Ontario’s provincial election is less than one week away. Though they’ve squandered a large lead, most polls predict the Progressive Conservative (PC) party will win a majority. Such a victory will surely have consequences for the province’s cap and trade program. The PC platform has been short on specifics. The party, however, promises to not only scrap cap and trade, but also to not implement any carbon price system, setting up a showdown with the Federal government, which has mandated all provinces adopt a carbon price.
The PC's claim cap and trade is a tax that kills jobs. The evidence suggests otherwise. In 2017, the first year of Ontario’s cap and trade program, the province added 150,000 new jobs and experienced its highest economic rate of growth in several years. There’s not only good news economically, but environmentally, as well. Gasoline use and industrial natural gas use declined by 15%, while sales of electric vehicles rose by 120% in 2017. Such evidence is heartening, as Ontario is Canada’s industrial heartland and its economy has much more in common with upper Midwestern states than California.
Governing requires hard choices, killing a program that benefits the economy and the environment while setting up a raft of lawsuits should be an easy decision. Let’s hope that if the PCs win the election the recognize that cap and trade is working to the province's benefit and scrapping it would be to Ontario's detriment on so many levels.