POLITICS
10/23/2018 14:59 EDT | Updated 10/23/2018 14:59 EDT

Justin Trudeau Denies Trolling Doug Ford With Carbon Tax Event On Premier's Turf

The prime minister chose the premier's riding of Etobicoke for his press conference.

Nathan Denette/Canadian Press
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to students at Humber College in Etobicoke, Ont. on Oct. 23, 2018.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to the heart of Ford Nation to explain how money raised through a carbon tax will go directly back to Canadians in provinces that are fighting his climate plan.

Trudeau held the press conference Tuesday at Humber College in Doug Ford's home turf of Etobicoke — but denied that his choice of scenery had anything to do with the Ontario premier.

"I don't see provincial premiers as opponents, I see them as partners," Trudeau said when a reporter asked if Ford — whose rumoured national ambitions are already sparking chatter — is now his biggest political adversary.

"This has been [Science Minister] Kirsty Duncan's riding since we both got elected together way back when in 2008. And this is an issue that is both perfectly suited to Humber College with its leadership on environmental issues and perfectly suited to Kirsty as our minister of science," the prime minister said.

Ford moved to scrap Ontario's cap-and-trade system, which would have exempted the province from a federally-imposed carbon tax, just four days after taking office.

I don't see provincial premiers as opponents, I see them as partners.Justin Trudeau

Trudeau said Tuesday that Ontario — as well as Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick — will now get a national carbon tax plan. Ford has promised to take the federal government to court.

"We will not take this lightly," the premier said in a statement Tuesday. "We will take this fight all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary."

Ford said the scheme, which he regularly calls "the worst tax ever," won't do anything to help the environment.

Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press
Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks to supporters at an anti-carbon tax rally in Calgary on Oct. 5, 2018.

Trudeau was asked to respond to that argument at the press conference in Etobicoke.

"We know, and it's basic economics, that if you start putting a price on something you don't want, people will look at ways of not having to pay that price," Trudeau said. "But don't take my word for it. Take the word of the Nobel Prize in economics winner."

In early October, Nobel Prize winner Paul Romer said a carbon tax is a simple way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"People will see that there's a big profit to be made from figuring out ways to supply energy where they can do it without incurring the tax," Romer told CBC's As It Happens. "The problem is not knowing what to do. The problem is getting a consensus to act."

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