By all accounts, Doug Ford, a bruiser who polls predict will be Ontario’s next premier, lacks a deep understanding of the intricacies of energy policy. The result for Ontarians, if he follows through on his election campaign’s unsophisticated themes, will be basic, and beneficial: an end to the esoteric policies that have brought the province to ruin.
Ford vows to stop taxing carbon by scrapping the Wynne government’s cap-and trade system, which currently costs a typical Ontario household $500 a year, projected to rise to $2,500 a year by 2022. Doing so would pit Ford against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government, which threatens to carbon-tax Ontarians if Ford refuses to.
But that seems an empty threat — the federal Liberals would be reluctant to impose a carbon tax on Ontarians when running for re-election next year. Even if the federal government does impose a carbon tax on Ontario, the Supreme Court may strike it down as unconstitutional — some legal scholars believe Trudeau has improperly intruded into an area of provincial jurisdiction.
Ford also vows to slash Ontario’s skyrocketing power prices — the chief reason businesses are fleeing the province — by matching Premier Kathleen Wynne’s 25-per-cent rate reduction and boosting it by another 12 per cent.
Critics say he can’t fulfill that promise simply through the trims he’s stressing, such as cutting the remuneration of the power company’s top brass and shifting conservation expenses away from electricity billpayers to taxpayers, and they’re right.