Saskatchewan's premier is calling the federal government's recent announcement of changes to carbon tax regulations for the largest industrial emitters a step in the right direction.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on at the start of the Climate Action Special Executive Session at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Valletta, Malta, November 27, 2015.
Many industries in Canada are facing competitive pressure from the tariff war started by the United States, major to USA corporate taxes and a scaling back of US environmental policies.
As the Globe and Mail first reported Wednesday morning, Environment and Climate Change Canada plans to release new guidelines that lower the percentage of emissions some polluters will have to pay the carbon tax on.
Environment Canada officials met with representatives from more than a dozen Ontario industries, including auto and auto parts manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and a number of chemical firms, last week to begin the process of assessing how their competitiveness might be affected by the carbon price.
The levy has now been cut to 20 percent for most sectors and 10 percent for vulnerable sectors such as iron, steel and cement. The tax is set for $20 a tonne in 2019 and will rise to $50 in 2022.
The decision is significant because the new right-wing government in Ontario - the heartland of Canadian industry - intends to scrap an existing carbon pricing system.
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However, the new rules set to take effect in the new year will increase the carbon tax threshold to 80 per cent of emissions intensity.
"With the USA tax changes past year, the playing field has been very much tilted in favor of the United States when it comes to attracting manufacturing and capital", he said in an interview.
"I've always said the environment and economy go together, and we don't want to drive industry out of our country".
Speaking at Queen's Park, Mr. Phillips said that a carbon tax was only a "cash grab".
Official data shows Canada now has no chance of meeting its 2030 emissions reductions targets. Moffet said the incentives to reduce emissions remain, even with a higher cap.
"We are certainly in favour of putting a price on carbon, we favour that, we think it's the right direction, we think it does on the long term bring the right behaviour to try to reduce GHG emissions", he said.
"These are ... costs that we would incur in Canada but our competing plants in the United States would not", he said by phone, noting that 93 percent of Canadian auto production was exported to the United States.