• Allison Baker

FACT CHECK: Are “The Vast Majority” of Canadian Provinces United Against Carbon Tax?

Updated: Oct 26, 2018

MOSTLY TRUE. While Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Prince Edward Island are outright refusing to implement the mandated federal carbon pricing, many other provinces and territories are instead proposing their own plans to reduce emissions.

In an interview with Global News on October 5, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that “the vast majority” of provinces are “united against” the federal carbon tax, one of the main aspects of the Liberal government’s climate-change plan that was introduced in late 2016 to help the country “meet emission reduction targets.” It set guidelines for provinces and territories to introduce carbon pricing plans by the end of 2018, and according to the federal government, policies could be “adapted to each province and territory’s specific circumstances.” If they didn’t create their own strategy under this framework, the government would impose a standard carbon tax.

According to the CBC, the plan was eventually signed by every province and territory except Saskatchewan, which opposed the mandatory system. Last April, Maclean’s reported that Saskatchewan’s Premier Brian Moe had launched a constitutional challenge against that mandatory tax, and soon after his election, Ford announced that Ontario would launch a similar challenge. In early October, according to the National Post, Moe announced that he will file for intervenor status in Ontario’s lawsuit, saying that the two provinces will “continue to fight the tax together.”

Ford’s statement is mostly accurate because many provinces that had initially signed the federal climate-change plan are now beginning to voice their opposition to both the carbon tax and the fact that the government could force its own tax on provinces and territories that don’t cooperate. Some have proposed their own plans to reduce emissions to reach the target set by the federal government, while others haven’t yet announced carbon-pricing plans.

British Columbia, Quebec, and Alberta have their own carbon-pricing plans, which have been in effect for the past few years. In July, the Northwest Territories announced its federally mandated carbon-tax plan, as reported by the CBC. Similar to what is already in place in Quebec and Ontario, Nova Scotia will implement a cap-and-trade system, which creates a gradually declining “cap” on carbon emissions, in January 2019. Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunavut, and the Yukon all have yet to go into detail about their carbon-pricing plans.

In early October, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announced that the province would be scrapping its plan to charge a carbon tax, and Ontario Premier Doug Ford plans to end the province’s cap-and-trade system. According to the Globe and Mail, the proposed climate-action plan that Prince Edward Island submitted did not include a carbon tax, and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has refused to update her province’s pre-existing carbon-pricing system to meet the federal government’s requirements until the Trans Mountain Pipeline is constructed. New Brunswick’s current premier, Brian Gallant, says he will rename part of the province’s gas tax instead of implementing a new carbon tax.