Liberal government refuses to reveal plans for carbon-tax scheme

May 1, 2012

QUEEN’S PARK – The Liberal government must stop playing games and disclose its plans to introduce a job-killing, carbon-tax scheme in Ontario, PC Environment Critic and Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris said today during question period.

Harris called on Environment Minister Jim Bradley to publicly state whether his government remains committed to the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), an agreement which requires the Liberal government to implement a carbon-pricing scheme in Ontario.

The Environment Minister refused to explain the Liberal government’s obligations under the Western Climate Initiative and even failed to state publicly what he said in his answer to an order paper question submitted last December.

“The government remains committed to cap and trade,” Bradley said in a written response received last month. “We continue to work to ensure that the key elements are in place to support the implementation of a cap and trade program.”

Again, on April 16 Bradley spoke about climate change in the Legislature, but failed to mention the Western Climate Initiative, which required the Liberal government to begin implementing the first phases of a carbon-pricing scheme in Ontario on Jan. 1, 2012.

“That date has long passed, yet the Minister of Environment has remained silent on this issue” Harris said shortly after question period. “Why can’t the Minister tell Ontarians whether or not his government remains committed to the Western Climate Initiative?”

After signing onto the Western Climate Initiative in July 2008, Ontario laid the foundation for carbon-pricing scheme in 2009 with Bill 185 and Ontario Regulation 452/09.

Last year, six U.S. states abandoned the Western Climate Initiative, leaving just California, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. To date, only California and Quebec have begun implementing the first phases of their carbon-pricing schemes – which, for Quebec, is expected to generate $2.7 billion in new revenue.

“There’s no shortage of solutions to combat climate change, such as investing in public transit and energy conservation, but unfortunately the Liberals have taken a page from their tax-and-spend playbook and are moving ahead with a carbon-tax scheme at a time when our economy can least afford it.”