Canada will soften the impact of a planned carbon tax on major emitters of greenhouse gases after businesses complained it would make them less competitive with the United States, officials said on Wednesday.
The Liberal government said the changed guidelines were aimed at addressing concerns among industries that are at a high risk of suffering from foreign competition.
But those reductions weren't enough to sway opponents. "What we're seeing here today is a watered down initiative of what is essentially economic poison in the nation of Canada", Moe told BNN Bloomberg in an interview on Wednesday.
At a news conference on Thursday, two of Ford's senior cabinet ministers said they were filing papers at the Ontario Court of Appeal to challenge the constitutionality of the federal government setting rules in place to require polluters to pay. The provincial government says it's not opposed to reducing emissions, but argues that the tax is unconstitutional.
FILE PHOTO: Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change in Canada, answers a question during the Concordia Summit in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 19, 2017.
"Let's be clear-we can't afford to let big polluters off the hook", McKenna said in an emailed statement. We want to have the most energy efficient, smart industries here that create good jobs, at the same time do what we need to do to tackle emissions.
"The decision on whether or not this tax moves forward, in my opinion, is going to be right where it should be: in the hands of Canadian voters".
The change only reduced the amount that heavy emitters or large corporations have to pay on emissions, but did nothing for Canadian households, said Moe.
Ford's government has introduced legislation to scrap cap and trade and cancel programs financed through its revenues, which include rebates for energy-efficient renovations, transit projects and a fund for school repairs. This case is not even about whether a carbon tax is a good or a bad way to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change.
"We are a prime candidate for carbon leakage ... you just pack up your business and go to someplace that doesn't have a carbon tax and you continue to produce vehicles".
"This is a sensible approach for both the environment and the economy", Mr. Elgie said.
Mr. Elgie said that it's unlikely that any firm would be able to drop their emissions by 30 per cent in the next few years, as was originally demanded in the original carbon-tax plan.
Taxing above 10 to 20 per cent would hurt a company's ability to innovate and find a viable solution, Elgie said. Companies that stand to benefit, such as producers of steel, fertilizer, and cement, had no comment.
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