Wynne Liberals' cap-and-trade-system damaging Ontario's greenhouse industry: Brown
Cecelia Acres owner Chip Stockwell (left) looks at tomatoes in his Kingsville, Ont., greenhouse with Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown on Monday, July 10, 2017. (SUBMITTED/PHOTO)
Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown says Ontario’s cap-and-trade system is hurting the province’s greenhouse industry.
The PC leader said Monday he’d follow the example of British Columbia and Alberta, offering massive carbon price exemptions to greenhouse operators if he’s elected premier next spring. Making an announcement from a greenhouse in Kingsville, Ont., Brown slammed the province’s cap-and-trade system.
“The Wynne Liberals’ cap-and-trade scheme will damage Ontario’s economy and the greenhouse industry,” he said. “It will not only damage industry, it will drive jobs and investment out of Ontario.”
Brown said the current system hurts greenhouse growers who aren’t given any credit for the carbon dioxide they use in their operations.
“The greenhouse industry uses carbon dioxide as a food source to grow plants,” he said. “Those plants then expel oxygen. (Cap-And-trade) taxes carbon dioxide even though it is largely consumed by the process of growing plants in greenhouses. That makes no sense.”
In B.C. and Alberta carbon pricing systems give 80% exemptions to greenhouse producers.
“We need to keep Ontario competitive for greenhouses,” Brown said. “I want to be premier of Ontario so I can scrap the cap-and-trade scheme and give relief to the greenhouse industry.”
Brown has long said that he wants to trash the Liberals’ cap-and-trade program and replace it with a revenue-neutral carbon pricing plan. The Tories have yet to say how they’ll do that but will hold a policy convention in November where they’re expect to announce more details of that plan.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray denied that Ontario’s cap-and-trade system has harmed the province’s greenhouse growers. According to the Independent Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers, the industry will keep growing by about 150 acres a year, he said in a statement to the Toronto Sun.
“In this environment, Ontario needs a balanced plan to fight climate change,” Murray said. “And with the federal government moving forward with a plan that will soon see all of Canada covered by a carbon price, we need a solution that makes sense for Ontario. That’s why our plan, which includes a cap on the pollution businesses can release into the air, is best.”