Canadians overwhelmingly support carbon tax: Environment minister
The federal environment minister says a carbon tax has “overwhelming support” from Canadians, despite opposition from some provincial leaders.
“The price on pollution was certainly a significant discussion during the [2019 federal election] campaign,” Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told BNN Bloomberg in an interview Tuesday. “There was overwhelming support from Canadians for continuing [with] what is a market-based mechanism. It’s the most efficient way to reduce emissions in this country, as part of an overall suite of addressing climate change.”
Wilkinson — who succeeded Catherine McKenna as environment minister after the Liberal Party secured its present minority government — said that while provincial leaders including Jason Kenney, Scott Moe, Doug Ford, and Blaine Higgs oppose the tax, the feds have been able to find common ground on other environmental initiatives.
“Clearly there are some provincial governments that are not fully in support,” Wilkinson said.
However, Wilkinson added that while there are differences in opinion over the carbon tax, there is agreement on other aspects of the climate debate.
“I’ve certainly had conversations with my counterparts in Saskatchewan and Alberta about this issue ... we do agree on many other things,” he said, citing consensus on the role of technology in “extracting value from resources in a very low-carbon world.”
Canada leading the charge on clean technology would be a boon to the economy, said Wilkinson, who helmed multiple environmental technology companies prior to his political career.
“The estimates going forward in terms of the size of the prize for countries that are in this game early — developing technologies and deploying technologies that address some of the carbon-related issues — is enormous,” he said, adding clean tech is estimated to be a $26-trillion opportunity.
“This is both an economic and environmental opportunity for Canada to be a leader and to ensure that we are doing the right thing for our children and our grandchildren.”