MONTREAL — While many observers of the political scene believe that the carbon tax may well be at stake in the next federal election, the minister of the Environment, Catherine McKenna, denounced the polarization made by the politicians the conservatives on this issue and on climate change, which could “roll back” the country, ” she says.
This hot political issue will be on the shoulders of the minister McKenna.
And the conservative Party are already to undermine the liberal government on the eve of the elections of 2019. Chef Andrew Scheer has recently brandished this threat: according to him, if Justin Trudeau is re-elected this year, it will increase the federal tax on carbon. He has the help of other politicians, including the prime minister, ontario’s Doug Ford, who has just declared that the tax was leading straight to a recession.
In spite of this opposition, Ms. McKenna does not intend to change the strategy on the road towards the elections.
“We have a plan. We will continue our plan,” stressed the minister during an interview with The canadian Press this week in Montreal. It stresses having a year to develop, in consultation with the cities, First Nations, the provinces and businesses.
Thus, there is no question of deviating from the strategy on the carbon of the federal, “which puts a price on pollution”. The government has expressed its pricing system – starting from $ 20 per tonne – for “it is no longer free to pollute,” he says. All the provinces must have a system in place, otherwise, Ottawa impose this carbon tax.
“When it’s free to pollute, there is more pollution”.
But the money will return in the pockets of the citizens of each targeted province, as early as 2019, insists that since this announcement the Trudeau government to convince those who fear that everything is more expensive.
The subject divides already. Ontario withdrew from carbon trading, and joined in the lawsuit by the Saskatchewan against the federal government on the carbon tax, in addition to launching his own challenge.
But the minister McKenna deplores the fact that the conservatives who oppose the federal plan – “they want it to be free to pollute,” she said – use them to divide citizens.
“The conservatives want to polarize the debate. When you do this, nothing can be done. Here we go”, she had launched a little before the interview so that she presented a speech to the Conseil des relations internationales de Montréal (CORIM).
His position is delicate: if we look at the four most populous provinces – and those with the largest number of constituencies – they do not have the same approach to what needs to be done: if Quebec and British Columbia had put measures in place on the carbon before the federal requires, Alberta and Ontario have noisy reticence.
Ms. McKenna had this message to deliver this week: “Canadians will have a choice between our government and the other side, the conservative Party (federal) has no plan on climate change, who does not think that there is a real problem and that does not see the huge business opportunity”.
“The Twenty-first century, if you don’t have a plan for the climate, you don’t have a plan for the economy”, slice-t-it.
To convince the Canadians, the minister of the Environment plans to maintain the cap on its measures to tackle climate change: “Canadians know that we need to act and they want to know what we’ll be doing it in an intelligent manner, in a manner that ensures that life is affordable”. And they do not want to lose their jobs, she hammered.
It intends to raise the business opportunities and economic growth that goes hand-in-hand, according to the company, with the development of green solutions for the country.
“The Quebec, British Columbia, almost everyone in the country puts a price on pollution. These are the only conservative politicians who want to make it a political issue, who do not want to tell the truth”.
In the interview, she mentioned several times the situation that prevails in France, which was clearly marked, and the manifestations of the yellow vests, who, worried about the cost of living, have forced the government to back down on its fuel tax.
Then the liberal government does not plan for now to target a more ambitious reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, she noted. The plan will be implemented and “after that we will look at what we can do”.
As for the conservatives, they plan to unveil their climate before the next election. Andrew Scheer has already revealed that it will focus in particular on the technologies and green energy.
Work around the reluctant
But how to go ahead with the plan on the carbon when prime ministers do not want it?
“It is a little bit like the United States, explained the minister. We wanted to work with the administration to Trump climate change, but they wanted to go in a very different direction then we work with the governors, States, businesses, with the cities. It has signed an agreement with the governors of the States that represent nearly 50 percent of the u.s. economy”.
“We’re going to do the same thing in Canada.”
The minister maintains that it will work with all those who want to be serious about climate change, in which cities, hospitals and businesses in all the provinces.
She has already done, ” she said, citing the company – ontario – Enwave Energy, the first to receive money from the “Fund for an economy with low carbon emissions,” to develop its system of cooling buildings using the cold water of the Great Lakes.
And citizens outraged – many of which are in Quebec – by the purchase by the federal government of the pipeline, Transmountain, it emphasizes that the transition “will not happen in one night”.
“It’s going to take decades. We are in a period of transition during which people still use oil and gas, the majority of people, even in Quebec, they use gasoline for their cars. Then we need to take our resources and bring it to the markets, at a reasonable price.”