Manitoba will receive C$67 million from the federal Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund for signing on to the pan-Canadian climate framework and complying with its minimum price on carbon—at least for the first two years, CBC reports.
The province had previously joined with Saskatchewan as one of only two provinces standing outside the agreement. In late December, federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna warned that if Manitoba didn’t sign on to the federal plan, Ottawa would allocate the funds directly to industry and public sector projects in the province, based on merit.
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“It’s unfortunate that Minister McKenna’s office has chosen to play games with inter-governmental correspondence, especially when it involves the subject of disadvantaging Manitobans through the form of an ultimatum,” provincial Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires told CBC at the time.
Last week, Squires still maintained the province’s proposed C$25-per-tonne flat carbon tax—not the federal government’s “backstop” price, which will hit $50 per tonne by 2022—would be sufficient to meet federal emission reduction targets. “Our governments have come to a collaborative agreement that [with] our Made-in-Manitoba approach to climate change, we are meeting the measures set out,” she told media. “We are committed to climate mitigation and adaptation.”
McKenna acknowledged Manitoba would meet the targets in the pan-Canadian plan for the first two years, adding that the federal government will be reviewing all provincial/territorial plans beginning in 2019.
“I’m comfortable because we are going to be assessing every province’s plan, and it’s not just price,” she said. “It’s assessing the system that they come up with, and we are going to be doing that every year. But Manitoba has said they want to sign on to the plan, and I think that’s really important.”
CBC says the federal government “has not signaled what specific action it might take if Manitoba is not compliant [after 2019], but the federal government has drafted legislation for the carbon tax backstop and is conducting public consultations before introducing it in Parliament.”