Citing competitiveness pressures, feds ease carbon tax thresholds

James Marshall
August 5, 2018

"It is our position that the federal government has no constitutional authority to second guess provincial decisions with respect to matters within provincial jurisdiction, yet that is exactly what the federal government is attempting to do by imposing a carbon tax only in certain provinces, like Saskatchewan, based on their evaluation of provincial climate change and carbon pricing policies", said Moe in a statement, adding the province will "strongly consider" intervening in Ontario's legal challenge.

Stewart Elgie, director of the Environment Institute at the University of Ottawa, said the government is making a smart change because it reflects the reality that very few industries will be able to cut emissions more than 10 to 20 per cent over the next five years.

But those reductions weren't enough to sway opponents.

Phillips vowed the province will do everything in its power to fight a federal carbon tax, which he said Ontarians voted "overwhelmingly" to reject.

John Moffet, the associate assistant deputy minister at Environment and Climate Change Canada, said Thursday those changes may not be the last, and that economic pressures facing companies from things like USA tariffs are among the factors being looked at.

"The federal government would do well to go back to the Vancouver declaration where all first ministers signed on behalf of their provinces and territories to work collaboratively with different provincial plans to achieve our Paris commitments, not this made in Ottawa climate tax", he said.

According to Premier Moe, the government has launched their appeal in opposition of the carbon tax. "The economy in Saskatchewan is different than the manufacturing economy in Ontario, and is different than economies of Atlantic Canada", Moe said. Mr. Ford has said that ending cap-and-trade will reduce electrical bills and gasoline prices.

Speaking at Queen's Park, Mr. Phillips said that a carbon tax was only a "cash grab".

The draft regulations finalizing the industrial component of Canada's carbon pricing scheme are also expected this fall, with the final regulations not expected until the summer of 2019.

But Scott Moe still wants Ottawa to cancel the tax entirely.

The government is set to take the position that a federal carbon tax would be unconstitutional. He says taxing 10 or 20 per cent of carbon emissions will likely lower emissions at the same rate while lowering the costs for businesses. Companies that stand to benefit, such as producers of steel, fertilizer, and cement, had no comment.

"It seems to be politics driving the policy rather than economics or the environmental outcome", Mr. McMillan said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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