The debate over cap and trade in Ontario is becoming a “he said, she said” kind of affair.
Ted Arnott, MPP for Wellington-Halton Hills and PC Caucus Critic to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, announced his party’s “People’s Guarantee” on the environment on recently at Queen’s Park.
In it, Arnott vowed the Conservatives will replace the current Liberal cap and trade program with a carbon pricing system more similar to what the federal Liberal government is proposing.
“Our Caucus accepts the scientific consensus on climate change. The Earth is warming, human activity is a significant contributing factor, and we in Ontario need to do our part to reduce carbon emissions,” Arnott told the legislature at Queen’s Park. “Premier Wynne’s Government is for a cap-and-trade scheme that will ship 466 million taxpayer dollars to California.”
“Our Caucus categorically rejects that approach. But we also know that doing nothing is not an option,” added Arnott. “The Trudeau government in Ottawa is mandating a carbon pricing benchmark.”
“We say that every dollar collected in carbon price revenue should be returned to Ontario families and taxpayers in the form of corresponding tax relief, as verified by the auditor general,” he said, adding the Progressive Conservatives' plan would be revenue neutral as a result.
In the wake of the policy announcement, Premier Kathleen Wynne challenged the plan, claiming it would cost Ontarians more and be less effective in reducing emissions long-term.
“In recent days, the premier’s claims that our proposal to phase out their cap-and-trade program, and replace it with a carbon pricing program, in line with what the Trudeau government is requiring and which would return all of the revenues to Ontarians, would cost more and would not be as effective in reducing carbon emissions,” said Arnott in a release sent Dec. 7.
In response, while addressing the legislature last week, Arnott pointed to an article in Maclean’s Magazine by economist Trevor Tombe on Dec. 2.
“In fact, the Maclean’s article demonstrated that the People’s Guarantee will do the opposite. The study by economist Trevor Tombe suggests our plan would in time leave Ontario households better off than what the Liberals say, and reduce emissions more in Ontario, than under their cap-and-trade program,” he said.