Incongruent Provincial Climate Change Politics


Is Doug Ford's stance vis-a-vis the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (colloquially "federal carbon tax") finally starting to make sense?  The answer to this question may well be in the eye of the beholder.  Taken at face value, Doug Ford's public actions relative to the federal carbon tax unmistakenly demonstrate strong political discontent with the reach and relevance of federal climate change politics in relation to Ontario.  Since coming into force on April 1, 2019, for instance, Doug Ford has: 
  • brought a constitutional challenge to invalidate the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, i.e.  federal carbon tax
  • introduced legislation that would mandate the over 3,000 gas stations across Ontario to display "federal carbon tax cost stickers" at the pumps displaying the added cost of the carbon tax; 
  • vowed to form an "anti-carbon tax alliance" with conservative premiers from Alberta and Saskatchewan; 
  • frequently referred to the federal carbon tax as "job-killing" legislation, going so far as to make unsupported claims that it will lead to a recession;
  • repealed a number of climate change laws and policies from previous liberal governments, such as Kathlene Wynne's elaborate and modernized Electric Vehicle Incentive Program, which aimed to encourage and facilitate the transition of Ontario's transportation sector from gas to electric-powered vehicles, or her "cap-and-trade" program.
At face value, the above-mentioned actions taken by Doug Ford's Progressive Conservative government of Ontario visibly demonstrate strong dissatisfaction and opposition to Justin Trudeau's federal carbon tax and other liberal climate change policies.

Yet, other actions taken by Doug Ford appear incongruent with Doug Ford's apparent stance on the federal carbon tax and liberal climate change politics, indicating that perhaps Doug Ford's climate change politics should not be taken at face value.  Perhaps most notable in this regard is how Doug Ford elected or, opted into the federal carbon tax by: (1) repealing Kathleen Wynne's "cap-and-trade" program; and (2) by passively failing to implement an alternative "Made-in-Ontario" climate plan thereafter, thus automatically electing the federal carbon tax as the applicable default setting.

More recently, Doug Ford's Progressive Conservative government also seems to have silently endorsed the federal carbon tax in a television ad. In the said ad, a narrator enumerates ways in which it is believed that the federal carbon tax would raise prices on everything from gas to groceries, while images show money pouring out of fuel pumps, air vents at the grocery store, store shelves, leaving the viewer with the incongruent impression that the federal carbon tax does function properly by giving money back to the people.


Finally, Doug Ford was also the relentless crusader behind a multi-million dollar constitutional challenge before the Ontario Court of Appeal that seeks to nullify the federal carbon tax.  At face value, a constitutional challenge to the federal carbon tax would appear to indicate that Doug Ford is strongly opposed to a federal carbon tax taking hold on the province of Ontario.  However, when one takes a closer look at the arguments that underpin Ontario's constitutional challenge, one begins to seriously question the sincere and genuine character behind Doug Ford's constitutional challenge.  The political motivation behind constitutional challenges to the federal carbon tax was easily unmasked by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, which upheld the federal carbon tax as being constitutional, in full

Comments