The political battle against carbon taxes in Canada gained a powerful ally with the election of Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative’s in Ontario Thursday night.
Ford, the brother of former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, led his party to victory in the provincial election with a majority win.
Ford has said he would repeal Ontario’s current carbon tax if elected.
Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University, said Ford’s leadership will have a real impact on carbon taxes in Canada.
“It‘s one thing to ignore the province of Saskatchewan, but it’s much tougher to ignore the province of Ontario,” said Bratt.
Saskatchewan has already said it wants to challenge the federal government in court on its plans to impose a federal carbon tax.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has told the provinces to come up with their own carbon tax, or expect a federal one to be imposed.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is toeing that line, too. She said Friday that Ontario can choose between climate policy it develops itself or one imposed by Ottawa.
Notley says the courts have already ruled the federal government has the right to create such legislation and see it in force in all provinces.
Bratt agrees that a federal carbon tax would hold up in court, but he also believes that three provinces working together could put up a good political fight, regardless of what the courts say.
“Then it moves from the legal issue to the political issue about whether you can impose a tax that’s opposed not just by the province of Saskatchewan, but by the province of Ontario and quite possibly (…) the province of Alberta.”
Jason Kenney, the leader of Alberta opposition, has also promised to repeal Alberta’s carbon tax if elected. The UCP party has consistently been high in the polls, with an election just over a year away.
“Federal relations are going to be a lot rockier starting today,” said Bratt.