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BREAKING: Two-Thirds of Canadians Want National Climate Plan as Provinces Dig In on Pricing

Environment and Climate Change Canada/Flickr
Environment and Climate Change Canada/Flickr

Two-thirds of Canadians want the country to adopt a national climate change plan with a minimum carbon price, even if not all provinces are onboard, according to a Nanos Research survey released this morning by Clean Energy Canada.

“The public is sending a clear signal,” said CEC Executive Director Merran Smith. “They’re tired of bickering among politicians. Canadians want to see provinces do their part, but they also want the federal government to pick up the slack if the provinces don’t deliver the necessary results.”

But Canadian Press is reporting this morning that agreement on a national carbon price “appears to be no closer to reality as Canada’s environment ministers meet Monday in Montreal to begin hammering out a pan-Canadian climate plan.”

A federal-provincial working group “failed to reach a consensus on how to equate direct carbon taxes, such as British Columbia’s, to cap-and-trade carbon markets, such as the one Quebec is developing with Ontario,” CP states.

“This all started with the federal government talking about a national carbon tax,” Quebec Environment Minister David Heurtel, current chair of the Canadian Council of Environment Ministers, told CP’s Bruce Cheadle. “Quebec, Ontario and other provinces have serious issues because, first of all, a national carbon tax hurts existing systems like cap-and-trade. And also it does not respect the Vancouver Declaration principles. And also it does not respect provincial jurisdictions.”

Cheadle notes that “that’s bold talk coming from a provincial Liberal government that should be considered an ally of federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, who has been deep in deliberations with her provincial and territorial counterparts all summer.”

It’s not the federal-provincial climate conversation Canadians expect, according to the Nanos results.

“Most Canadians want a credible plan to meet our climate commitments—including a minimum price on carbon that applies across the country—and are expecting federal and provincial leaders to deliver it,” said Clare Demerse, CEC’s federal policy advisor.

“The appetite to move forward on environmental issues is quite strong—whether it be strong leadership by the Government of Canada to make sure Canada meets its climate targets, or carbon pricing,” added Nanos Research Chair Nick Nanos.

In the Nanos survey, 66% of the 1,000 respondents believed that “it is more important to have a plan to meet Canada’s climate change targets than to have all provincial and territorial premiers agree with that plan,” CEC reports. 77% want Canada to meet its international climate commitments, and another 77% say provinces and territories have an “important responsibility” to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

“The majority (62%) support or somewhat support setting a minimum carbon price that applies in all of Canada’s provinces and territories,” Smith notes in an October 2 blog post. “A substantial majority of respondents also believe that climate change is a significant threat to Canada’s economic future (70% agree or somewhat agree).