The Current

Doug Ford's vow to fight federal carbon tax part of concerted effort, prof says

Ontario premier-designate Doug Ford has vowed to scrap the cap-and-trade system. But critics warn the move against taxing greenhouse gas emissions will have a domino effect both politically and economically.

Ontario's premier-designate says cap-and-trade program will be gone once he's sworn in

Doug Ford says he will scrap Ontario's cap-and-trade program after he is sworn in as the province's next premier on June 29. (CBC)

Read story transcript

Ontario's carbon tax days are numbered, according to Ontario premier-designate Doug Ford who announced last week he intends to live up to his election promise and end the cap-and-trade program.

The program, which links Ontario with Quebec and California's cap-and-trade markets, gives businesses and consumers an incentive to cut greenhouse gas emissions. So far Ontario businesses have already bought nearly $3 billion carbon credits.

Ford also vowed to challenge the federal government's rule requiring provinces to implement carbon pricing.

To Calgary political science professor Lori Williams, Ford's strategy appears to be targeted toward preventing a Liberal government from winning the next federal election.

"Provincial Conservatives in Ontario, in Alberta and possibly in Manitoba, are actually trying to use this to challenge the federal government into diminishing chances of re-election," she told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

Williams pointed out scrapping the carbon tax presents another political challenge that could lead to a negative net impact on the environment. She added that the revenues generated through the Trans Mountain Pipeline were meant to be used to yield environmental benefits, referring to the initiative raised by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a way to balance the economy and the environment.

To discuss the consequences on business, the environment and politics, The Current spoke to:

  • Rory Ring, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce in Sault Ste. Marie. He's in favour of Ford's direction and hopes the removal of the cap-and-trade program will reduce the cost of business operations.
  • Tom Rand, managing partner at ArcTern Ventures, which invests in startups solving climate change, sees both short and long-term costs to Ford's move, including the expense on Ontario to reimburse businesses who invested in cap and trade but also the lost opportunity of being a leader in clean tech and green innovation.
  • Lori Williams, associate professor of policy studies at Mount Royal University predicts the government's climate strategy is in jeopardy and argues Ford's decision could have consequences beyond Ontario.

Listen to the full conversation near the top of this page.

This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino and Noushin Ziafati.


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