June 11, 2018
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says Ontario still has a choice to make on climate change legislation despite its incoming premier’s promises to do away with carbon pricing.
“Do you want a pricing regime that’s made in your own province… or do you want a made-in-Ottawa system?” she asked Friday.
Doug Ford’s victory in Thursday’s Ontario provincial election has raised questions about climate change policy in Canada’s largest province. Ford has said getting rid of Ontario’s cap-and-trade system to lower carbon emissions will be high on his government’s agenda. That’s likely to put him in direct conflict with the federal government’s plan for a national carbon price.
Notley’s main political opponent said a Ford government will help his fight against the federal carbon tax.
“We now have, in future premier Doug Ford, a huge ally in our effort to fight Justin Trudeau’s federal carbon tax,” United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney told Canadian Press.
Kenney predicted Ford’s government will join Saskatchewan’s court case. He said he and Ford spoke in February and Ford asked for advice about fighting the carbon tax.
According to Canadian Press, Notley – whose government trumpets its $30-a-tonne carbon tax as a signal achievement – said Ford will soon learn the limits of provincial power.
“The carbon-pricing framework that the federal government has put in place is within their jurisdiction and they have the authority to do that,” she said. “The courts are going to determine that the federal government has the authority to do what it is doing.”
Saskatchewan has said it will take Ottawa to court over whether the federal government has the right to bring in a national carbon price.
Notley downplayed any suggestions that Ford’s right-wing populist victory will have any echoes in Alberta. The province is headed for an election in 2019 and polls have suggested Notley’s New Democrats trail the Opposition United Conservative Party. The Ontario ballot was a vote for change as much as anything else, Notley said.
“What you had in Ontario is a change election, just as we did in Alberta in 2015,” she told Canadian Press, referring to the vote that ended the province’s 44-year Tory dynasty. “Whether we have a change election in 2019 is a different issue.”