Johnstone: Supports Coal, But Calls Out Wall’s Lack of Plan

A notable column in the Star Phoenix from Bruce Johnstone, as he chastises Premier Wall’s “grandstanding” and for having no plan to deal with climate change.

Wall called the plan, […] a “betrayal” of the PM’s promise to develop a collaborative climate change policy with the provinces.

This despite the fact that Wall and the other premiers were told months ago to develop a carbon pricing plan, or have one imposed upon them. They were reminded of this again last week by Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.


Wall has also threatened to take the feds to court, claiming that the carbon tax infringes on provincial control of resources, which is protected under the constitution. While provinces are exempt from federal tax under the constitution, the courts could allow a carbon levy if used for regulatory rather than revenue-generating purposes, legal experts say.

Another Wall argument against carbon pricing is that it “holds the lowest potential for reducing emissions, while potentially doing the greatest harm to the Canadian economy.” Yet many economists say carbon pricing is more effective at reducing emissions than regulation or cap-and-trade systems because it changes consumer behaviour by increasing the cost of carbon consumption.

Wall’s weakest argument is that Canada accounts for only 1.6 per cent of GHG emissions, and Saskatchewan accounts for 10 per cent of Canadian emissions, or 75.5 million tonnes. “I deny the fallacy that a new tax on Canadians whose CO2 emissions are 1.6 per cent of the global emissions is the best way for Canada to help fight climate change.”

So what is your plan, Mr. Wall? If not carbon pricing — either through a carbon tax or cap and trade — what is it? Carbon capture and storage (CCS), tougher regulations, like the Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Act that was passed in 2010 but never enacted, a carbon tariff on imports, with an offsetting rebate on exports, as suggested by Regina-Lewvan MP Erin Weir?

The fact is a majority of Canadians support some form of carbon pricing.

Also, in the Leader Post is a flawless column by Murray Mandryk:

Absolutely nothing Moe has said or done in the past week has had anything to do with him being an environment minister.

Whether or not you agree or disagree with the government’s decision to storm out of the federal/provincial environment ministers’ meeting, that its initial reaction was to call Trudeau’s proposal “National Energy Program II” tells you all you need to know about why the government has not, and will not, address GHG emissions in a meaningful way.

So why have an environment minister at all?

If these two keep writing entirely sensible columns, they’re going to put my blog out of a job pointing out their earlier mistakes in logic and worse.

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