Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna says she was "disappointed" by her first meeting with her new Ontario counterpart. Rod Phillips says the feeling was mutual.
The two got off to a rough start with Phillips suggesting the federal government is being "dogmatic" by insisting on "the Trudeau carbon tax solution" and McKenna faulting the new Ontario government for apparently having no plan to replace the cap and trade and green programs they canceled as soon as they took office.
Phillips reasserted Ontario's threat to take the fight over a potential federally-imposed carbon tax to the Supreme Court, taking the same tack as Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe who recently launched a constitutional reference case.
Ont. Minister of Environment @RodPhillips01 met with Fed. Minister @cathmckenna today, Phillips says he's "disappointed" Mckenna wasn't open to Ontario's move to scrap the carbon tax #onpoli pic.twitter.com/DGI8Ad8DDz— Farrah Merali (@FarrahMerali) July 18, 2018
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McKenna criticized Ontario over its recent decisions to cancel climate change and green energy policies. She said that Ontario wasn't doing enough to support the economy.
"I'm disappointed to see the new government in Ontario has no plan to help families, schools and businesses reduce emissions, save money and create good jobs," McKenna said in a statement. "Climate change doesn't stop with a change in government."
McKenna has previously said that the Trudeau government was reviewing about $420 million in federal transfer payments to Ontario because the newly-elected Progressive Conservative government of Premier Doug Ford was dismantling the cap and trade carbon program and offering no new plan.
“Our government has a plan to protect the environment and grow the economy and it’s working," McKenna said after meeting Phillips. "We are reducing pollution and our economy is growing, with half a million full-time jobs added in two years. We will continue to work with all Canadians to protect the environment, grow the economy, and create good middle-class jobs.”
The two met a day after Guelph’s Green MPP Mike Schreiner asked the premier in the legislature whether or not the government has an economic analysis of canceling cap and trade, a policy decision some experts have estimated may cost the province up to $4 billion.
Ford deferred to Phillips and the minister did not directly reply, instead claiming that Ontario residents do not want it in place.
Green Party MPP Mike Schreiner rises for the first time in Queen’s Park to ask whether PC’s have done an economic analysis of the decision to dismantle green energy projects, and if so, will they share it #ONpoli pic.twitter.com/ClBdcbMxB1— Farrah Merali (@FarrahMerali) July 17, 2018
Schreiner referred to the premier’s throne speech in his first Queen’s Park address on Tuesday, decrying Ford’s “dismantling of Ontario’s limited climate plans without offering any alternative.”
“Combined with the cancellation of renewable energy contracts, this sends a clear message to businesses in Ontario and around the world that the new government is thumbing its nose at the $7 trillion clean economy,” said Schreiner.
"I just think it's irresponsible for the government to scrap Ontario's climate change plans without conducting an economic analysis to understand what the impact is going to be.
The Green Party Leader later said that he hopes they do ultimately undertake the research, but doesn't believe it's happened yet.
"Well I think if you look at both the minister's response and the premier's office response, there is no economic analysis," Schreiner told National Observer in a telephone interview. "As a matter of fact, I don't even know if they thought about conducting one until I asked the question yesterday."