Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a discussion at the Nature Champions Summit in Montreal on Thursday, April 25, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Trudeau says Ontario ‘shortsighted and irresponsible’ for challenging carbon tax

Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick may also challenge the carbon tax

The Ontario government’s attempt to block the federal carbon tax is shortsighted and irresponsible, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told an environment conference in Montreal Thursday.

But Trudeau’s criticism of those who disagree with his government’s plan to address climate change didn’t stop at Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s administration.

Trudeau accused some federal opposition parties of denying climate change even exists and said other provinces joining Ontario in challenging the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act are wasting public money.

“Look no further than Ontario to find a provincial government that is wasting taxpayer’s money fighting climate action in court,” Trudeau told a room full of delegates at the Nature Champions Summit. “It’s shortsighted and irresponsible and frankly, Canadians deserve better.”

READ MORE: Canfor temporarily shutting down lumber mills across B.C.

Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick are all either challenging the carbon tax or have signalled an intent to do so.

Lawyers for the province of Ontario argued in court last week that Trudeau’s plan to impose a levy on gasoline, other fossil fuels and industry is an overstep of federal authority. On Wednesday, Manitoba filed documents seeking a judicial review to quash the federal tax on similar grounds.

The Trudeau government’s tax only applies to Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Saskatchewan — four provinces Ottawa says don’t meet national standards on greenhouse gas emissions.

After Trudeau’s short speech he was met on stage by high-profile Quebec environmentalist Steven Guilbeault for an armchair discussion. Guilbeault, who is currently advising the federal government on ways to address climate change, steered clear of contentious issues in his questions.

Sitting opposite the prime minister on stage, Guilbeault said most Canadians don’t know how “entrenched” Trudeau’s desire to protect nature is.

“I was hoping you could tell us a little bit about where this passion for nature protection comes from,” the environmental activist said to Trudeau.

The prime minister said it came from playing outside as a child.

READ MORE: Budget watchdog says carbon rebate will be more than carbon tax for most Canadians

Guilbeault has acknowledged he is being courted by the Liberals to run for the party in the October federal election. He told reporters he hasn’t decided whether to enter politics.

“I’ve been approached by more than one federal political party,” he said. “I haven’t made a decision yet. I have a mandate with the federal government to produce a report (on climate action) around May or June, so I’ll make no decision before that work is done.”

Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Diewert’s state of mind always stronger in Florida

Chemainus baseball product looking to make next step to the pros from Florida Southern

85-year-old Crofton man punched in head in road rage attack

Police looking for info after 85-year-old man attacked in road rage incident on Herd Road Oct. 9

Lumberjacks in Love on the cutting edge of woodsman theatrics

Navigate your way through the wilderness with some wild antics and well-crafted tunes

New gallery space opens at St. Joseph’s Art Studios in Chemainus

Work of Us 16 group of Vancouver Island painters featured in first exhibit

VIDEO: Langley woman’s security camera records its own theft

Langley family discovers early morning grab was recorded

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Map on Elections Canada website sends Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters to landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

BC Children’s Hospital launches 2 new virtual care sites bringing total to 19 across province

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

‘Wham-bam out the door’: Surrey man’s front yard left ruined by scamming landscaper

Resident warns neighbours to be careful of door-to-door salesmen

Most Read