Doug Ford is promising to act swiftly, to do something the people want and Justin Trudeau is vowing to stop it.
Perhaps setting up a fight that could severely hurt Liberal fortunes in the next federal election.
“Upon the swearing in of my new cabinet, at the top of our agenda, the very first item will be to pass an order to cancel the Liberal cap-and-trade carbon tax,” Ford said Friday.
Ford has even suggested a quick summer session for the Ontario legislature to scrap cap and trade which would lower gas prices by 4.3 cents per litre. His party also promised to cut the provincial share of gas taxes to bring a total reduction of 10 cents a litre.
It was hugely popular with voters.
Now Justin Trudeau is vowing to stop Ford.
It’s something I talked about at the opening of my radio show on Friday night, listen and share that rant below.
The fight is on.
Before Ford’s words were even sinking in, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna’s office was vowing to impose a national carbon tax on Ontario. Reporter Marieke Walsh at iPolitics getting the scoop first.
“The federal government’s jurisdiction on this matter is clear,” Environment Minister Catherine McKenna’s spokesperson Caroline Thériault said a statement.
“On Thursday, Bill C-74 passed the Senate. It includes new supports for families, tax cuts for small businesses, and a federal standard for pricing pollution that provinces must meet. Ontario’s current pollution pricing system meets the federal standard. If the new government changes or eliminates its system, that assessment may change and the federal price on pollution would apply.”
Let’s set aside for a moment that the government that claims to be all about science, facts and evidence calls carbon dioxide pollution, which it is not. The question is, does the federal government have the legal authority to do this?
That isn’t clear despite what liberal law professors continue to tell liberal reporters.
Political factors could be huge.
A secondary factor, would Trudeau want to be fighting for higher gas prices in 2019?
If Ford keeps his word and pulls out of the cap and trade scheme, the lawsuit could take quite some time.
That means that Trudeau would be campaigning in the middle of next summer, and over long weekends, to make gas prices go up in Canada’s largest province. Forget good or bad policy, and it is bad policy, this would be bad politics.
A study done by Navigator on why people voted for the PCs in the Ontario election is telling. The first reason given was the promise of lower gas taxes, second was hydro prices and third was the overall tax burden being lowered.
Can you imagine being the Liberal MP telling everyone at the door that you want their vote to make life more expensive?
While Kathleen Wynne was in power this didn’t matter, Trudeau’s Liberals could say it was a provincial decision.
It would be one thing for the Liberals to have to fight only Saskatchewan. The party has one MP in that province. They won’t get anymore.
If they were to fight Alberta down the road, say if Jason Kenney and the UCP win the May 31, 2019 election, then again, they have 3 MPs.
In Ontario the Liberals have 80 MPs right now.
If Trudeau spends next summer trying to convince voters that they need to pay more for basic functions of modern life he and his party could end up like Wynne’s Liberals. Just 7 seats and holding the caucus meeting in a mini-van.
Trudeau could win this case at the Supreme Court and lose it at the ballot box.
But I don’t see him winning both.