Doug Ford, Elected Ontario Premier, Promises End of Cap and Trade

The brother of former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford decisively won the election on June 7 to be the next premier of Ontario, ousting current Premier Kathleen Wynne. His first order of business: end the province's emissions trading program.
June 20, 2018, 10am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Diego Grandi

Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives (PC) "ended 15 years of Liberal power in the province, riding a wave of popular resentment against [Premier] Kathleen Wynne," notes The Globe and Mail's "election explainer" on the outcome of the June 7 Ontario general election. Doug Ford, the populist head of the PC party since winning an election in March, has been compared to President Donald Trump.

A May 7 post indicated that if elected, Ford would open the Ontario Greenbelt to development. But that won't be his first order of environmental rollbacks, reports Antonella Artuso for the Toronto Sun on June 15.

The Ontario cap-and-trade program that adds 4.3 cents to every litre of gasoline sold is gone, Premier-designate Doug Ford says.

A Ford cabinet’s first act will be to cancel the Kathleen Wynne plan and notify the federal government that Ontario will fight any proposal to impose a carbon tax on it, he vows.

The province began the emissions trading program on Jan. 1, 2017. A year later, it formally entered the Québec-California carbon market, known as the Western Climate Initiative.

Upon hearing that the premier-designate Ford would end the program, California and Quebec took immediate action to "prevent companies from dumping some $2.8-billion in emissions allowances," reports Shawn McCarthy for The Globe and Mail on June 17.

While Mr. Ford’s decision could provoke lawsuits from companies that purchased allowance, the province is also set to join Saskatchewan’s legal fight over the federal government’s right to impose its carbon tax where provinces have not levied their own carbon price, whether by direct tax or cap-and-trade system.

Companies could face a higher levy if Ottawa wins its court case and imposes a levy that will kick in at $20 a tonne in January, rising to $50 in 2022. The Ontario carbon price – which is incurred by companies, but passed on to consumers at the gas pump and on the heating bills – is forecast to be about $25 in 2022.

Gasoline prices may have played a factor in the PC's victory on June 7, according to Artuso's article.

“And during the election I promised we would take immediate action to lower gas prices by scrapping the carbon tax and ending cap and trade. Today I want to confirm in Ontario the carbon tax’s days are numbered," stated Ford.

Just to clarify, a province can either have a carbon tax or cap and trade, not both. Premier Justin Trudeau plans to impose a carbon tax on provinces that lack carbon pricing by Jan. 1, 2019.

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Published on Friday, June 15, 2018 in Toronto Sun
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