Ottawa willing to impose carbon price if impasse drags on
The federal government is prepared to impose a national price on carbon if Canada’s premiers fail to come to an agreement on their own, CBC News has learned.
Putting a price tag on pollution would pit Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government against some provincial premiers who see the move as another blow to an enfeebled economy.
Trudeau is meeting with premiers and territorial leaders today in Vancouver.
A senior official close to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Liberal government campaigned on environmental change and won a majority.
“We feel that we’ve got a mandate to do it. And we want to do it in co-operation with the provinces,” the official said. “But at the end of the day we are going to do it.”
Federal action isn’t imminent, but Ottawa won’t allow carbon price talks to drag on indefinitely.
“This should be a conversation about how we are going to price carbon, not whether,” said the source.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has been the loudest critic of a carbon tax, saying it will only hammer an already sluggish energy sector.
Wall told reporters on Wednesday that he wasn’t alone in his position, and that’s been backed up in public and private statements by officials from other provinces here in Vancouver.
“You’re going to hear a lot more about carbon management than carbon pricing,” said one premier in explaining the view in their private meetings.
Five provinces already have a price on carbon. Penalizing polluters financially is aimed at curbing the greenhouse gases that cause climate change. (Source: CBC News)