Pre­miers aligned against car­bon pol­icy

On­tario sup­ports Saskatchewan in case against feds

National Post (Latest Edition) - - CANADA - Keith Doucette

ST. AN­DREWS, N.B. • On­tario Premier Doug Ford joined forces with his Saskatchewan coun­ter­part Thurs­day, say­ing his prov­ince will in­ter­vene in the western prov­ince’s court case against Ottawa’s car­bon pric­ing pol­icy.

Ford and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe both voiced their op­po­si­tion to the con­tentious fed­eral plan, prior to the start of two days of for­mal talks be­tween Canada’s pre­miers at the Coun­cil of the Fed­er­a­tion meet­ing in St. An­drews, N.B.

“I’m here to gather sup­port among my pro­vin­cial coun­ter­parts against the fed­eral car­bon tax,” Ford said Thurs­day out­side the his­toric Al­go­nquin Resort.

“On­tario will sup­port Saskatchewan in in­ter­ven­ing in the ref­er­ence case they have launched with the (Saskatchewan) Court of Ap­peal.”

Ford, who made the an­nounce­ment after a bi­lat­eral meet­ing with Moe late Wed­nes­day, said both prov­inces are on “the ex­act same page” and On­tario will use ev­ery tool at its dis­posal to chal­lenge a tax he says is bad for fam­i­lies and busi­nesses.

Keith Stewart, a strate­gist with Green­peace Canada, is­sued a state­ment soon after con­demn­ing the po­si­tions.

“Ex­treme weather fu­elled by global warm­ing is al­ready hurt­ing fam­i­lies and busi­nesses right across the coun­try and will get a lot worse if our elected of­fi­cials ig­nore the threat,” he said in an email. “At­tack­ing car­bon pric­ing with­out an al­ter­na­tive plan to ad­dress climate change is noth­ing less than an un­pro­voked at­tack on our kids’ fu­ture.”

Ford’s newly elected gov­ern­ment is scrap­ping the prov­ince’s cap-and-trade pro­gram. A fed­er­ally im­posed car­bon price would start at $20 per tonne and in­crease to a level of $50 a tonne by 2022.

Moe said a one-size-fit­sall car­bon tax fails to rec­og­nize the di­verse na­ture of the Cana­dian econ­omy.

“This made-in-Ottawa car­bon tax plan finds our na­tion now in this po­si­tion,” Moe said. “We have two prov­inces in com­pli­ance, we have two prov­inces in court and we have the rest of the coun­try not meet­ing the fed­eral car­bon tax back­stop. To­day we’re grate­ful that the peo­ple of On­tario ... will join us ev­ery step of the way.”

Fed­eral En­vi­ron­ment and Climate Change Min­is­ter Cather­ine McKenna said Ford’s gov­ern­ment shouldn’t be us­ing tax dol­lars on a costly court chal­lenge.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing On­tario is spend­ing $30 mil­lion of tax­payer money on fight­ing climate lead­er­ship,” McKenna said Thurs­day. “Our gov­ern­ment has a plan to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment and grow the econ­omy and it’s work­ing.”

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gal­lant was asked whether Ford and Moe’s dec­la­ra­tion would prove a dis­trac­tion to talks about freer in­ter­na­tional and in­ter­nal trade. “It’s never go­ing to be a dis­trac­tion to dis­cuss this very im­por­tant and also very com­plex sub­ject,” said Gal­lant.

Nova Sco­tia’s Stephen McNeil was asked about the lack of con­sen­sus among many of the prov­inces about how to deal with car­bon pric­ing.

“We are look­ing for­ward to im­ple­ment­ing our own in­ter­nal cap and trade sys­tem, which will con­tinue to re­duce green­house gases while at the same time pro­tect­ing the pock­et­books of Nova Sco­tians,” he said.

WE HAVE TWO PROV­INCES IN COM­PLI­ANCE ... TWO (ARE) IN COURT.

AN­DREW VAUGHAN / THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

On­tario Premier Doug Ford, left, and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe in St. An­drews, N.B., on Thurs­day.

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