Canada’s commitment to fighting climate change remains strong; in theory only. The reality seems to be that the government cannot agree on how to move forward and Canadians are getting tired of how much its costing them, and the lack of results to show for it.
Ford’s Conservatives have removed the unpopular carbon tax in Ontario, while the Federal Government insists that such taxation will take place and continues to threaten with reduced funding.
Add to this the mess that is the Trans-Mountain Pipeline, for which the Feds have already shelled out billions of taxpayer dollars to purchase and complete, seemingly going against everything they claimed to have stood for when it comes to climate change. It is becoming evidently clear to the world that a country once proud of its stance on climate change and conservation of its natural beauty is reaching an impasse when it comes to climate change action.
Consumers (read as voters) have sent a strong message to supporters of carbon pricing via the election in Ontario that life is already too expensive for the little guy, and that a change in government is easier than a change in consumer behavior, which Trudeau indicated was the purpose of his government’s carbon tax.
This reaction by consumers is not without merit; people could not keep up with the increases to the cost of living that came with the carbon tax. While economic theory would suggest that more expensive carbon would lead to less carbon consumption, the economists and politicians responsible for the tax did not consider the fact that consumers could simply vote for lower prices to return.
If, in light of Ontario’s change in position on carbon pricing, the Feds decide to go back on its commitment of $420 million to Ontario for climate change initiatives, it could set Ontario, and Canada even further backwards in the fight against climate change, as it would become even more difficult to fund research, programs and initiatives that work to slow the effects of climate change.
This is clearly not what is wanted, as Canada has made a commitment to the world to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% come 2030 (Paris Climate Accord 2015.)
The Feds need to regroup and take the high road. The carbon tax was given a chance in Ontario, and despite its good intentions, it was very unpopular among Ontarians.
They did not directly see, or hear, where their money was going, other than away from their pockets, and they continue to lack resources for and options of alternative, sustainable products.
Instead of leaving Ontario high and dry in the fight against climate change, Ottawa must look for other ways to help Ontario reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and create affordable, sustainable solutions to the challenge we face, instead of denying them this critical funding to prove a point to Ford.