Trudeau told an audience at the Calgary Petroleum Club in February that a Liberal government would set national targets for reducing carbon emissions, but allow provinces to design their own policies to meet them.
He said he would work with the premiers to establish a standard and provide federal funding within a few months if he wins the federal election scheduled for mid-October.
Rickford told reporters in Calgary on Thursday that Trudeau's plan would would damage the economy.
"Mr. Trudeau envisions the federal government co-ordinating and overseeing the efforts of provinces and territories implementation of carbon pricing," Rickford said.
"And to encourage them on Mr. Trudeau is promising to supply provinces and territories with a new medicare-sized transfer payment, which we all know is currently pegged at $34 billion per year."
Trudeau has indicated he prefers a flexible approach rather than the idea of imposing a "one-size-fits-all'' plan.
He said some provinces have already begun bringing in their own efforts, including carbon taxes in British Columbia and Quebec, and a mix of regulation and cap-and-trade in Alberta.
Rickford said if the Liberal plan were to go ahead Canadians would pay more for everything from gas to groceries.
He said Canada needs to coordinate its carbon policy with major trading partners — most notably the United States, instead of moving unilaterally on emissions like Trudeau proposes to do.
"Out of step with our trading partners, regardless of the impact that would have on our economic competitiveness," he said.
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