Doug Ford was elected leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative (PC) party after a lengthy ballot count this past Saturday. While close in the polls, Ford’s win was still seen as an upset over perceived frontrunner (and winner of the popular vote) Christine Elliot, who had the most endorsements from caucus members and candidates. Ford will have less then three months to put together a platform, advertisements and round out his team in preparation for the provincial election on June 7th.
Ford will be faced with the daunting task of identifying a replacement for the carbon-pricing plan which he spoke vehemently against during the five-week leadership race. All four candidates vowed to scrap the Wynne cap and trade plan, Patrick Brown’s People’s Guarantee Carbon Tax and fight Justin Trudeau on the federal backstop.
A recent poll conducted by Forum Research on behalf of Clean Prosperity shows that 51% of Ontarians want more action on climate change than is already being done, and that “swing” voters – those who are only “somewhat likely” to vote PC in the upcoming election – are among those most supportive of climate action.
Ford has proudly boasted that he was first out of the gate in favour of scrapping the People’s Guarantee platform and carbon tax, suggesting that it will add to the province’s tax burden and prevent businesses from coming to Ontario. (This despite the fact that the People’s Guarantee promised to refund all carbon revenues as personal and corporate income tax cuts.)
Throughout both debates, he hinted that the other candidates “flip-flopped” on the issue. At this time, Ford has no plan to join the Pan Canadian Framework on Climate Change if elected. He plans to take the Trudeau government to court if forced to adopt the federal backstop. Only time will tell whether Ford will come to understand the economic opportunity of carbon pricing and make room for it in his platform.
We hope to continue to work across all parties and ensure climate change remains at the forefront of each party’s agenda in the upcoming election.