Ford uses our money to spread more lies
Like a steamroller lumbering off in the wrong direction, the Ford government has launched its latest attack on Ottawa’s plan to fight climate change.
The TV commercial, funded by the taxpayers of Ontario, shows coins falling from a gas pump, home heating vent and supermarket shelves, claiming this is the result of the federal government’s carbon-pricing plan.
“This will cost Ontario families $648 a year,” says the narrator.
“Ontario has a better way: holding the biggest polluters accountable; reducing trash; and keeping our lakes clean.”
“A carbon tax isn’t the only way to fight climate change.”
With Doug Ford as Ontario’s premier, that’s wrong, too.
The federal carbon pricing plan, which started in April, will cost the average Ontario household $258 this year but the $307 rebate they’ll get will offset those costs and then some. It’ll be the same thing in 2022 — the year the ad chooses — when the annual cost is forecast to rise to $648 and will come with a $718 rebate. So it’s a net gain for most families, not a cost.
And the very reason the federal levy is being applied in Ontario is because the province does not have a better way. Last year, the Ford government killed the existing cap-and-trade program and lowered the province’s greenhouse gas reduction targets.
The fact that Ontario had a working cap-and-trade program before this PC government was elected, shows that a carbon price isn’t the only way to fight climate change. But since killing that program was Ford’s first order of business, and he has shown no interest in producing a credible replacement, a federally mandated price on carbon is indeed the best way to fight climate change in Ontario now.
That the Ford government has produced a commercial that is so spectacularly misleading doesn’t come as any surprise.
It follows the same script as the government’s talking points in its court battle against Ottawa’s right to impose a carbon tax on provinces that don’t have acceptable plans of their own and its legislation to force gas stations to put up ridiculous anti-carbon price stickers on their pumps or face fines up to $10,000.
The Ford government, which claims Ontario is in such dire financial straits that it must cut back funding for public health and subsidized daycare, has quite happily set aside $30 million for its multi-pronged attack against the only coherent plan to fight climate change.
It’s not only wrong-headed, it defies public opinion.
The latest Nanos Research poll finds that nearly two-thirds of Canadians think it’s unacceptable for a province to opt out of the federal plan. Not surprisingly, the same number also oppose provincial governments using taxpayer dollars to fight it.
So how can it be that the government is “supporting Ontarians by fighting Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax,” as Environment Minister Rod Phillips claimed on Monday?
If the majority of Ontarians don’t support what the government is doing or how it’s doing it, this certainly isn’t for them.
Premier Ford is, as we’ve always known, doing this for his own short-term political benefit. Constantly fighting an enemy is, after all, a great way to deflect from one’s own lack of sound policies and inadequacies as a leader.
And this partisan campaign against carbon pricing also amounts to taxpayer-funded pre-election advertising for federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who will go to the polls in October opposing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon plan.
For Ford, this isn’t about the economy and it certainly isn’t about the environment. It’s about sticking it to the Liberals and shamefully using our money to pay for it.