Ontario signs emissions deal with Quebec and California

Ontario signs emissions deal with Quebec and California

Quebec City (Quebec) 15 April 2015 – Quebec City was host this week to a national symposium on carbon emissions for Canada. All the provincial premiers were in town, with the exception of Alberta, to discuss the differences between Ottawa’s vision of carbon reduction, as compared to that of the provinces.

Each province has its own goals for greenhouse gas reduction and Quebec has been a leader on the subject. The so called agreement between Quebec, Ontario, California and British Columbia, called the “Cap and Trade Agreement” gives a tax credit to companies who voluntarily reduce their carbon emissions but, there are suspicions that the agreement is simply a cosmetic and political intention to contrary Ottawa’s goal of reducing carbon emissions by 2020.

The Federal environment minister Leona Aglukkak, wants to open a discussion with the provinces in order to have all the ideas on how to reduce emissions on the table. She denies that Ottawa has the best plan and that the provinces should follow their lead or, that she’s not open to other suggestions.

With Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, which is 74% of the Canadian population on the same page, Ottawa can’t reject the idea of including California, a state with 40 million people, in a group agreement on pollution control. The idea had already been discussed in the past with Arnold Shwarzenegger, then governor of California, and Dalton McGuinty, then premier of Ontario.

Whether or not the Cap and Trade deal, with the provinces makes sense as compared to a national program is debateable but, whatever the outcome, it will force Ottawa’s hand to do more for the environment in the long run.

The three provinces together have reduced emissions more than Ottawa’s proposed plan since 1999.

It was regrettable that Alberta, the worst carbon gas emitter was absent from the symposium.

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