TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford reverted to his pre-pandemic self Friday after the federal government said it would increase the carbon tax every year for a decade and spend $15 billion to reduce emissions.
“Folks, this carbon tax is gonna be the worst thing you could ever see,” Ford said at a press conference about the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m a strong believer of protecting the environment. But you don’t have to protect the environment on the backs of the hard-working people of this province and of this country at a time that people are just barely holding on by their fingernails.
“I was floored when I heard this. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t believe it. I had to double check.”
He called the tax an economic “sledgehammer” that would make Canada uncompetitive at a time when the whole world is clamouring to create jobs after COVID-19 shutdowns caused a spike in unemployment.
Canada’s unemployment rate hit a record high of 13.7 per cent in May, declining since then to 8.5 per cent in November.
Ford also pointed out that the climate announcement came one day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused a long-standing request from premiers for more health-care funding.
‘Green scam or whatever the heck it is’
“God bless the environment, don’t get me wrong. It’s very, very important,” the premier said.
“But folks at home, you tell me, is your health and well-being of your loved ones and yourself and your job and the economy more important than $15 billion on some green scam or whatever the heck it is?”
Ford’s government has spent millions to fight Trudeau’s carbon tax in court and with advertisements on television and at gas pumps.
The premier has got in hot water with economists in the past for claiming that the carbon tax will cause a recession. In 2019, authors of a study that Ford had been citing said the premier was misrepresenting their findings.
“We specifically describe the overall economic impact as ‘small,’” economist Robyn Gibbard said.
Feds Set To Increase Carbon Tax Annually For Next 10 Years
Trudeau Sidelines Premiers’ Demands For Long-Term Health Care Funding
Women Shut Out Of Canada's Surprisingly Strong Job Growth