Ontario taking GHG hard line

Ontario is taking a hard line ahead of a meeting on climate changetoday involving Canada’s environment ministers, warning that a nationalcap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gases cannot “discriminate”against the country’s most populous province.
Published : November 25, 2009

Ontario is taking a hard line ahead of a meeting on climate change today involving Canada’s environment ministers, warning that a national cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gases cannot “discriminate” against the country’s most populous province.

Coupled with Quebec’s earlier call for Ottawa to raise its targets, the stage may be set for a contentious battle to hammer out a made-in-Canada plan that will put a price on carbon.

Any gains generated in Ontario from a national cap-and-trade system must remain in provincial hands, Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday in laying out his demands for the meeting to be held in Ottawa.

“When we have that plan in place, it had better not discriminate against Ontarians who have in fact worked long and hard to reduce our emissions,” he said. “We have made considerable progress in our plan. We don’t want that progress to benefit another part of the country, to relieve them of their obligation to make progress as well.”

McGuinty didn’t single out any regions that may benefit from Ontario’s planned emission reductions.

But discrimination could occur if Ontario’s “hard work” in reducing emissions lets other provinces “off the hook,” he said.

“We didn’t move forward as Ontarians, we didn’t add additional costs to our electricity, to relieve other Canadians of their obligation to make prog­ress in their own way.”

The premier said he received assurances from federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice that a Canadian cap-and-trade regime would be “respectful” of his government’s wishes.

Prentice’s Ontario counterpart, John Gerretsen, remained tight-lipped on whether the federal, provincial and territorial environment ministers would be able to find common ground at today’s meeting.

The meeting will brief the ministers on the Canadian position on climate change ahead of a United Nations summit in Copenhagen next month.

 
 
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