Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Federal Government Sends Mixed Messages on How Provinces Can Price Carbon

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Federal Government Sends Mixed Messages on How Provinces Can Price Carbon

Article excerpt

Feds send mixed messages on carbon pricing

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OTTAWA - Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil is pointing to differing messages coming from the federal Liberal government over what constitutes a price on carbon.

The Trudeau government has promised to negotiate a pan-Canadian climate plan this fall with the provinces and territories in order to put Canada on track to meet its international Paris accord commitments.

In advance of a full meeting of all the environment ministers a week from Monday in Montreal, federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has said a national carbon price is coming as part of the plan -- and that only a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system are considered acceptable pricing options.

"There are two ways you can price carbon," said McKenna said last week in New York, where she was attending United Nations meetings. "There's a cap-and-trade and there is a carbon tax."

But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared to leave the door open to a broader interpretation of carbon pricing in an interview two days earlier with Buzzfeed.

Trudeau pointed to the Vancouver Declaration signed last March by all the premiers, which agreed to explore carbon pricing as a means to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"Now what form that takes, whether it's a carbon tax, whether it's a cap-and-trade, whether it's through regulations, there's all sorts of interesting and important discussion to be had, we have very different jurisdictions across the country," said Trudeau.

"All premiers have agreed we need to have a price on carbon and we're going to move forward and we're going to reduce emissions. That's something that yes, we're going to make sure that everyone does. But we're going to do it in a kind of collaborative way."

A spokesman in the Prime Minister's Office clarified Sunday that "the prime minister was not suggesting that regulations are a third category for provinces to achieve that national price on carbon. …

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