Media Releases

As Canada feels climate change, Premier Ford’s grandstanding is reckless

VICTORIA — Merran Smith, executive director at Clean Energy Canada, made the following statement in response to Ontario’s constitutional challenge against Ottawa’s federal price on carbon pollution.

“With Canada warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, trying to score political points by grandstanding against sound climate policy is not only reckless, it’s deeply dangerous. The fact is, the last five years were the five hottest on record. More Canadians than ever before are seeing extreme weather and climate impacts firsthand, and they understand just how important it is that we fight climate change.

Polling shows that over three-quarters of Canadians either support or are willing to accept a price on carbon pollution when it comes with a rebate, which the federal government is delivering  in tax returns this year to residents of Ontario.

“Climate change is here, and carbon pricing is an effective solution that’s strongly supported by most economists. Nearly three-quarters of Canadians polled rejected Premier Ford’s bluster that a carbon tax will cause a recession, which has been dismissed by economists.

“The evidence from B.C. illustrates how effective a carbon tax can be. Independent analysis found that pollution was lower than it would be otherwise, people drove less, invested in more fuel-efficient cars and used less natural gas at home. And the carbon tax had no significant impact on B.C.’s economic activities and, believe it or not, was even responsible for a net increase in jobs. As a lifelong resident of B.C., I can attest to the fact that the sky most definitely did not fall—it’s only gotten brighter.

“We need to use all the tools we have in the toolbox, including putting a price on pollution. This shouldn’t be a difficult decision, but political opportunism has made it so.”

Merran Smith is available for interviews.

KEY FACTS

  • According to a new poll from Clean Prosperity, only about a quarter of Ontarians support Ford’s court challenge, while 64% oppose the accompanying ad campaign.
  • According to Clean Energy Canada / Abacus Data nationwide polls:
    • Canadians’ opinion about the federal carbon tax backstop reveals that 35% support the idea, 28% oppose it and 37% say they are open to considering it. When told of the idea that revenues would be rebated to affected households, support climbs by 9 points, and opposition declines by 6 points.
    • When told Premier Ford warned the federal carbon tax would cause a recession in Ontario, almost two out of three across the country (64%), and in Ontario (63%), disagreed, believing he was overstating the impact.
    • When respondents were presented with a question which noted that many economists had offered a contrary view, namely that the impact of the tax would be too small to cause a recession, even more people (73% in Ontario, 74% across Canada) rejected Mr. Ford’s contention.
  • Last year was another record-breaking year for damages caused by severe weather events. Ice storms, floods, windstorms and tornadoes, did damage to homes, vehicles and commercial properties across the country. They cost Canadians $1.9 billion in insured losses.

RESOURCES

Poll | February 2019 Poll Results

Op-ed | “As the carbon tax debate heats up in Ottawa, Canada should look to B.C.” (iPolitics)