TORONTO — Ontario will scrap its cap-and-trade system and challenge federal rules on carbon pricing as soon as the newly elected Progressive Conservatives take power at the end of the month, premier-designate Doug Ford vowed Friday.
Calling the system ineffective and a burden on families, Ford said he will give notice of the province's withdrawal from the carbon pricing market it shares with Quebec and California.
Ford said the government will provide clear rules for an "orderly wind down" of cap and trade, but did not specify when the legislature will be recalled to implement the bill needed to dismantle the system put in place by the outgoing Liberals.
"Today, I want to confirm that in Ontario the carbon tax's days are numbered," he said. "In fact, upon the swearing in of my new cabinet at the top of our agenda, the very first item will be to pass an order to cancel the Liberal cap-and-trade carbon tax."
Eliminating cap and trade will help deliver on a campaign promise to cut gasoline prices by 10 cents per litre, Ford said.
Ford also said he would challenge the federal government's rules requiring provinces to have carbon pricing in place.
"I will (be) directing my attorney general to use all available resources, to use every power at the government's disposal, we will officially challenge the federal government carbon tax on Ontario families," he said. "Because the cap-and-trade and carbon tax does nothing for the environment."
During the spring election campaign, Ford's team estimated the legal challenge would cost taxpayers $30 million over four years.
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The cap-and-trade system aims to lower greenhouse gas emissions by putting caps on the amount of pollution companies in certain industries can emit. If they exceed those limits they must buy allowances at quarterly auctions or from other companies that come in under their limits.
Ontario has made close to $3 billion in a series of cap-and-trade auctions since the system was introduced by the Liberals last year.
Ford has consistently opposed carbon pricing and has come under fire for failing to explain how he would make up for the lost revenue.
Keith Stewart, a senior energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada, slammed Ford for his planned moves.
"By abandoning action on climate change, Doug Ford is simply raising the extreme weather tax which is already wrecking homes, crops and public infrastructure," he said in a statement.