TORONTO — Ontario businesses had spent $3 billion on permits to pollute under cap and trade when Premier Doug Ford started dismantling the program, five days into his mandate. Then, for about five months, Ontario had no price on pollution, until the federal government’s carbon tax came into effect.
This “whipsaw effect” is confusing for voters and businesses and sabotages climate action in the long run, says Ontario Liberal leadership contender Steven Del Duca. That’s why he says — if he wins the leadership convention and the next election — his government would collaborate on climate policy with opposition parties.
The Progressive Conservatives and NDP would have a hard time attacking and taking apart programs they helped develop, he said.
“When you’re facing that kind of a threat, it shouldn’t become a partisan political football. And that’s what it’s become,” the former cabinet minister told HuffPost Canada.
Despite the fact that Ontario’s Liberal party has no permanent leader and only six elected members, it has more support than Ford’s PCs, according to recent polls.
That means Del Duca, who’s considered the front-runner to replace Kathleen Wynne, has a real shot at becoming premier in the 2022 election.
He gave HuffPost an exclusive preview of his “Multi-Party Climate Change Plan.”
It includes seven measures:
- Create a committee with at least one MPP from every party in the legislature to work on climate policy,
- Bring back reimbursements for electric vehicle purchases,
- Match federal funding to build infrastructure for electric vehicles like charging stations,
- Plant 800 million trees in 10 years,
- Give a 50 per cent discount on fares to public transit riders on weekends, holidays and outside one-hour peaks on weekdays,
- Give $100 million a year to municipalities, businesses and farmers to build infrastructure that can stand up to extreme weather,
- Develop a climate change curriculum for elementary and high school students.