Ford Government Launches Court Action Against Efforts to Put Price on Climate Pollution

How Much Will Ford’s Court Crusade for Carbon Polluters Cost Ontario Tax Payers? How Much Will It Cost Our Future?

A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted April 14th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Well, of course. Why not?

Less than two weeks after the release of an alarming report by scientists for Environment and Climate Change Canada, concluding that Canada’s climate is warming twice as fast as the world average, and just a few months after a team of the world’s climate experts warned that we only have about a dozen years to prevent what could be an unbearable future for generations to come, what does Ontario’s premier, Doug Ford, and his government decide to do?

They decide to go to court this week to fight a federal government move to slap an extra four to five cents on a litre of gasoline as a way of putting a price on climate-altering carbon pollution on the grounds that it is “unconstitutional.”

Unconstitutional?

That argument is coming from the same Ford government that is now threatening to force owners of private gas stations to put a sticker on their pumps warning of this so-called “carbon tax” or face a heavy fine.

How constitutional is that?

Hopefully, the courts will give the Ford government’s case (launched at Ontario taxpayers’ expense) the thumbs’ down it deserves. And hopefully enough people across the province will come to the conclusion that doing whatever we can do to avert a climate catastrophe not too many years down the line is worth more than four or five cents extra for a litre of gasoline.

In a news release the Ford government has put out (posted here in full and immediately below) on its court fight against what it chooses to call a “carbon tax” to make the federal government’s effort to put a price on pollution look more unattractive to us, it stresses that it has its own plan for protecting the environment and reducing carbon pollution.

When you go down to the news release, click on the link the government includes for letting you see this plan and try to find out where any real specifics are for fighting pollution.

This so-called “Environment Plan” talks about the Ministry of Environment doing more enforcement of polluters, but what standards or laws are going to be enforced, if they are any tough standards still around, and where are they resources going to come from to do the enforcing.

In the budget the Ford government just tabled for the province this April 11th, it cut the already under-funded Ministry of Environment’s budget by at least another 17 per cent, and even more if you count the money the government already took away from funding cap and trade programs for reducing carbon pollution.

Ford and his minions want us to believe they will be “putting more money in our pockets” if they can defeat this federal “carbon tax” in the courts, but they don’t say a thing about the billions of dollars in costs we are facing from property damage, higher food prices and insurance premiums due to higher frequency of wildfires, floods, droughts, wind and other severe weather-related conditions.

This is a government that really doesn’t give a damn about fighting climate change and that hopes that in the near term, it can hold on to a base of support from people who grumble about paying a few more cents on a litre of gas.

Niagara At Large will have more on the cost of doing little or nothing about climate change later.

For now, here is the Ford government’s news release on its court battle against the federal “carbon tax. –

News Release, Ontario Takes The Federal Carbon Tax to Court

Dated April 14, 2019

Provincial Government’s challenge to be heard at Ontario’s Court of Appeal

TORONTO – Ontario is protecting what matters most and standing up for the people by taking the next step in opposing the federal government’s unconstitutional carbon tax, which threatens Ontario jobs and makes life less affordable for families, students, seniors and communities.

Ontario’s case challenging the constitutionality of the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act is being heard by the Court of Appeal from April 15 to 18, 2019, Ontario is arguing that the provinces, not the federal government, have the primary responsibility to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and that the charges the act seeks to impose are in fact unconstitutional disguised taxation.

“Over the past few weeks, we have demonstrated clearly the very real cost of the federal government’s carbon tax on the people, institutions and services of our province,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

“Our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan will lower emissions and put us on a path to meet our province’s share of the federal government’s targets, serving as proof that a carbon tax isn’t the only way to fight climate change. It proves a carbon tax is unnecessary, which is why we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to challenge this tax on the people of Ontario.”

Ontario is part of a coalition of provinces pledged to fight the federal government’s unconstitutional carbon tax. Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have joined Ontario’s challenge, with both provinces sharing our position that the federal law is unconstitutional.

“The federal government’s carbon tax is forcing Ontarians to pay more to heat their homes, drive to work and buy groceries. It’s simply not fair to hardworking individuals, families and small businesses,” said Attorney General Caroline Mulroney.

“That’s why today, lawyers from my ministry are in court to argue that the federal government has enacted an unconstitutional, disguised tax. We are keeping our promise to fight for Ontarians.”

The Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan <https://www.ontario.ca/page/made-in-ontario-environment-plan> considers our province’s specific priorities, challenges and opportunities, and commits to reducing our emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, a target that aligns with the federal government’s Paris commitments, without imposing a carbon tax on the people of our province.

Through the efforts of individuals and industry, Ontario is already most of the way to this target, with the province’s emissions down 22 per cent since 2005.

QUICK FACTS

  • * Starting January 1, 2019, the federal government’s output-based pricing system for large emitters came into force.
  • * The federal carbon tax on fuels came into effect on April 1, 2019. It increases the price of gasoline in Ontario by 4.4 cents per litre. This will rise to 6.6 cents in 2020, 8.8 cents in 2021, and 11.1 cents per litre in April 2022.
  • * The federal carbon tax will cost a typical household $648 a year by 2022.
  • * The federal government’s carbon tax will impact: hospitals by increasing annual heating costs by $10.9 million in 2019, soaring to $27.2 million in 2022; nursing and seniors’ care homes by $6.7 million in 2019, rising to $16.7 million in 2022; colleges and universities by increasing their upfront annual heating costs by approximately $9.5 million in 2019, soaring to $23.9 million in 2022.
  • * Ontario has proposed an emissions performance standard for large emitters that recognizes the unique circumstances of Ontario’s economy and its manufacturing sector. This approach would reduce emissions from industry, helping Ontario achieve its proposed emissions reduction target without imposing a carbon tax.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

From Niagara At Large –

Fair Warning – Ford Government supporters and other climate deniers may find the following video offensive. Others are encouraged to click on the screen below –

To read a BBC news report on Canada’s rapidly warming climate, click on – https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47754189 .

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

 

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