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Guelph MPP says price Ontario is paying to fight carbon tax better spent elsewhere

Green Party of Ontario Leader and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner says the cost of the province's fight against the carbon tax could go towards better things, such as public transit, retrofitting homes and getting more people into electric cars.

Guelph MPP says cost to fight the carbon tax could go to public transit, retrofitting homes

Guelph MPP and Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner says he wants to see the provincial government stop its legal battle against the federal carbon tax. The money being used for the legal fight could be used for better things to help people of Ontario reduce their carbon footprint, he says. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

As the Ontario government vows to continue its fight against the federal carbon tax, Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner says the money being used in that fight could go to better things.

"It's reckless and it's wrong for the premier to be wasting our money, our tax dollars, sabotaging climate solutions," the Guelph MPP said Monday afternoon.

Environment Minister Rod Phillips vowed on Monday, as the federal carbon tax took effect in the province, that the government "will use every tool at our disposal to challenge" it.

The federal government imposed a carbon tax on greenhouse gas-emitting fuels in four provinces that have refused to take part in their plan: Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick.

"We don't need a carbon tax to fight climate change," Phillips said.

But Schreiner says a legal fight will cost $30 million and there's talk the Ontario government will be rolling out advertising against the carbon tax.

"It's just wrong," he said.

"Instead of spending the money on ad campaigns and lawyers, why don't we spend it on the people of Ontario," he said.

Schriener suggested the money could instead be used to help people make the shift to electric vehicles, retrofit their homes so they can save money by saving energy, invest in public transit and support companies that are investing in a clean economy.

"That would offer true economic benefits and help us fight climate change," he said.

He also questioned tweets on Sunday where "every member of the PC caucus was out filling their cars up with gas."

"I can fill my car up with electricity and operate it at one-fifth the cost of a fossil-fueled powered vehicle," Schreiner said.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna also defended the carbon tax on Monday in an interview on CBC Toronto's Metro Morning.

"Pollution doesn't know any borders so you need to make sure you have a plan across the country," she said.

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