ottawa’s tar­gets in 2020.

“Man­i­toba’s ap­proach is good for the first two years,” fed­eral En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Cather­ine McKenna told re­porters Mon­day. “Af­ter that, they will have to go up.”

Last Fri­day, Premier Brian Pal­lis­ter said his gov­ern­ment would im­pose a flat $25 tax per tonne of car­bon start­ing next year and not chang­ing through to 2022.

That di­verges from the fed­eral plan, which calls for a car­bon price of at least $10 per tonne in 2018, and ris­ing

Tby $10 each year to reach $50 per tonne in 2022. The prov­ince has asked the feds to hold off on en­forc­ing those an­nual levies un­til a 2022 re­view. Pal­lis­ter pre­dicts his Cli­mate and Green Plan will re­duce green­house gases more than the fed­eral tar­gets.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment says it will en­force those tar­gets on prov­inces that go rogue, pre­sum­ing the fed­eral Lib­er­als are re-elected in 2019. With a pro­vin­cial vote in 2020, that would mean newly re-elected Lib­er­als wag­ing a war on Man­i­toba’s Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives in the run up to a pro­vin­cial vote.

On Fri­day, pro­vin­cial Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Rochelle Squires will dis­cuss the plan with McKenna at a Van­cou­ver meet­ing of en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ters. She said Man­i­toba is fo­cused on achiev­ing “mean­ing­ful re­duc­tions in car­bon emis­sions,” not rais­ing taxes.

“We be­lieve that Man­i­to­bans will de­cide what Man­i­toba will do,” she said when asked about the prospect of Ottawa dic­tat­ing fu­ture terms of a car­bon-pric­ing plan.

Squires de­flected a ques­tion on whether she is con­cerned Man­i­toba tax­pay­ers might face the worst of both worlds — pay a higher up­front tax now and still have to cough up $50 a tonne within five years.

“We’re fo­cused on re­duc­ing car­bon emis­sions and mov­ing to­wards that low-car­bon econ­omy. And if Ottawa is fix­ated on taxes, that’s their agenda,” she re­sponded.

ELLING some­one to jump in the lake isn’t al­ways com­pli­men­tary, but it was for fa­ther and daugh­ter Shaun and Jaida Thomp­son.

To cel­e­brate Canada’s 150th birth­day, the Pi­nawa res­i­dents set out on a mis­sion to jump into a lake for 150 con­sec­u­tive days, start­ing May 23.

They jumped off docks, they jumped off cliffs, they jumped off boats. They jumped off a half-dozen dif­fer­ent pub­lic docks along the Win­nipeg River and also into Whiteshell lakes such as Ot­ter Falls and Nu­timik, as well as Syl­van Lake in Al­berta when they vis­ited fam­ily there.

They jumped in 2 C tem­per­a­tures, they jumped in gale-force winds and chest-high white­caps, they jumped at

TProvin­cial Op­po­si­tion Leader Wab Kinew said he re­mains con­cerned the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment has not re­vealed its plans for how rev­enues from a car­bon tax would be spent. The prov­ince should en­sure rev­enues go to ad­dress cli­mate change while lend­ing a hand to low-in­come Man­i­to­bans who would find it chal­leng­ing to pay the in­creased tax, he said.

The NDP leader re­it­er­ated con­cerns that, un­der Pal­lis­ter’s watch, Man­i­to­bans will be fac­ing years of high hy­dro­elec­tric rate in­creases that will pro­vide no in­cen­tives for them to make en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able choices.

It’s a prospect Con­ser­va­tive en­vi­ron­ment critic Ed Fast laments.

“The prov­ince of Man­i­toba has been forced to im­pose a car­bon tax be­cause of the heavy-handed ap­proach of (Prime Min­is­ter) Justin Trudeau,” said the Van­cou­ver-area MP. “You can’t tax your way to a clean en­vi­ron­ment.”

Fast would not com­ment about the Man­i­toba plan, but said the Tories would can­cel Ottawa’s levy if elected. The Con­ser­va­tives have pro­posed match­ing Canada’s tar­gets to those fol­lowed by ma­jor emit­ters such as China and the United States and in­vest­ing in cli­mate-change adap­ta­tion for the North.

Elm­wood-Transcona MP Daniel Blaikie said the NDP isn’t im­pressed mid­night af­ter a day away in Win­nipeg and they jumped at 5 a.m. be­cause they were catch­ing a plane that day.

“We would get home late and re­al­ize we hadn’t done our jumps yet and we would have to go,” said Shaun. “It be­came kind of ob­ses­sive.”

