Right after his election as leader of the Provincial Party, Doug Ford told Ontario voters that, if elected, the Tories will get rid of the cap and trade program aimed at reducing carbon emissions. And he would will not allow a carbon tax in its place.
Ford can advance two reasons for his determination to proceed with his objective. He could mimic Donald Trump and dismiss the risks of climate change as not proved. Or he could claim that over the long term the amount of fossil fuels consumed in Ontario should be determined by supply and demand. In the meantime, the market will take care of itself. Controls by “big government” are to be avoided.
What ever his rationale, such actions would lead to a Federal Provincial donnybrook. Federal policy is clear: if a Province does not put a price upon carbon, the Federal Government will impose a carbon tax on fossil fuels consumed in the Province, and return the monies raised by the tax to residents in that Province.
A price on carbon is necessary for Canada to live up to its undertakings in the Paris Accord. So the Federal Government adopted this policy (tax and return) when certain Western Provinces opposed Federal efforts to establish a Canada-wide price on carbon. This policy ensures that all Provinces share in the responsibility assumed in the Paris Accord.
There is a successful precedent for the approach of the Federal Government. British Columbia taxpayers supported a similar policy approximately 10 years ago. Contrary to the black future then predicted by opposition politicians, the BC economy was not seriously affected: Its economy grew faster than its neighbour’s while GHG emissions declined over the same period.
So Ford will campaign against a carbon tax collected by the Federal Government and re-cycled to Ontario voters. Ford clearly does not appreciate the risks of climate change, and how they could be minimized.
We trust that Ontario voters are better aware of these risks. If so, they will reject the Conservative Party, its leader, and its policy on climate change!