Statement from Environmental Defence’s Keith Brooks on Premier Designate Doug Ford’s cancellation of cap-and-trade
Toronto, Ont. – The cancellation of cap-and-trade is a bad idea for many reasons. Cap-and-trade is the lowest cost way for Ontario to comply with Ottawa’s carbon pricing plan. Ontario businesses are literally invested in cap-and-trade, having bought over $2.8 billion in permits. The Ontario government will need to find billions of dollars to buy back those permits, or risk being sued.
The cancellation of cap-and-trade presumably also means the cancellation of the many programs it funds. This means no more money to help businesses become more energy efficient, no money for social housing energy retrofits, and no money for colleges, universities and hospitals to reduce their energy use. It means no funding for cycling infrastructure, electric vehicles, and public transit. And it likely means an end to programs aimed to help homeowners reduce their carbon emissions, like free smart thermostats, and rebates for energy efficient windows and insulation. This is bad for the Ontario businesses that make these products, many of whom have increased production and staffing to meet the demand for energy efficient products. Cancelling cap-and-trade is also bad for Ontario’s clean technology sector, the largest and fastest growing clean technology sector in Canada.
Contrary to Premier Designate Ford’s commitment to get rid of a carbon tax, cancelling cap-and-trade will accomplish the exact opposite, as the federal government will now have to impose its carbon-pricing back-stop in the province. Legal experts have made it clear that Ottawa has the power to do this. Moreover, Ontarians believe that the federal government has an obligation to do so, to ensure that carbon pollution is reduced in Ontario and that the province continues to do its part to fight climate change.
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