They didn’t miss a sin­gle day, but on oc­ca­sion, the 43-year-old dad begged his daugh­ter — age 11 when they be­gan and 12 when they fin­ished — to call off the mis­sion.

“My dad would be like a baby,” said Jaida.

Said Shaun: “At the end, I was like, ‘I can’t do this any­more.’ My daugh­ter was like,’You’re be­ing a chicken.’”

They did can­non­balls, cart­wheels, dove head first and even did back­flips to change it up.

Shaun, a graphic artist, pho­tographed

by the fed­eral Lib­er­als chas­ing a tar­get sim­i­lar to the gov­ern­ment of Stephen Harper and noted the green plan is lack­ing con­crete tar­gets.

“In the Man­i­toba con­text, it’s shap­ing up to be a bit of a fake de­bate. You’ve got two gov­ern­ments, nei­ther of which have a real plan,” Blaikie said, not­ing both plans are pos­tur­ing if they don’t steer the levy rev­enues to di­rectly cut down on car­bon emis­sions.

“We’re not go­ing to re­duce green­houses gas emis­sions through in­er­tia.”

Pal­lis­ter’s plan came only af­ter an ex­pert le­gal opinion said Ottawa was within its rights to im­pose a car­bon tax on prov­inces that didn’t do it them­selves. Saskatchewan’s out­go­ing premier is still hold­ing out on a car­bon tax, and some At­lantic prov­inces haven’t spec­i­fied how they in­tend to meet that tar­get.

Ear­lier this month, the en­vi­ron­ment com­mis­sioner said Canada is on track to once again miss an in­ter­na­tional emis­sions tar­get by a long shot for the fifth time since 1992. An au­dit found most fed­eral de­part­ments also don’t have plans in place to deal with how cli­mate change would af­fect fed­er­ally owned bridges, roads and air­ports.

The com­mis­sioner will start mea­sur­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness of the fed­eral car­bon levy once it comes into ef­fect. all their jumps and video­taped some.

There were two rules: you had to jump in and get your head wet and you had to jump in twice each time.

“Any­one can jump in once, but to do it twice” means you’re com­mit­ted — or should be com­mit­ted, Shaun said. Both said those sec­ond jumps were al­ways the coldest — and they came to dread them.

But some days in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber it al­most felt warm when they got out of the wa­ter be­cause it was warmer than the air. “You’d get out and you wouldn’t even be cold,” said Shaun.

Oc­to­ber proved to be the tough­est month. A few peo­ple had be­gun to gather for their jumps. Most days tem­per­a­tures were in the sin­gle dig­its when they jumped be­cause they couldn’t do them un­til dusk, af­ter Jaida re­turned from school and Shaun fin­ished work.

Jaida said she some­times had trou­ble breath­ing when she hit the cold wa­ter. Shaun said it would make his head hurt.

It didn’t get eas­ier with their fi­nal day, Oct. 19, in sight. “Those last few days were su­per-cold. It felt like every day the wa­ter was a de­gree colder,” said Shaun.

Jaida took to wear­ing her parka over her bathing suit. They live two blocks from the wa­ter and would of­ten bi­cy­cle there.

“On the sec­ond- or third-last day, we had hur­ri­cane-like winds. That day was in­sane. It was al­most scary. But my daugh­ter was like: ‘You’re a chicken. I can’t be­lieve you’re go­ing to back out.’”

When they reached their fi­nal jump, the tem­per­a­ture was a balmy 12 C, but there was a cold wind gust­ing to 50 km/h. A small crowd gath­ered and cheered them on. There was ap­plause.

Jaida said it felt good to meet their goal and she’s just glad they fin­ished be­fore the Al­berta clip­per blan­keted Man­i­toba in slush and snow on Thurs­day. Be­cause they would have had to jump.

Ac­cord­ing to Shaun, there are few things as quintessen­tially Cana­dian as jump­ing into frigid lakes.

The fam­ily moved to Pi­nawa from Win­nipeg in 2003 to be closer to na­ture.

“We love the out­doors. We do lots of camp­ing and hik­ing and kayak­ing,” he said. “In sum­mer, (we) will just get in a kayak and go an pick an is­land and camp there, just to kind of un­wind from the world.”

PHIL HOSSACK / WIN­NIPEG FREE PRESS

Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Rochelle Squires: ‘mean­ing­ful re­duc­tions’

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTOS

Shaun Thomp­son and his daugh­ter Jaida jumped into a lake for 150 con­sec­u­tive days to cel­e­brate Canada’s 150th birth­day. They started May 23 and com­pleted their mis­sion Oct. 19. They jumped off docks, cliffs and boats.

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