The Manitoba government says it is pulling out of its plan to charge a carbon tax and is joining some other provinces opposed to the federal government’s demands.
Premier Brian Pallister says Ottawa has not respected the province’s right to come up with its own plan with a lower rate.
“We fought hard to try to get certainty with our plan, we haven’t been able to get it and now we have no choice, in my estimation to stand up and say no,” Pallister said.
The federal government has demanded provinces charge a tax on carbon emissions starting at $10 per tonne by the end of this year and rising to $50 per tonne by 2022.
Manitoba planned to charge a flat $25 per tonne that would not rise, starting Dec. 1, and obtained a legal opinion that it had the constitutional right to do so.
Pallister says Ottawa has refused in the ensuing months to back down from a threat to impose its own plan on the province.
“If you say no, you get Trudeau. And if you say yes you get Trudeau in a year,” Pallister said.
As a result, he says Manitoba is backing away from any carbon tax and will focus instead on other efforts to curb emissions.
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Opposition leader Wab Kinew says Manitoba’s climate plan has been a flop from the start.
“This is a bad move for the people of Manitoba, it represents uncertainty for the average family,” Kinew said. “What is the cost of gas? And for cities and municipalities who are trying to plan transit for next year.”
“The premier has thrown risk on the situation, just because he wants to pick another political fight with Trudeau.”
Pallister said the ball is now in the federal government’s hands and he won’t rule out a date in court.
–with files from Kevin Hirschfield
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