Published: Sun, August 05, 2018
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Ontario will launch constitutional challenge of federal carbon tax plan

Ontario will launch constitutional challenge of federal carbon tax plan

The Liberals cited concerns around competitiveness when they announced Wednesday that the threshold of emissions at which the largest industries would pay the tax.

The government introduced its proposed limits last January.

"We consulted broadly with industry", Caroline Theriault said in a statement. "We can't afford to let big polluters off the hook".

The factum characterizes the federal legislation, called the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, as "unprecedented in Canadian history". Other companies that produce more than 50,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year, will pay the carbon price on anything over 80 per cent.

Environment Canada officials met with representatives from more than a dozen Ontario industries, including auto and auto parts manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and a number of chemical firms, last week to begin the process of assessing how their competitiveness might be affected by the carbon price.

That plan is scheduled to come into effect in early 2019, and will be imposed on provinces that do not have a carbon pricing system of their own.

Somewhat surprisingly, given Saskatchewan's long-standing opposition to any form of carbon taxation, the document says the province, "Would have no constitutional objection if the federal government adopted a national carbon tax that applied uniformly all across the country".

Stewart Elgie, director of the University of Ottawa's Institute of the Environment, said the move to ease carbon taxes is necessary to give incentive for businesses to stay in Canada while they develop solutions to lower their carbon footprint.

"This is a sensible approach for both the environment and the economy", Mr. Elgie said.

Many industries in Canada are facing competitive pressure from the tariff war started by the United States, major to USA corporate taxes and a scaling back of US environmental policies.

"With the US tax changes previous year, the playing field has been very much tilted in favor of the United States when it comes to attracting manufacturing and capital", he said in an interview.

Phillips, who was also part of the PC team supporting Brown's efforts to tax carbon, said that Trudeau should cancel the "carbon tax". The association represents oil refiners, and Montreuil said he's hopeful refineries will be included in the 90 per cent group in the end. "That's why we are committed to use all available tools, including the courts, to oppose the federal government's carbon tax".

He said the refining sector is just as trade-exposed as lime and cement "so we don't understand why, this time, for this specific analysis that was just completed, we didn't make the cut".

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