The majority of an Ontario court has found that Doug Ford’s his first act as premier – the cancellation of the cap-and-trade system – – was illegal.
We weren’t trying to bring back cap-and-trade, as it has already been replaced by the federal carbon tax regime. Together with our friends at Ecojustice, we took the Ford government to court to make three points:
- Ford broke the law. The Premier’s rush to eliminate Ontario’s plan to tackle the climate emergency was not just reckless, but illegal.
- Ontarians have a right to participate in environmental decision-making. Within hours of our case being filed in September 2018, the provincial government opened a formal consultation on their climate legislation that received a record number of submissions.
- Set a precedent. This decision should effectively block governments from trying to ram environmental policy changes through immediately post-election as part of a shock-and-awe approach to governing
Ford rushed to kill the cap-and-trade program – which not only put a price on pollution but funded many other environmental programs – because he didn’t want to give time for opposition to grow. The tens of thousands of youth-led protesters out in the streets in the last few weeks make it clear that strategy didn’t work.
With less than two weeks before the federal election, this ruling should send a strong message to all leaders that getting elected isn’t a free pass to flout the law and erode Canada’s democracy.
It’s time for the Ford government to drop its legal challenge of federal carbon pricing — and start taking urgent action to address the climate emergency.