On­tario cuts gas price af­ter end­ing cap and trade

Doug Ford prom­ises to save fam­i­lies $80

The Peterborough Examiner - - Canada & World - SHAWN JEFFORDS

MIL­TON, ONT. — Premier Doug Ford says his gov­ern­ment will re­move the cost of the now-re­pealed cap-and-trade sys­tem from nat­u­ral gas bills, but op­po­si­tion crit­ics say the Tory gov­ern­ment is not telling peo­ple the true im­pacts of can­celling the sys­tem de­signed to fight cli­mate change.

At an an­nounce­ment hosted by a Mil­ton, Ont., diner, Ford touted the change, say­ing it will save fam­i­lies $80 a year and small busi­nesses will save $285 an­nu­ally.

The gov­ern­ment has is­sued a di­rec­tive to the On­tario En­ergy Board that will see the price of nat­u­ral gas re­duced by 3.3 cents per cu­bic me­tre start­ing on Oct.

1.

“We’re go­ing to lower the cost of nat­u­ral gas for all On­tario fam­i­lies and busi­nesses,” he said. “That’s money that will stay in your pocket.”

The new­ly­elected Tory gov­ern­ment can­celled cap and trade last month and has launched a court chal­lenge of Ot­tawa’s abil­ity to im­pose a car­bon tax on the prov­ince.

Shortly af­ter win­ning the spring elec­tion, Ford said his gov­ern­ment would pro­vide clear rules for an “or­derly wind down” of cap and trade.

The premier has said that cut­ting the car­bon pric­ing sys­tem will help him lower gaso­line prices for ve­hi­cles by 10 cents per litre.

On­tario’s cap-and-trade sys­tem aimed to lower green­house gas emis­sions by putting caps on the amount of pol­lu­tion com­pa­nies. If they ex­ceed those lim­its they must buy al­lowances at quar­terly auc­tions or other com­pa­nies that come in un­der their lim­its.

The prov­ince has made close to $3 bil­lion in a se­ries of cap-and­trade auc­tions since the sys­tem was in­tro­duced by the Lib­er­als last year. Ford has con­sis­tently op­posed car­bon pric­ing and has come un­der fire for fail­ing to ex­plain how he would make up for the lost rev­enue.

While the pro­gram’s 272 par­tic­i­pants bought the al­lowances, On­tario’s en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter has said only those that pur­chased more than they used while the pro­gram was still ac­tive, and were not able to re­cover those costs from con­sumers, will be el­i­gi­ble for com­pen­sa­tion.

The gov­ern­ment ex­pects to spend up to $5 mil­lion to com­pen­sate com­pa­nies.

On­tario NDP en­vi­ron­ment and sus­tain­abil­ity critic Ian Arthur called the news a “re­an­nounce­ment” of can­celling cap and trade. The move will ac­tu­ally mean the Ford gov­ern­ment has to cut mil­lions in fund­ing in­tended to re­pair schools and build af­ford­able hous­ing, he added.

“It means fam­i­lies and busi­nesses will lose out on green en­ergy retrofits that would have brought real re­lief to monthly bills and put ac­tual dol­lars in their pock­ets,” he said in a state­ment.

The Green party said Ford is mis­lead­ing On­tar­i­ans by jump­ing to a “cut first, think later” ap­proach to govern­ing.

“The premier is un­der­es­ti­mat­ing the costs of abruptly scrap­ping pol­lu­tion pric­ing without an or­derly phase-out,” said Stacey Danck­ert, the party’s fi­nance critic.

Premier Doug Ford

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