01/21/2019 15:34 EST | Updated 01/23/2019 15:01 EST

Doug Ford Called Out For Claiming Trudeau Carbon Tax Will Trigger Recession

Ford's theory isn't backed up by any research, one group of economists says.

Nathan Denette/Canadian Press
Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks at the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto on Jan. 21, 2019.

TORONTO — Environmentalists slammed Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Monday for claiming the federal government's carbon tax could plunge Canada into a recession.

"It is simply not true that pricing pollution causes a recession," Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said in a statement.

"Alberta and BC continue to lead the country in economic growth and both provinces have carbon pricing in place ... It's dangerous and disappointing for the Premier to mislead the public about pollution pricing."

Ford made the claim in a speech to the Economic Club of Canada in downtown Toronto.

"I'm here today to ring the warning bell that the risk of a carbon tax recession is very, very real,'' he said.

His Progressive Conservative government scrapped Ontario's cap-and-trade system after it was elected last spring saying it was a "cash grab'' that didn't help the environment and has since launched a legal challenge of the federal government's carbon pricing plan.

I'm here today to ring the warning bell that the risk of a carbon tax recession is very, very real.Premier Doug Ford

Ford said Ontario does not need a carbon tax to help it reach its emission targets, pointing to his government's new climate change plan introduced late last year. His government's policy does include a type of pollution pricing adopted from the federal plan.

Ford renewed his calls for the Trudeau government to abandon its plan to put a price on carbon.

"A carbon tax will be a total economic disaster, not only for our province but for our entire country,'' he said. "There are already economic warning signs on the horizon.''

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His claim is not backed up by any substantial evidence, according to an independent group of economists that work on environmental and fiscal policy.

"Our research at the Ecofiscal Commission — as well as a wide body of literature — shows that the economic impacts from carbon pricing and revenue recycling will be very modest," the commission said in a press release.

It will also be expensive to do nothing about climate change, the group notes, citing a study that estimated the impacts are expected to cost the Canadian economy $5 billion in 2020.

With files from The Canadian Press

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