Catherine McKenna flounders on pledge to halt carbon tax at $50 a tonne
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has apparently shied away from her party’s promise to freeze the carbon tax at $50 a tonne after 2022.
Minister McKenna had originally said that the Liberal plan was to not increase the tax once it hit $50, or 11 cents per litre of gas. Now, a change in tone has occurred, with McKenna stating that if the Liberal Party were to be re-elected, that the government would reassess their stance with provinces before making a decision.
Justin Trudeau has announced his new cabinet for the 43rd Parliament. Despite there being a great deal of speculation as to who would be included in the cabinet, there has only been insignificant change.
One of the more noteworthy changes is that Chrystia Freeland has been moved from her position as Minister of Foreign Affairs to her new position as the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. She will also serve as the Deputy Prime Minister: a position that was first created by Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre, and was done away with by Stephen Harper.
This will give Freeland broad power across the government and will only fuel speculation that she is being lined up as Trudeau’s successor. Quebec MP Francois-Philippe Champagne has replaced Freeland in the Foreign Affairs position.
The darling of the right, Catherine McKenna has been moved out of her position as Minister for the Environment. McKenna’s removal will delight the Alberta Premier, Jason Kenney, who has previously demanded that McKenna leave her position for the sake of national unity. The Member of Parliament for North Vancouver, Johnathan Wilkinson, is expected to take over McKenna’s position.
Despite Bill Morneau being heavily criticized for running deficits, and also being attacked for “elitist” campaign posters, he will continue to remain in his position as finance minister.
Due to Trudeau’s woeful results in western Canada, the prime minister was unable to select a member of parliament who was from Alberta or Saskatchewan to serve in his cabinet. Trudeau has also declined to bring in a senator to represent western Canada. As a result of this, the Prairies will be entirely unrepresented in Canada’s executive.
Aside from the names previously mentioned, here is the list of other cabinet transitions, as listed by the CBC:
- Ahmed Hussen, going to families, children and social development.
- Melanie Joly, to economic development and official languages, in charge of regional development agencies.
- Bernadette Jordan, to fisheries and oceans.
- Catherine McKenna, to infrastructure and communities.
- Dominic LeBlanc, now president of the Queen’s privy council, chair of the operations committee.
- Joyce Murray, to digital government.
- Mary Ng, to small business export promotion and international trade.
- Carla Qualtrough, to employment, workforce development and disability inclusion.
- Filomena Tassi, to labour.
Major companies who operate throughout British Columbia have been unable to explain a 13 cent per litre difference between southern B.C. and the rest of the province. This fall, a governmental commission noted this gap during a province-wide inquiry and gave the companies an opportunity to explain it, according to the CBC.
In a statement published by the commission, the companies have failed to provide any evidence to their explanations. The commission went on to say that their evidence was “inconclusive or conflicting.”
British Columbian gas prices have soared over the past few years. Nearly $500 million is spent on gas in the province alone. Compared to the neighboring U.S. state of Washington, British Columbians are paying far more than their American counterparts.
Despite there being an outcry in B.C. over the high gas prices, Premier John Horgan has legislated the country’s highest carbon tax and has fought adamantly against the TMX pipeline, which would dramatically alleviate the strain of these gas prices.
Justin Trudeau’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna had her office vandalized overnight on Wednesday.
The vandals spray-painted a sexist slur in red paint on her constituency office window. “C***” in all-caps was found on the front of the office Thursday morning.
McKenna responded to the obscenity by stating, “This is really beneath us as Canadians. I’m angry and, quite frankly, really disappointed.”
McKenna has often been subject to online trolling through her role in promoting the federal government’s carbon tax, including Rebel Media promoting the sexist nickname “Climate Barbie”. McKenna was also subject to similar offensive graffiti throughout the campaign trail, with offensive words being scribbled on lawn signs.
Recently she’s needed to have a security detail accompany her.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has stated that his government “is going to pursue” a legal challenge against the federal carbon tax, according to the CBC. By doing this, the Ford government will be upholding a long-term commitment first made during the Ontario provincial election.
Ford’s intention to take the carbon tax to court will come as an immediate threat to Justin Trudeau’s second term, just days after he was reelected. When Ford was asked about the Progressive Conservative’s carbon tax plan, he stated that “we will see it through.”
Despite the Ontario Premier’s determination, the Progressive Conservative government has had a difficult time repealing the carbon tax. In June, Ontario’s highest court struck down his government’s challenge.
Nevertheless, Doug Ford will now begin to build a case that he can take to the Supreme court. Previously, the Premier has stated his willingness to spend $30 million on this case.