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This article was published 3/10/2016 (2097 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA — Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is scrapping plans for a provincial cap-and-trade system on large carbon emitters in favour of a Manitoba-made solution to put a price on carbon.
Details on the new Manitoba plan were scarce Monday as Pallister reacted to news Prime Minister Justin Trudeau intends to impose a carbon tax plan on provinces that haven't implemented their own by 2018.
"We're working very hard on a plan that I think will excite Manitobans, work, have us do our part and not damage our economy in the process," Pallister told reporters at a news conference ahead of the start of the fall session of the legislature.
In his first throne speech last May, Pallister pledged to develop "carbon pricing that fosters emissions reduction, retains investment capital and stimulates new innovation in clean energy, businesses and jobs."
The previous NDP government announced a plan a year ago to tackle emissions with a cap-and-trade system on large emitters. Pallister said Monday there will be no cap and trade in Manitoba. He was not forthcoming on what it will entail, including whether a new tax on fuel would be part of it.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall lashed out at Trudeau for disrespecting the provinces with a unilateral decision, but Pallister chose not to do the same. Neither did he summon his minister from a meeting in Montreal with Environment Minister Catherine McKenna. The environment ministers from Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland (the latter two from Liberal governments, it should be noted) left the meeting early after Trudeau's announcement. However Manitoba Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox remained at the table, a provincial spokeswoman confirmed.
Pallister also did not seem concerned about meeting the 2018 deadline Trudeau intends to impose. Manitoba's plan will be unveiled in the "not too distant future," he said, adding he is looking forward to meeting on the subject with Trudeau and other premiers in Ottawa Dec. 8-9.
"It should be understood that we here in Manitoba have always punched above our weight throughout our history and we will do the same here. But it should also be doubly understood that we are not the source of the bulk of the problems here," he said.
Trudeau's intention is to create a national price on carbon of $10 per tonne in 2018, rising by $10 a year over five years. in 2022, the program will be reviewed.
Provinces with systems that already meet or exceed the national plan will be left alone. Those that don't will have it imposed upon them, with any revenues from the new system going to that province, not the federal government.
"There is no hiding from climate change; it is real and it is everywhere," Trudeau said in a speech in the House of Commons Monday to kick off Canada's debate on the Paris climate change agreement.
Canada signed onto the Paris agreement with 194 other countries last December, but has not yet ratified the deal, in large part, because there is no national consensus on how to proceed.
Canada's commitment is to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent below what they were in 2005 by 2030.