Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Tuesday cancelled what amounts to a $2 billion a year tax on Ontarians by scrapping all of the government subsidy programs funded by former premier Kathleen Wynne’s cap-and-trade scheme.
Cap and trade, a carbon tax by another name, raises prices on goods and services rather than the taxes on them.
“Every cent from the cap-and-trade slush fund is money that has been taken out of the pockets of Ontario families and businesses,” Ford said in a written statement, adding he was fulfilling his election promise to scrap the Liberals’ “cash grab” designed to fund “big government programs” that “do nothing for the environment.”
“We believe that this money belongs back in the pockets of people,” Ford said. “Cancelling the cap-and-trade carbon tax will result in lower prices at the gas pump, on your home heating bills and on virtually every other product you buy.”
Ford cited a 2016 report by Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk which concluded that despite its $8-billion price tag from 2017 to 2020, Wynne’s cap-and-trade scheme would not significantly lower Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Ford’s cancellation of Wynne’s Climate Action Plan that was to spend $8.3 billion over five years from cap-and-trade revenues, means the cancellation of everything from government subsidies of up to $14,000 for people who buy electric cars, to some public transit projects.
Ford said his government will honour arrangements, orders and contracts that have already been signed for things like energy efficient insulation and window retrofits, but all other initiatives will only be funded on a case-by-case basis from general tax revenues, after the PCs complete their value-for-money audit of Ontario’s finances.