You've probably heard by that it seems there’s a difference of agreement on environmental policy between a federal political party and its governing provincial cousins:
The Alberta government is spending $25-million to spruce up the province's image for tourists, immigrant workers and environmental critics. As for the environment part of the message, Alberta should save the money. Alberta's climate change policy will soon be dead. It will be dead in the United States. It is already dead with the Harper government, even if the Harperites don't want publicly to administer last rites. It's dead with some of the smart people in the oil industry.
Oh, you were referring to the difference of opinion in the Liberal camp, with Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty supposedly being at odds with Stephane Dion’s in-progress carbon shift proposal? OK, we can talk about that one too:
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is at odds with his Ottawa cousins over a key plan to tax carbon emissions, saying he'd prefer a cap-and-trade system for the country's most populous province over a carbon tax.
The tax, which is expected to be a central plank in the federal Liberal election platform, is one way to put a price on carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but his "first choice" for Ontario is a cap-and-trade system, McGuinty said Tuesday.
Let’s look at what Dalton is actually saying, and what he didn’t say. He didn't say he's against a carbon shift. He said is “first choice” would be cap and trade. And his brother, surely a trusted source (sure David is a federal Liberal MP, but what would Mom say if he misrepresented Dalton’s views?) backs that up:
David McGuinty downplayed concerns that the carbon tax plan could drive a wedge between the Ontario and federal Liberals.
He said he had a "general discussion" with his brother about the merits of one system over another, but the premier didn't express an opinion about carbon taxes.
"It was more of an exchange of ideas around the two possibilities, the two primary market mechanisms that can be harnessed to achieve the same end, which is a price on carbon," McGuinty said.
In fact, a federal carbon tax could complement a provincial cap-and-trade system, he said.
"I think what the premier's said is, 'Look, given the here and now of the specificity of the Ontario economy, and how we would like to go forward in pricing carbon, we would rather go with a cap-and-trade system first,"' he said.
"But I doubt very much the premier's ruling out the notion of a carbon tax shift."
So, there you go. Dalton isn’t against a carbon shift, he just feels that for Ontario, and the provincial level, cap and trade would be best. It’s Dalton’s job to advocate what’s best for Ontario. And it’s Stephane Dion’s to advocate what’s best for Canada. I’m confident the two positions are far from mutually exclusive.
Indeed, as David (and lots of experts, and much of Europe) has said cap and trade and a carbon shift would (and overseas, do) compliment each other nicely, so any talk of a rift here is just media over dramatization. Nothing in the story, no direct quotes, supports the headline.
And as I mentioned the other, one benefit of the way the Liberal Party is developing this policy, and the fact that it hasn’t been finalized yet, is that the concerns of Premier McGuinty and Ontario can be heard, considered, and factored into the final policy.
I hope, and I trust, that we’re consulting right now with our provincial cousins, or in David’s case with his brother, to ensure the input of Ontario, and all the provinces, is factored into the final carbon tax shift policy before it is unveiled so that we can develop a proposal for federal environmental policy that works in harmony with, and compliments, the important work being done by many provinces.
I think that, in the end, Dalton’s input will only lead to a stronger, more effective and widely accepted policy. That would be a win win for Ontario, and for Canada.Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers