A Mulroney took a shot at a Trudeau on Thursday, as a leading contender in the Ontario Tory leadership race disavowed a key plank of her party’s climate change policy.
Caroline Mulroney says she is against "Justin Trudeau's carbon tax," after speaking with “hundreds” of members of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.
The PC Party leadership candidate made the announcement Thursday. It's a shift from her stance earlier this week, when she had pointed out how the federal carbon pricing plan would be imposed on the province if Queen’s Park didn’t play along.
She now says she’s “had the opportunity to speak with hundreds of members of our party” as well as caucus members and candidates, and has decided to take a harder stance.
"I’m a conservative and I’m not in favour of a new tax, especially Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax," she wrote in the statement. "It’s clear to me that members of the Ontario PC Party feel that imposing a carbon tax on the hardworking people of Ontario is not something they support.
“As the leader of our party I will not support a carbon tax. As premier of Ontario I am going to explore options to oppose it."
Mulroney did not expand on what “options” would be available to her.
Ontario already has a carbon market under its cap and trade program. The province also formally joined the Quebec-California carbon market on Jan. 1, allowing the three state and provincial governments to jointly hold auctions of carbon pollution allowances.
"I’m a conservative and I’m not in favour of a new tax, especially Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax," said PCPO leadership candidate Caroline Mulroney.
The federal pricing scheme is called a “backstop” system which provides for minimum standards, and imposes a federal system on provinces that don't have their own such systems in place, or don't meet the standards.
The PC Party's 2018 platform says the party will "opt in" to the federal carbon price backstop but "dismantle" the cap-and-trade system.
I really thought we had taken a step toward making #climate a non-partisan issue in Canada. Mulroney's announcement today is a sad step backward.— Gerald Butts 🇨🇦 (@gmbutts) February 8, 2018
The news provoked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's principal secretary, Gerald Butts, to fire back at Mulroney.
"I really thought we had taken a step toward making climate a non-partisan issue in Canada. Mulroney's announcement today is a sad step backward," he tweeted.
Fellow leadership candidates Doug Ford and Christine Elliott are also skeptical of putting a price on carbon pollution. Ford has dismissed it as a “tax grab” while Elliott has said she’s “not personally in favour of it," but wanted to speak with caucus and candidates.