Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Alberta’s provincial election campaign is the latest in which an opposition leader is campaigning against a carbon tax and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s climate-change policies. But there isn’t much talk about the political leader who expects Alberta to bear much more of the burden for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions: Doug Ford.

The Ontario Premier stood side-by-side with Alberta United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney on a Calgary stage last October to rally against carbon taxes.

But when it comes to the question of who should bear the burden for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, Mr. Ford’s policy is not Alberta-friendly.

Story continues below advertisement

The Ford government’s position is that Canada should meets its emissions-reductions targets, but that Ontario is doing more than its fair share. By that logic, other provinces, notably Alberta and Saskatchewan, will have to do more. A lot more: the equivalent of shutting down the oil sands.

To be clear, Mr. Ford has never called for the oil sands to be shut down. But he has issued an environmental policy that effectively calls for a major shift in burden-sharing for emissions reductions.

You would think it would be a concern for his ally, Mr. Kenney, and for other Alberta political leaders. It’s certainly a conundrum for federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer as he prepares his own promised climate-change plans. Because there is no way to accommodate Ontario’s view, an oil industry and serious emissions cuts.

While Mr. Ford’s Ontario government is against carbon taxes, it has embraced the emissions-reductions target that Canada submitted under the Paris accord – 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Environment Minister, Rod Phillips, issued an environment plan in March that said just that. But it also said the province has paid too high a price for doing the “heavy lifting” on emissions cuts. So instead of the deeper emissions cuts planned by the previous Liberal government, Ontario will meet the same target as the whole country – a 30-per-cent cut.

That’s a major shift in approach. It has been generally assumed that some provinces, notably Ontario and Quebec, would have to cut more to make up for the lack of emissions reductions in resource-heavy Alberta and Saskatchewan. That seemed to be happening, too: A 2018 Environment Canada report on emissions projected that by 2030, Alberta’s emissions would increase by 44 megatonnes over 2005 levels, but Ontario’s would decrease by 45 megatonnes.

Mr. Ford has scrapped that notion.

Story continues below advertisement

At a closed-door first ministers’ meeting in December, Mr. Ford attacked Mr. Trudeau for setting a climate-change policy that assumes Ontario must do more than other provinces. Mr. Trudeau shot back that Mr. Ford’s position would mean shutting down the oil sands. As it happens, if Alberta were to make a 30-per-cent cut from 2005 levels, it really would be roughly the equivalent of shutting down the oil sands.

Of course, the Ontario Premier doesn’t regulate Alberta. Some of his critics think his government doesn’t really care if Canada reduces emissions, anyway. But his government’s policy is written in black and white: It endorses the 30-per-cent national target, and says Ontario’s fair share is a 30-per-cent cut, too.

The biggest province in Confederation has changed its policy on what is fair. Under the provincial Liberals, Ontario had accepted the notion that for some provinces, cuts could be less costly.

Mr. Trudeau’s policy implies that carbon taxes in all provinces were supposed to help make each province’s emissions-cutting effort somewhat comparable – on the basis of the cost of cuts per tonne of emissions.

Mr. Ford and Mr. Kenney both say they’ll fight those carbon taxes in court. Mr. Ford’s position seems to make it impossible for Ontario and Alberta to agree on emissions cuts.

Mr. Ford’s position also puts the federal Conservative Party Leader, Mr. Scheer, in a bit of a bind. He promises his own climate-change plan before the October general election. But no plan can seriously reduce emissions and accept Mr. Ford’s idea of fairness without savaging the oil patch.

Story continues below advertisement

Maybe Mr. Scheer won’t have serious targets, and will focus on opposing carbon taxes. So far, he won’t say. Certainly, that would be popular in the province he represents, Saskatchewan, with many in Alberta, and probably a big chunk of Ford Nation. But if Ontarians come to believe what Mr. Ford’s policy says – that emissions-reductions targets are necessary, but it is up to other provinces to do more – Canada will face a serious rift.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies