Ford’s man­date clear to end car­bon pric­ing

The Delhi News-Record - - OPINION - — Post­media News

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.

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