What if Ontario scrapped cap-and-trade for a carbon tax?

Published in Macleans. By: Marc Cameron

Mark Cameron is the executive director of Canadians for Clean Prosperity.

Starting in 2018, every Canadian province will be required to implement carbon pricing—either with a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system—or face the federal government imposing a “backstop” carbon tax following federal benchmark rules. While every province except Saskatchewan has indicated that they will bring in carbon pricing, there are still big differences in how provincial carbon pricing will work. While British Columbia and Alberta have instituted carbon taxes, Ontario and Quebec opted for cap-and-trade systems, linking them to California’s Western Climate Initiative.

Ontario’s PC Leader, Patrick Brown, has said that he wants to keep carbon pricing, but has criticized Ontario’s system in part because of this outflow of dollars to California. He has indicated that he prefers a revenue-neutral carbon tax. In the Ontario PC Party’s recently completed policy process, 87.5 per cent of party members voted to “dismantle cap and trade, withdraw from the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), and to return 100 per cent of revenues from Trudeau’s federal carbon pricing benchmark to taxpayers.”

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