OTTAWA – Conservative leader Erin O’Toole says his party’s version of the price of carbon in fuel would not automatically replace the existing tax that sparked resistance from Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford and other conservatives across the country.
In a virtual meeting with Star’s editorial board on Tuesday, O’Toole said the conservative carbon price is intended as an “alternative” to the existing system and that provinces where the current scheme is applied, such as Ontario, could decide whether to adopt the new one.
He did not say when the conservative system would be ready, only that an O’Toole government would seek to involve the provinces in the matter “very quickly.”
“This is something Ontario could adopt, but I’m not speaking for the province,” O’Toole said Tuesday. “We would offer them a plan to transition to this approach that would not be a federal carbon tax.”
The conservative platform says the party would “eliminate” the existing consumer carbon price, which the liberals implemented through a 2018 law that sparked staunch opposition from conservative federals and like-minded provinces. Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan joined forces to challenge the policy until the Supreme Court, which ruled in March that the federal carbon price was constitutional.
At the time, O’Toole also promised to remove the “Justin Trudeau carbon tax” if his party won the next election.
Now, the policy his party is proposing is a different version of the current liberal carbon pricing system.
Instead of raising the fuel tax from $ 40 per ton of emissions this year to $ 170 per ton in 2030, as the liberals propose, O’Toole’s tax would peak at $ 50 per ton.
The Conservatives would also replace current system refunds, which are sent as fixed payments to households, with a reward-style “Low Carbon Personal Savings Account” that allows people to use all the money they pay through purchase tax. “green” like bicycles or an energy-efficient oven.
That means instead of receiving $ 300 this year, no matter how much fuel they burn, a single adult in Ontario could use all the money they pay through tax on government-approved purchases.
The other component of the federal carbon price, the special system for highly polluting industries, would remain the same under the conservative plan, although its platform says the party would only allow this industrial carbon price to rise to $ 170 per ton, as the liberals. compromise – if that is in line with the policies of key trading partners like the United States and the European Union.
Early Tuesday in Richmond, BC, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau continued to criticize the Conservatives’ climate plan, which would return to Canada’s weakest emissions target for 2030. Trudeau also capitalized on O’Toole’s praise for the defunct Northern Gateway pipeline. that would have crossed north of BC, and noted that the Conservatives are committed to reversing the liberal government’s ban on oil exports from the north coast of the province.
“That is the wrong choice for British Colombians, that is the wrong choice for Canadians,” Trudeau said. “Mr. O’Toole is presenting a vision of this country that would set us back.”
Trudeau also tried to appeal to climate change-concerned NDP supporters, positioning his liberals as the only party progressives can trust to prevent conservatives from weakening federal climate policies.
“We are the ones who can prevent conservatives from being elected and returning to the climate,” Trudeau said.
The Liberals’ climate platform calls for a cap on emissions from the oil and gas sector, which have risen nearly 20 percent from 2005 to 2019, and oil sands emissions will more than double during that time, which would start in 2025 and it would decrease to the network. zero along with the rest of the economy by 2050.
The party also pledges to ban thermal coal exports by 2030 and requires that all new cars sold in Canada by 2035 be zero-emission vehicles.
Conservatives say they would mandate that 30 percent of new cars sold in 2030 be zero emissions.
Meanwhile, the NDP has noted that Canada’s domestic emissions have risen since the Liberals took power in 2015, accusing Trudeau of failing to deliver on his promise to remove government support for the fossil fuel sector.
Liberals have said they will phase out subsidies that encourage oil and gas exploration and production by 2025.
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