Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna speaks during an announcement in Ottawa, Monday August 26, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna speaks during an announcement in Ottawa, Monday August 26, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Provinces, territories to have input in future price of carbon tax, McKenna says

Catherine McKenna also said the Liberal government’s plan for the tax hadn’t changed

Any decisions about future increases in the carbon tax would take into account the views of provinces and territories, the federal environment minister says, using language that sparked accusations from Conservatives that she was misleading voters about the future of the levy.

But Catherine McKenna also said the Liberal government’s plan for the tax hadn’t changed and there was “no secret agenda” by the party to pump up the price on carbon beyond the $50 per tonne it will reach in 2022.

McKenna maintained Monday that her language on possible increases in the price on carbon had been consistent, even though in June she said the price of carbon “will not go up,” which at the time was taken as a pledge that the price would remain fixed beyond 2022. At the time, she pointed to other aspects of the Liberal government’s climate plan as proof of how it would achieve Canada’s emissions reduction targets.

On Monday, she said there was still “no intention” to raise the price after 2022, which is when there will be a review of the carbon tax under the terms of the 2016 framework on climate change. If there were any new decision on pricing, it would be the product of extensive consultation, McKenna said.

She added that the government was fulfilling promises set out following a lengthy negotiation with provinces and territories completed in 2016. As for beyond 2022, McKenna said she was not in a position to negotiate anything after that time.

“Look, there will be an election in 2023, and I think that might be a discussion for that election,” she said.

McKenna denied she was attempting to avoid talking about the future costs of a price on carbon until after this fall’s federal election, where the levy is a point of debate.

Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre quickly labelled what he saw as an apparent shift in position for this fall’s election as a “carbon tax cover-up” in a press conference held earlier in the day.

The federal Conservatives have said they would eliminate the carbon tax if elected in October, and several conservative provincial governments have challenged the price in court.

“If this was such a popular idea, why are they covering it up? Why did Catherine McKenna stand up and deny that the tax would go above $50 (per tonne)? We know why — because they were trying to keep it secret until the election was over when they no longer need voters, but still need their money,” Poilievre said.

McKenna criticized the Conservative as having no real plans of their own, likening Poilievre and Leader Andrew Scheer to Ontario Premier Doug Ford in that “they don’t understand that we need to take action on climate change.”

Liberal candidate and prominent environmentalist Steven Guilbeault — whom McKenna referenced in her remarks — also weighed in, writing on Twitter that walking back a pledge to cap the price at $50 per tonne was “a very good thing” and that the “price should reflect the cost of climate change to society.”

READ MORE: Kenney takes aim at Trudeau directly ahead of fall federal election

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau seeks to highlight climate policy in visit to Canada’s Far North

READ MORE: Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

Christian Paas-Lang, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of three Sooke men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
B.C. musician records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s close connection to director led to rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

A 50-year-old man was stabbed in an altercation that started with a disagreement about physical distancing. (File photo)
Argument about physical distancing leads to stabbing in Nanaimo

Suspect arrested on Gabriola Island an hour after incident Wednesday, Feb. 24

A battery electric-hybrid ferry, pictured here, is expected to make its way to Vancouver Island in late 2021, says B.C. Ferries. (Submitted photo)
Hybrid ferry for Gabriola-Nanaimo route launches in shipyard in Europe

Two hybrid vessels to replace MV Quinsam by early 2022, says B.C. Ferries

G.P. Vanier in Courtenay has six members of the community who have tested positive; Island Health identified seven staff and 78 students who will be required to self-isolate. Black Press file photo
Eight sick, 108 more isolating in Comox Valley school district due to COVID-19

District says that all who tested positive did not contract COVID-19 within the school sites

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

The BC SPCA is offering many chances for school-aged kids to learn about animal welfare and other animal topics. Pictured here is Keith, a three-month-old kitten seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
From pets to wildlife, BC SPCA offers animal education programs geared to youth

BC SPCA offering virtual spring break camps, workshops and school presentations

Most Read