SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)- Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has vowed to adopt carbon pricing to combat climate change if he becomes prime minister, proposing a medicare-style model that would see Ottawa set national targets and enforce principles but allow provinces to manage their own systems.
The Liberal Leader launched his climate policy – which will be a major plank in his election platform – during a speech Friday at Calgary’s Petroleum Club, whose oil industry members are struggling to cope with the steep drop in global crude prices over the past eight months.
He slammed Stephen Harper for failing to lead on climate policy, saying the Prime Minister has given Canada a black eye internationally, which has hurt the industry’s efforts to build much-needed crude pipelines. And he said the New Democratic Party wants to impose a “one-size-fits-all solution from Ottawa,” with its proposed cap-and-trade approach.
Mr. Trudeau is attempting to walk a fine line: on the one hand, supporting pipelines and the growth of the oil sands industry, while insisting the country needs federal leadership in combatting climate change. He is also leaving the key details of any national system – actual price per tonne of greenhouse emissions, whether a tax or cap-and-trade – to a first ministers’ conference which would not occur until after the election scheduled for October.
But he made it clear that his plan includes a price on carbon, and that all provinces would be expected to carry their share of the burden.
“Many in this room believe that a price on carbon is good for the environment, for the economy, and for Alberta’s oil and gas sector,” he said in a speech to the business audience, noting many companies already operate with an assumed carbon price.
“You know Canada needs to have a price on carbon. The good news is that we’re already on our way.”
He cited policies in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, and noted that Ontario will soon be introducing some form of price on carbon, either through a tax or a cap-and-trade system similar to Quebec’s. Mr. Trudeau said the country needs federal leadership, but not Ottawa acting alone.
“The problem is the provincial approaches are unco-ordinated, and limited by a lack of federal leadership,” he said.
He said he would travel to the United Nations’ climate summit in Paris in December, where countries hope to conclude a treaty on emission, and send the message that “Canada takes its environmental responsibilities seriously, and we will do more in the fight against climate change.”