Quebec cap-and-trade system in line with Ottawa's new plan, says Couillard
Province already meeting Ottawa's target price on pollution, although by 2022 it could be far behind
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard says Ottawa's carbon price plan is a "positive" move, in part because it doesn't interfere with the province's existing cap-and-trade system.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday he's giving the provinces until 2018 to either institute a cap-and-trade approach or set a carbon tax, priced at no less than $10 a tonne.
Quebec has had its own cap-and-trade system in place since 2013.
"We believe that it's good. It's not going to affect the functioning of our trading system," Couillard said Monday.
Like Ontario, Couillard said the cap-and-trade system remains the mechanism of choice for Quebec in its effort to reduce carbon emissions.
"We're satisfied with the carbon market as it is," he said, adding that countries like Mexico and China were also moving towards the system.
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The federal government is giving provinces and territories the freedom to choose a cap-and-trade system, they must decrease emissions in line with both Canada's target and with provinces that opt for a carbon tax.
Quebec lags behind 2022 goal
Trudeau's proposed price on carbon dioxide pollution would start at a minimum of $10 a tonne in 2018, rising by $10 each year to $50 a tonne by 2022.
Quebecers are already paying the equivalent of $16.40 a tonne, under the existing cap-and-trade system.
Indeed, if taxes at the pump are factored in, Couillard points out, Quebecers are paying more than that.
However, that amount is only expected to climb to $18 per tonne by 2020, which would leave Quebec lagging far behind Ottawa's goal for 2022.
Paris climate summit pledge
Canada pledged to cut emissions by 30 per cent over the next 14 years at the Paris climate summit last fall.
Couillard said today's announcement is a move in the right direction.
"The fact that the country is sending a strong signal, first with the ratification of the Paris agreement and also with putting some kind of a price on carbon, is certainly very positive."
With files from Alison Northcott and Kathleen Harris