Manitoba

Manitoba NDP says green plan would commit province to carbon neutrality, ensure largest polluters pay

A Manitoba NDP government would be willing to adopt a cap-and-trade system instead of a carbon tax if Andrew Scheer becomes prime minister, the provincial Opposition party said Friday as it unveiled the broad strokes of its green plan.

Opposition party would consider cap-and-trade system if Conservatives win federal election, scrap carbon tax

NDP Leader Wab Kinew, flanked by Manitoba Youth for Climate Action members Courtney Tosh, left, and Lena Andres, right, unveils his party's green plan at an announcement Friday. (Ian Froese/CBC)

A Manitoba NDP government would be willing to adopt a cap-and-trade system instead of a carbon tax if Andrew Scheer becomes prime minister, Wab Kinew announced on Friday.

Kinew revealed a hypothetical option to pricing pollution under a Conservative federal government on Friday, when he revealed the broad strokes of his party's green plan at a campaign-style announcement on the lawn of the Manitoba Legislature.

The plan also includes a promise to cut carbon emissions by 45 per cent below 2010 levels by 2030, and to see the province become carbon neutral by 2050.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has promised to repeal the federal government's carbon tax — imposed on four provinces in April, including Manitoba — if his party wins this fall's federal election.

Kinew said if that happens, he'll ensure Manitoba penalizes the biggest carbon emitters.

"We're gonna find a way to bring a price on pollution here in Manitoba that ensures large emitters pay, that gives more money back to lower- and middle-income people — and that could include cap-and-trade," Kinew said. 

Kinew said his party would also make home heating more efficient and support enhancements of geothermal energy, as well as ending subsidies to oil and gas companies.

"These industries have to compete on their own two feet just like everybody else does in the open economy."

Decision to scrap provincial tax panned

The provincial government originally proposed its own flat $25 per tonne tax on carbon emissions. When the federal government decided that wasn't sufficient, Premier Brian Pallister scrapped the provincial plan.

On Friday, Kinew criticized that decision, which resulted in Ottawa imposing an escalating tax that starts at $20 per tonne and will rise to $50 per tonne by 2022.

The Manitoba NDP says large emitters should have to pay for their emissions, even if a new federal government rescinds the carbon tax. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Kinew also said he would renegotiate the federal carbon tax refund to see more money returned to middle- and lower-income Manitobans if Justin Trudeau's Liberal government is returned to office in the Oct. 21 federal election.

He added he has a "good working relationship" with federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, and said they could work together to devise a proper carbon tax plan.

Private member's bill would make reduction law

The pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 45 per cent is a cornerstone of the NDP plan, and Kinew said he plans to introduce a private member's bill on Monday that would enshrine the emission target in law.

The legislation would also establish sector-specific targets that distribute reductions across Manitoba's industries, and would require yearly reporting on emission reductions.

The 45 per cent reduction by 2030 would bring Manitoba into accordance with the Paris Climate Accord, Kinew said.

"I think the most important enforcement mechanism is that I have is young members in my party," said Kinew, who was flanked at the announcement by two members with the Manitoba Youth for Climate Action group.

"This is their ballot box issue and they are not going to support our party if we're not delivering when it comes to the environment," he said.

"I have the same sort of enforcement mechanism, if you will, at home, in the form of three kids."

About the Author

Ian Froese

Reporter

Ian Froese is a reporter with CBC Manitoba. He has previously worked for newspapers in Brandon and Steinbach. Story idea? Email: ian.froese@cbc.ca.

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