Ontario - Phillips: Ottawa more interested in taxes than carbon plan

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Arabnews24 - Canada :The federal environment minister’s end-run around the province is part of a wider effort to shut Ontario out of climate policy talks.That’s the claim Ontario environment minister Rod Phillips made Thursday afternoon, responding to plans announced by his federal counterpart Catherine McKenna to distribute national climate fund dollars directly to provincial institutions and businesses.“While she says that she would have been happy to have worked together with us,

her actions suggest differently,” Phillips said at a news conference at Queen’s Park.“That is because they are not interested in a plan, they are interested in a tax.”Speaking earlier in the day at Milton insulation plant, McKenna announced the remaining $420 million earmarked for Ontario in Ottawa’s Low Carbon Economy Fund will be paid directly to cities, institutions, and businesses.Money from the fund is meant to finance programs to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency.“Our hope would have been to work with the provincial government on fighting pollution, tackling climate change, helping businesses with clean solutions, and helping Ontarians save money,” McKenna said.“Mr. Ford has taken a different path, making polluting free, and cancelling hundreds of projects across communities in Ontario.”

Ontario programs set to receive funding include energy efficiency retrofits amounting to $100 million for schools and $64 million for hospitals, as well as electric bus programs in Hamilton and Brampton and hydrogen buses in Mississauga.“If provincial governments under conservative leadership are going to step back, we are going to step up,” said McKenna.“We owe it to Ontarians to support projects they have developed.”

Phillips said the Ontario government was elected with a “strong mandate” to end cap-and-trade schemes introduced by the Wynne Liberals, ones he described as “costly and ineffective.”“Last night, she cancelled the face-to-face meeting of environment ministers which was set to occur later this month, and today she’s unilaterally walked away from the Low Carbon Economy Fund Agreement with our province,” he said — describing the agreement as one the province signed ‘in good faith.’“It was this Prime Minister who promised a new era of relationships with provinces, but in reality — since August — they have refused to communicate with us about our plan or targets.”Ontario is just one jurisdiction in a growing chorus of premiers and provincial leaders taking issue with the feds’ scheme that is now facing considerable resistance.McKenna has said Ottawa will impose a carbon price on provinces that don’t establish their own and then distribute the funds directly to residents.

Canada Press