Moe, Ford join together to oppose federal carbon pricing at NB meeting

Rodiano Bonacci
Luglio 21, 2018

Ontario, the country's richest and most populous province, last month elected climate skeptic Doug Ford, a conservative, as its premier.

"Make no mistake about it, there is an acknowledgment that we have to look at this issue", he said at the close of two days of meetings in the seaside community of St. Andrews, N.B. "It's very important to provinces and territories that the federal commitment is there, that it's substantial".

The nationwide carbon tax established by the Trudeau government, aimed at inducing companies to curb pollution, is set to rise steadily from Can$10 ($7.50) per ton this year to Can$50 per ton in 2022.

Moe said a one-size-fits-all carbon tax fails to recognize the diverse nature of the Canadian economy.

"This made-in-Ottawa carbon tax plan finds our nation now in this position", Moe said.

Hoskins, who quit his cabinet post in February to take on the federal appointment, said an advisory council is carrying out consultations across the country. "Our government has a plan to protect the environment and grow the economy and it's working".

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant was asked whether Ford and Moe's declaration would prove a distraction to talks about freer global and internal trade.

"We have to remember that the goals that have been laid out by the federal government ... is to get cannabis out of the hands of our youth and the proceeds out of the hands of criminals", Gallant said, "and that has to be of the utmost importance".

Nova Scotia's Stephen McNeil was asked about the lack of consensus among numerous provinces about how to deal with carbon pricing.

"We are looking forward to implementing our own internal cap and trade system, which will continue to reduce greenhouse gases while at the same time protecting the pocketbooks of Nova Scotians", he said.

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant emerged later with Canada's ambassador to Washington, David MacNaughton, who spent time with the premiers talking about ways to best address trade irritants with the U.S.

The provincial leaders were expected to discuss a range of other topics, including the USA trade dispute, health care, the pullout of Greyhound from bus routes in Western Canada, and the skirmish between Alberta and British Columbia over the Trans Mountain pipeline project.

At a meeting of the country's 13 premiers that ended Friday at a picturesque resort on Canada's east coast, the provincial and territorial leaders talked about U.S. "We need to reach out to those who may not yet be convinced or those who have a different view or are anti-trade because of ideological things".

"Canadians will expect movement on this issue and I can say unequivocally that New Brunswick is prepared to take significant action to move us in that direction", Gallant wrote.

In the letter dated July 18, Gallant said barriers need to be reduced to transporting wine, beer, and spirits to "give greater choice to consumers and broader markets for producers".

The stance is an apparent about face for New Brunswick, which won a court battle in April against Gerald Comeau, who had fought to transport alcohol across the provincial border with Quebec.

Opposition to Ottawa's carbon pricing regime overshadowed talks concerning trade issues during the first day of meetings between Canada's premiers in New Brunswick. The Supreme Court upheld the province's law that fined Comeau $240 for bringing a trunk load of beer and liquor across the border.

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