Ontario plans to introduce a law requiring any future government to put a new provincial carbon pricing program to a referendum, Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday while using the opportunity to take shots at the new Liberal leader.

He made the announcement in Mississauga, Ont., where Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie was until recently the mayor, and who recent polls suggest could pose a threat to Ford's Progressive Conservatives in the next election.

"People know where I stand on the carbon tax," Ford said at a news conference. "I've opposed it from the very beginning. My record couldn't be more different than Bonnie Crombie's."

Opposition parties called Ford's announcement "performative political games" and a "smokescreen."

Since Crombie became the front-runner in the Liberal leadership race in the fall, Ford and his caucus have often attacked the now-leader of the third-place party, rather than spending time talking about the official Opposition NDP.

"She supported the carbon tax right from the start," Ford said, parroting language used in Progressive Conservative attack ads against her.

"She's the queen of carbon tax. Even worse, she raised property taxes every year she was mayor. Bonnie has never seen a tax she wouldn't like to hike."

Crombie said in a written statement that Ford's tactics Tuesday were an attempt to distract Ontarians "with grandstanding ploys about federal debates."

"If he was actually interested in hearing what Ontarians thought, he would have held a referendum before selling off our health-care system, the Greenbelt, and Service Ontario," she wrote.

#Ontario Premier Doug Ford wants to hold a referendum on carbon pricing and used the announcement to take a swipe at his rival, Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie. #onpoli #CarbonTax

The carbon pricing referendum legislation announced Tuesday would just refer to provincial measures, not the federal carbon pricing system that went into effect in Ontario after Ford's government cancelled the previous provincial Liberal government's cap-and-trade program.

The government said the carbon pricing referendum legislation will be part of a larger bill titled the Get It Done Act, to be introduced after the legislature resumes sitting next week.

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner urged Ford to focus on issues such as long ER wait times, high housing costs and financial struggles facing post-secondary institutions.

"Instead of taking political potshots, why doesn’t this government try tackling any of the problems Ontarians are facing right now?" Schreiner wrote in a statement.

NDP Leader Marit Stiles said the announcement is "clearly a smokescreen" to distract from an ongoing criminal RCMP investigation into the now-reversed decision to open the Greenbelt for housing, a health-care crisis and loss in court on a wage restraint law.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 13, 2024.

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Striking similarity in the reactions of the Liberals, NDP and the Greens here!
It's almost like they're indistinguishable from each other, all being progressives and all, but Oh NO, let's line up for the good old narcissism of small differences thing AGAIN.
With the math being so basic, what else explains the folly of lining up to be divided and conquered by the likes of someone like Doug Ford FFS, a solid guy's guy who'll "get'er done" and takes great pride in being a "climate dissenter" from the beginning?
And knows he can still SAY THAT OUT LOUD as a valid POV?!!
And people in Alberta just VOTED for the female cheerleader version of that same insanity, with a large, affirmative dose of "lake of fire" religion and separatist leanings just for fun, AND to pile on, ALSO SAID OUT LOUD, AND with a straight face! And there are MORE.....What in hell is wrong with us?
Eight (and counting) lost years AND THE CONVOY haven't been enough to drive home the reality of what's happening across the country, even with it also happening in the States, just farther along, and bigger and louder in their trademark style? Even while the current federal agreement between the Liberals and NDP is the only thing enabling government to actually WORK like most people claim to want, particularly NOW?
It would seem that the calibre of people getting into politics has finally deteriorated in tandem with the discourse, which has also been a deliberate right wing strategy, to "flood the zone with BS" in order to alienate voters more and more from taking part, democracy being a given and all.
And how does no one recognize that uniting into one progressive party would be the stroke of genius that would truly "make it new" like nothing else, hence getting people's attention and providing hope at a time when it's so desperately needed? Even when THAT is clearly what has made the conservatives the supreme threat they now are when they're not normally the natural majority.
And it's not like a growing group of us haven't already lost faith in humanity in general.

Doug Ford must really think Ontarians are really dumb to not figure out his carbon pricing referendum is just pure nonsense and amounts to nothing but political posturing. We know Doug Ford or any conservative for that matter are climate dissenters and are just bad news for any province and our country, protecting oil & gas industry that are in their back pocket.

The best thing Ontarians can do or any province with failing conservative leadership is vote them out of existence.

Thanks so much, Doug.

Any more of our money you'd like to waste on useless garbage like this?

You've cost us more in legal fees, both to support your ... actions & suits, and their appeals when your stuff fails (as anyone with a brain would have anticipated), AND then rectifying the damage when you appeal.... We have NO input, and NO recourse.

Worst government I've ever seen in Ontario in my 75 years. Please just go away.