TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford reverted to his pre-pandemic self Friday after the federal government said it would increase the carbon tax every year for a decade and spend $15 billion to reduce emissions.
“I’m a strong believer of protecting the environment. But you don’t have to protect the environment on the backs of the hard-working people of this province and of this country at a time that people are just barely holding on by their fingernails.
“I was floored when I heard this. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t believe it. I had to double check.”
He called the tax an economic “sledgehammer” that would make Canada uncompetitive at a time when the whole world is clamouring to create jobs after COVID-19 shutdowns caused a spike in unemployment.
Canada’s unemployment rate hit a record high of 13.7 per cent in May, declining since then to 8.5 per cent in November.
‘Green scam or whatever the heck it is’
“God bless the environment, don’t get me wrong. It’s very, very important,” the premier said.
“But folks at home, you tell me, is your health and well-being of your loved ones and yourself and your job and the economy more important than $15 billion on some green scam or whatever the heck it is?”
The premier has got in hot water with economists in the past for claiming that the carbon tax will cause a recession. In 2019, authors of a study that Ford had been citing said the premier was misrepresenting their findings.
“We specifically describe the overall economic impact as ‘small,’” economist Robyn Gibbard said.