July 26, 2018 – In the emerging federal-provincial battle over carbon pricing – Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, and Ontario Premier Doug Ford appear to be galvanizing public opinion over which level of government should be the ultimate arbiter of the kind of plan should be in place from province to province.
While a federal carbon pricing plan is poised to come into effect next January and be applied to provinces that are not deemed by the Trudeau government to have a sufficient plan in place, two-in-three Canadians (64%) say it should be individual provinces, not Ottawa, that determine the appropriate path to reduce carbon emissions. The rest, (36%) say the federal government should have the power to implement its own plan if necessary.
The specific decisions made by Moe and Ford are perceived differently, however.
Seven-in-ten Canadians (72%), including nearly 88 per cent of those in Saskatchewan say Moe is right to challenge the Trudeau plan in court, arguing that his province has its own plan in place. By contrast, half of Canadians (51%), and about the same number in Ontario (55%) say that Ford’s recent decision to end Ontario’s cap and trade program was the right one.
Four-in-five past Conservative voters (82%) say the provinces should maintain jurisdictional control of carbon pricing. Past Liberal and NDP voters are divided: half among each take each side
Support for the federal carbon tax sits at 45 per cent. This is relatively unchanged from last year (44%) but represents a significant drop from 56 per cent support for the idea in 2015
Just over half of Canadians (56%) say global warming is real, and primarily caused by human industrial activity. One-in-five (20%) say it is real but caused by natural processes. The rest are split between uncertainty (11%) or outright disagreement (14%)
Most say provinces should have jurisdiction on carbon pricing
The conversation around carbon pricing in Canada has taken on a renewed level of urgency and conflict ahead of Ottawa’s September 1st deadline for the provinces to submit carbon pricing proposals. British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec already have carbon pricing plans announced or in place, while the four Atlantic provinces have all stated their intention to release plans before the deadline.
In Saskatchewan, Premier Scott Moe – whose government recently launched a reference case in the to clarify the federal government’s jurisdiction on this issue – got a new ally June 29th, when Doug Ford was sworn in as Premier of Ontario. Ford immediately announced he would scrap his own province’s climate plan and end its participation in a cooperative cap and trade program with Quebec and California. Moe has suggested that his province has its own plan that does not necessitate carbon pricing, while Ford has not announced details of any carbon pricing going forward.
For most Canadians, the power to decide what should be done in each province should reside in the provincial governments hands. In every region of the country, more say they prefer provincial to federal authority on this issue:
Premier Moe has significant support from his province on this issue, with more than four-in-five (82%) saying the provinces should hold the power. In Alberta, where 2019 election favourite Jason Kenney could join the anti-carbon pricing club, seven-in-ten (71%) agree with this line of thinking.
Perhaps troubling for the federal Liberals, nearly half of their own past voters (48%) say the federal government should take a back seat on this issue:
While the Saskatchewan Party “acknowledges the science-based reality of climate change” it has also stated that “a one-size-fits-all carbon tax fails to recognize the diverse nature of our great Canadian economy.” As such, the province would like to avoid being compelled to participate.
Lots more with official interactive graphs.
Carbon conflict: two-thirds of Canadians say provinces should have the final say on pricing - Angus Reid Institute