Politics

Ottawa earmarks $60M for school retrofits in provinces that fought carbon tax

While attacking premiers who refuse to adopt a carbon tax, Canada's environment minister today announced millions of dollars in funding for energy retrofits in schools in provinces that have resisted or abandoned the Liberal climate change plan.

Money will be shared among New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan

Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, makes an announcement on how the federal government will allocate a portion of the proceeds collected as a result of carbon pollution pricing during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

While attacking premiers who refuse to adopt a carbon tax, Canada's environment minister today announced millions of dollars in funding for energy retrofits in schools in provinces that have resisted or abandoned the Liberal climate change plan.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna announced Tuesday in Ottawa her government will fund $60 million in energy retrofits for schools in the so-called backstop provinces.

The money will be shared this way:

  • New Brunswick: $2 million.
  • Ontario: $41 million.
  • Manitoba: $5 million.
  • Saskatchewan: $12 million. 

In April, Ottawa imposed a carbon tax on those four provinces. Ninety per cent of the tax has been rebated back to consumers, and McKenna said money for the energy-saving renovations comes from the remaining 10 per cent.

Although Alberta has scrapped its carbon tax, it was excluded from the funding announcement because Ottawa hasn't imposed the federal backstop there. The backstop won't come into effect there until 2020.

Taking aim at Premier Ford

During McKenna's news conference Tuesday, she took aim at Ontario's Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford, linking the Ford government's inaction on climate change to the party's unpopular budget cuts.

"Conservatives don't take the science behind climate change seriously," McKenna told reporters. "And under Premier Ford, we've seen cuts to the environment, cuts to health, cuts to education."

McKenna specifically mentioned the Ford government's 2018 cancellation of a $100-million school repairs fund. The grant was a casualty of the Progressive Conservative government's decision to scrap the provincial Liberals' cap-and-trade system.

"There was already a project in existence. Sadly, it was cut by Premier Ford when he came in," McKenna said. "This not a new initiative."

Earlier in June, McKenna also slammed the Ontario premier for cutting the 50 Million Tree program. In June, McKenna announced $15 million over four years to rescue the program, which has planted more than 27 million trees across the province since 2008 and was working toward 50 million new trees by 2025.


The CBC's David Thurton can be reached on FacebookTwitter or at david.thurton@cbc.ca.


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About the Author

David Thurton is a national reporter in CBC's Parliamentary Bureau. He's worked for CBC in Fort McMurray, the Maritimes and in Canada's Arctic.

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