Last Saturday, Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown introduced his party’s new platform, called the “People’s Guarantee”, to party faithful attending their policy convention.

The early release of the platform leading into the June 2018 provincial election will give voters time to digest Brown’s bold initiatives, including those affecting the environment and climate change.

Brown supported climate action, saying that “Climate change is real, but climate change is not an excuse for a tax grab.” Under the People’s Guarantee, Brown would eliminate the current cap and trade system established by the Liberal government, and the $1.9 billion per year “Climate Change Action Plan” set up to spend carbon revenues on environment and climate related programs.

The federal carbon pricing benchmark is the carbon tax regime proposed by the federal government as a minimum standard for all provinces across the country, with a carbon tax starting at $10 per year in 2018 and rising to $50 in 2022.

In its place, Brown will opt into the federal carbon pricing benchmark by adopting a revenue neutral carbon tax, a policy long advocated by Canadians for Clean Prosperity. The tax would start at $20 in 2019 and rise to $50 per tonne by 2022 – about 11.6 cents per litre on gasoline. Under the PC plan, all carbon tax revenues would be returned to Ontario taxpayers.

The largest tax cut would be reducing two lowest provincial income tax rates by 10% and 22.5%, along with other measures including an increase to the Ontario Sales tax Credit for low income households, a rebate of up to 75% on childcare expenses, and a cut to the small business tax rate. As we noted in our recent Maclean’s editorial, a carbon tax at $50 per tonne would reduce emissions in Ontario by over 11 megatonnes per year by 2022. Over the five-year period, a carbon tax would achieve 10.5 megatonnes more in Ontario emissions reductions than the current cap and trade system.

Other environment related initiatives within the platform include

  • Taking action against sewage dumping into Ontario’s Lakes and Rivers
  • Committing $50 million for initiation that will support the cleaning up of the Great Lakes
  • Invest $20 million to help our cities, suburbs and towns upgrade parks

Further information on Patrick’s Brown “People’s Guarantee” platform:

Patrick Brown’s plan deserves a serious look from voters: Editorial (Toronto Star)
Patrick Brown offers voters an alternative with the ‘People’s Guarantee’(Toronto Sun)
You can argue it’s ‘Liberal lite,’ but Ontario PC platform offers a pathway to victory (National Post)
Pragmatism on steroids: An Ontario PC platform that could actually work(Globe and Mail)

Canada and the UK Take the Lead at Bonn on “Powering Past Coal”

COP23 wrapped up last week after two weeks of climate change discussions in Bonn, Germany. Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna used COP23 as a platform to discuss the “Powering Past Coal” initiative, focusing on the elimination of coal-fired power by 2030. McKenna and her British counterpart, Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry Claire Perry, urged other countries to commit to phase out traditional coal fired plants and to support a moratorium on new coal fired generation (excepting plants with full carbon capture and storage).

Coal is responsible for more than 40% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Last year, the federal Liberal government committed to phasing out coal by 2030. 25 countries and subnational jurisdictions, including France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Mexico, also signed on to the declaration.