If you cannot confront, confuse.

It is a desperation strategy. As one of the three programs fighting greenhouse gases in Canada, Ontario’s ‘Carbon Trust’ is certainly the zaniest. Where ‘Cap and Trade’ lets industries buy extra carbon emissions from each other and a ‘Carbon Tax’ lets the polluters pay (with a rebate to consumers), this newest strategy from the Ford government just announced by environment minister Rod Phillips will have everybody puzzled.

By all standards this could be considered the cheapest plan. Which is lucky as it is the taxpayers who are paying for it. The plan is to be funded with an initial four hundred million of taxpayers’ money to bribe industry not to pollute. Since we are paying back billions to get out of the previous ‘Cap and Trade’ plan, we are very lucky the new plan is so cheap. Mind you, it is hardly enough to make much of an impression on large industries such as the petrochemical industry, that causes so much pollution.

As the former CEO of Ontario Lottery and Gaming, Phillips seems to have set the entire plan up in the form of the huckster’s game of three card monte. That is the one where the sucker tries to find the higher value card after it has been mixed with two lesser value cards.

But the major problem with the plan is it raises more questions than Minister Phillips is prepared to answer. The thinking seems to be that each industry will negotiate its own standards. It is similar to the tar sands industry in Alberta setting their own standards for the Harper conservatives. Canadians waited for nine years for the standards that were never set.

This ridiculous approach will never satisfy the federal government’s demand for a plan and leaves the province open to having the feds impose a carbon tax on Ontario. It should please many taxpayers as the money charged to polluters will be returned to taxpayers with their income tax refunds.

In the meantime, the Ontario government and the Saskatchewan government are asking the supreme court to rule that the carbon tax by the federal government is unconstitutional. It is too bad that we do not have a court that could rule that the Ford government’s provincial plan is just silly.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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