Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a discussion at the Nature Champions Summit in Montreal on Thursday, April 25, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Trudeau says Ontario ‘shortsighted and irresponsible’ for challenging carbon tax

Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick may also challenge the carbon tax

The Ontario government’s attempt to block the federal carbon tax is shortsighted and irresponsible, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told an environment conference in Montreal Thursday.

But Trudeau’s criticism of those who disagree with his government’s plan to address climate change didn’t stop at Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s administration.

Trudeau accused some federal opposition parties of denying climate change even exists and said other provinces joining Ontario in challenging the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act are wasting public money.

“Look no further than Ontario to find a provincial government that is wasting taxpayer’s money fighting climate action in court,” Trudeau told a room full of delegates at the Nature Champions Summit. “It’s shortsighted and irresponsible and frankly, Canadians deserve better.”

READ MORE: Canfor temporarily shutting down lumber mills across B.C.

Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick are all either challenging the carbon tax or have signalled an intent to do so.

Lawyers for the province of Ontario argued in court last week that Trudeau’s plan to impose a levy on gasoline, other fossil fuels and industry is an overstep of federal authority. On Wednesday, Manitoba filed documents seeking a judicial review to quash the federal tax on similar grounds.

The Trudeau government’s tax only applies to Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Saskatchewan — four provinces Ottawa says don’t meet national standards on greenhouse gas emissions.

After Trudeau’s short speech he was met on stage by high-profile Quebec environmentalist Steven Guilbeault for an armchair discussion. Guilbeault, who is currently advising the federal government on ways to address climate change, steered clear of contentious issues in his questions.

Sitting opposite the prime minister on stage, Guilbeault said most Canadians don’t know how “entrenched” Trudeau’s desire to protect nature is.

“I was hoping you could tell us a little bit about where this passion for nature protection comes from,” the environmental activist said to Trudeau.

The prime minister said it came from playing outside as a child.

READ MORE: Budget watchdog says carbon rebate will be more than carbon tax for most Canadians

Guilbeault has acknowledged he is being courted by the Liberals to run for the party in the October federal election. He told reporters he hasn’t decided whether to enter politics.

“I’ve been approached by more than one federal political party,” he said. “I haven’t made a decision yet. I have a mandate with the federal government to produce a report (on climate action) around May or June, so I’ll make no decision before that work is done.”

Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sexual assault stories from treeplanting camps ‘shocking but not surprising’

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Fernie Firefighters brush up on ice rescue training

The Fire Department urges residents to take extra caution around bodies of water in the coming weeks

Fernie athletes win Calgary soccer tournament

The Fernie U12 boys team won their first ever indoor soccer tournament

International Fly Fishing Film Festival coming to Fernie

The festival will air at the Vogue Theatre on March 5

Ghostriders win in double overtime

Ending their season on a high note, the Riders are ready for playoffs to begin on Friday

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Lawyer gets house arrest for possessing child porn

Maple Ridge resident gets nine-month term

Most Read