Government rejects low-carbon plan

OTTAWA — Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent is rejecting the final advice from the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy to embrace a low-carbon economy.

OTTAWA — Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent is rejecting the final advice from the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy to embrace a low-carbon economy.

The federal advisory body lost its $5.2 million annual funding in the last budget and is using its last breath to promote a national environment-and-energy framework that would position Canada to become a global player in the burgeoning low-carbon world.

But the key step in that strategy is to set a price on carbon and the federal government will not go down that path, a spokesman for Kent said Thursday.

“The first essential condition for their plan to work is to impose carbon pricing,” spokesman Adam Sweet said in an email. “Unlike (Thomas) Mulcair’s NDP, we will not impose a job-killing carbon tax that would increase the cost of gas, groceries and electricity.”

He was repeating a mantra that is uttered daily by many Conservative MPs since September, despite the NDP’s insistence that it proposes a cap-and-trade market to control emissions similar to one proposed by the Conservatives in 2006 — and not a carbon tax.

The federal government is already taking many initiatives towards a green economy, Sweet added.

Kent has said the round table lost its budget because the information it produced was available elsewhere. But Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has also said the advisory body was chopped because it advocated a carbon tax.

In fact, the round table has never called for a carbon tax per se, but has argued repeatedly that putting a price on carbon in some way would give businesses the certainty they need to plan ahead and invest accordingly.

Many companies and business leaders agree. And several provinces are now forging ahead on their own, developing disparate carbon-pricing schemes that are not yet linked at a national level.

Without a national carbon price, Canada can’t meet its full potential in a global economy that is increasingly focused on goods and services with small carbon footprints, said Robert Slater, interim chair of the round table.

“The future is low carbon,” the body’s final report said. “Economies the world over are making the transition.”

The report said Canada stands to gain from such a shift and should accept that it’s coming.

“Canada will inevitably need to cut carbon emissions across traditional sectors of the economy,” the report said.

After consulting with 150 experts and studying available data, the round table concluded that failure to act will cost the country dearly.

Companies and governments will have to shell out $87 billion over the next 30 years, mainly because industry would be locking in an unacceptably high level of greenhouse gas emissions that will eventually have to be undone.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy Vice-Admiral Art McDonald is seen during an interview with The Canadian Press in Ottawa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says Admiral Art McDonald has voluntarily stepped down as Chief of Defence Staff due to an investigation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Admiral Art McDonald steps aside as defence chief amid investigation

Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre appointed acting chief of the defence staff

Pumpjacks draw oil out of the ground near Olds, Alta., Thursday, July 16, 2020. A new report suggests the economic impact of the pandemic led to a massive increase in federal aid to Canada’s oil patch. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Pandemic increased direct aid to fossil fuel producers, new study shows

At least $1.9 billion in direct aid to traditional energy sector last year

Glen Carritt organized a United We Roll Canada convoy around May 2019 that travelled in 2019. An independent review said he breached council code of conduct rules multiple times. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Former Innisfail town councillor breached code of conduct many times, says review

Consultants say 29 of 36 alleged breaches by Glen Carritt had merit

Meteor spotted over Edmonton, Alta., on Feb. 22, 2021 by several, who took to social media to share their surveillance camera captures. (@KixxAxe/Twitter)
VIDEO: Fireball meteor streaks across sky, spotted by early-morning risers in Alberta, B.C.

Videos of the quick streak of light flashing across the sky before 6:30 a.m. MST

Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich (33) makes a save on Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) as Flames' Christopher Tanev (8) and Joakim Nordstrom (20) defend during first-period NHL action in Toronto on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘Misunderstood’ Nylander ties game late, scores winner as Leafs beat Flames 2-1 in OT

‘Misunderstood’ Nylander ties game late, scores winner as Leafs beat Flames 2-1 in OT

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson yells to her sweepers at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Young Quebec team in the hunt to join Einarson, Homan in Hearts’ championship round

Young Quebec team in the hunt to join Einarson, Homan in Hearts’ championship round

A crane is used to lift a vehicle following a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., a suburb of Los Angeles. Woods suffered leg injuries in the one-car accident and was undergoing surgery, authorities and his manager said. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Golf without Woods? Battered leg brings it closer to reality

Golf without Woods? Battered leg brings it closer to reality

Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien looks towards the ice as his team takes on the Ottawa Senators during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadiens have fired head coach Julien and associate coach Kirk Muller. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Montreal Canadiens fire head coach Claude Julien, associate coach Kirk Muller

Montreal Canadiens fire head coach Claude Julien, associate coach Kirk Muller

Canada midfielder Sophie Schmidt (13) attempts a shot on goal during the first half of a SheBelieves Cup women's soccer match against Argentina, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Phelan M. Ebenhack
Canadian women exit SheBelieves Cup on losing note, blanked 2-0 by Brazil

Canadian women exit SheBelieves Cup on losing note, blanked 2-0 by Brazil

Supporters pray outside court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, as a trial date was set for Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church. He is charged with holding Sunday services in violation of Alberta's COVID-19 rules and with breaking conditions of his bail release. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Trial date for jailed Alberta pastor charged with breaking COVID-19 health orders

Trial date for jailed Alberta pastor charged with breaking COVID-19 health orders

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney shakes hands with Jason Nixon, government house leader and environment minister, after Nixon is sworn into office in Edmonton on April 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta eyes recall legislation, focuses on COVID-19 aid in spring sitting

Alberta eyes recall legislation, focuses on COVID-19 aid in spring sitting

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie attends a a news conference in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, February 28, 2019. The CFL faces more challenges in its 2021 return than it did last year when it was forced to cancel its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
CFL will have to appease more levels of government to get 2021 protocols approved

CFL will have to appease more levels of government to get 2021 protocols approved

Most Read