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Carbon conflict: two-thirds say provinces should have the final say on pricing

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Saskatchewan Premier Doug Moe.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe.

In the emerging federal-provincial battle over carbon pricing – Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, and Ontario Premier Rob Ford appear to be galvanizing public opinion over which level of government should be the ultimate arbiter of the kind of plan should be in place from province to province.

While a federal carbon pricing plan is poised to come into effect next January and be applied to provinces that are not deemed by the Trudeau government to have a sufficient plan in place, two-in-three Canadians (64%) say it should be individual provinces, not Ottawa, that determine the appropriate path to reduce carbon emissions. The rest, (36%) say the federal government should have the power to implement its own plan if necessary.

The specific decisions made by Moe and Ford are perceived differently, however.

Seven-in-ten Canadians (72%), including nearly 88 per cent of those in Saskatchewan say Moe is right to challenge the Trudeau plan in court, arguing that his province has its own plan in place. By contrast, half of Canadians (51%), and about the same number in Ontario (55%) say that Ford’s recent decision to end Ontario’s cap and trade program was the right one.

More Key Findings:

  • Four-in-five past Conservative voters (82%) say the provinces should maintain jurisdictional control of carbon pricing. Past Liberal and NDP voters are divided: half among each take each side
  • Support for the federal carbon tax sits at 45 per cent. This is relatively unchanged from last year (44%) but represents a significant drop from 56 per cent support for the idea in 2015
  • Just over half of Canadians (56%) say global warming is real, and primarily caused by human industrial activity. One-in-five (20%) say it is real but caused by natural processes. The rest are split between uncertainty (11%) or outright disagreement (14%)

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