The House

The House: Ottawa's carbon tax loses another ally

This week on the House, we talk to Manitoba's premier Brian Pallister on why he's now prepared to let Ottawa slap a tax on his province. Chris Hall sits down with the U.K.'s High Commissioner to Canada to talk Brexit and we take a look at pot legalization as the date draws closer.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister met behind closed doors on Sept. 11 to discuss a possible price on pollution. (Trevor Hagan/Canadian Press)
Listen to the full episode49:59

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is still considering taking the federal government to court as the fight over their national carbon price plan.

This week the Manitoba government announced it will no longer willingly impose a carbon tax on its citizens.  

Ottawa has ordered the provinces to introduce a tax of $10 per tonne this year, and increase that amount by $10 each year until it reaches $50 in 2022. Pallister had proposed a flat rate of $25 per tonne for this year, but the Trudeau government has said it would impose its price on any province that doesn't match their targets.

"If the [federal] threat is hanging over us I have a choice, right, I can introduce a flat and low carbon price like the Prairie Horizon and then they'll fight me in a year and they'll raise it. I can fight them in a year or I can fight them now," Pallister told CBC's Chris Hall.

"I can't have this uncertainty repelling private sector capital investment in my province."

When asked about their plan to take Manitoba's case to court Pallister said they'll "Cross that bridge when we come to it."

Saskatchewan and Ontario have raised questions about whether the plan is unconstitutional.

"We think we have a better case, with all due respect to my provincial colleagues right, I think we have a better case to make," he said.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc called Pallister's move a "flip flop" on the carbon tax.

Still, Pallister says his overall relationship with the federal Liberals isn't frayed.

"I think our relationship on numerous other files has grown in its strength. I do not distrust the prime minister," he said.

"The priorities are not the same as ours and when they are not, two thinking people are going to disagree and we disagree. 

This week on the House, we talk to Manitoba's premier Brian Pallister on why he's now prepared to let Ottawa slap a tax on his province. Chris Hall sits down with the U.K.'s High Commissioner to Canada to talk Brexit and we take a look at pot legalization as the date draws closer. 49:59

Brexit tension leads U.K. to seek deeper ties with Canada

British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing tough questions about Brexit as deadlines approach to push the deal through. (Jack Taylor/Associated Press)

As the United Kingdom works to finalize its split from the European Union, it's about to ramp up efforts to expand its footprint in Canada.​

Brexit has hit another roadblock as the European Union (EU) and U.K. attempt to work out exactly what their future relationship will look like. Both sides are trying to come up with an outline of a post-Brexit relationship in time for a leaders' summit set for Oct. 17-18 in order to stay on track for the March 29, 2019 leave date — exactly two years after Prime Minister Theresa May triggered the departure process.

Because of the hurdles involved — such as coming up with a new trade agreement and new arrangements for Ireland — Susan le Jeune d'Allegeershecque, the U.K.'s high commissioner to Canada, said now is the time to focus on Canada.

She told CBC Radio's The House this week that her job here has "never been more important." She said the U.K. has taken countries like Canada "for granted" in the past.

Now, London is working to widen the bridge with Canada through appointing new diplomats and pursuing new investments, d'Allegeershecque said.

The EU is pitching a "Canada plus plus plus" trading relationship to the U.K., offering it economic, cultural and security ties similar to what Canada shares with the 27 European Union countries now.

Statistics show that the EU has been quicker than Canada to take advantage of the year-old Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) it signed with Ottawa.

CBC News travelled to the port city of Dover to see how potential chaos there could have wide-ranging impacts on the rest of the country. 2:35

Though that pact has not yet been fully ratified, imports from the EU increased more than 12 per cent between Oct. 2017 and July 2018. Canadian exports to the EU, meanwhile, were actually lower in some recent months than they were prior to CETA, and the overall growth in Canadian exports to Europe during the Oct. 2017-July 2018 period amounted to less than one per cent.

D'Allegeershecque said she thinks the October summit is almost certain to pass without an agreement, which jeopardizes the goal of a March 2019 break-up.

"I think it would be messy, without a doubt," she said, adding experts across the continent are now considering the prospect of missing the March deadline.

That deadline can only be extended if all 28 EU members agree.

Susan le Jeune d'Allegeershecque says as the United Kingdom works to finalize its split from the European Union, it's about to ramp up efforts to expand its footprint in Canada.? 10:13

Pot prohibition coming to an end

Cannabis becomes legal on Oct. 17. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Canada's recreational pot prohibition officially comes to an end on Oct. 17, meaning big business for people like Chuck Rifici.

The CEO of Nesta Holdings and the Auxly Cannabis Group — also once the chief financial officer of the federal Liberal party — says it's even worth losing his Nexus card over.

"I lost it over a technicality but ultimately I was targeted and searched and spent two hours in secondary because I was involved in the legal cannabis industry. The U.S can refuse entry for any number of reasons. I think that problem will work itself out because a large number of Canadians are going to legally consume cannabis," he said.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection told the American online publication Politico that Canadians who invest in cannabis companies or work in the industry could be turned away at the border, even after recreational marijuana becomes legal in Canada this month.

"It is a concern and at the end of the day, I think that is part of the risk. Those in the industry view that the U.S prohibition has been a huge gift to the Canadian industry — the fact that we're not competing with large, huge, well-financed U.S. firms targeting the same international markets — and so we just kind of take that as it is," Rifici said.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is still considering taking the federal government to court as the fight over their national carbon price plan. 10:12