Carbon tax fight puts province’s anti-pollution plans in jeopardy

A weekly bus rider, Hannah Quist worries about climate change.

“I very much believe it’s a real issue that isn’t being addressed fully,” said Quist.

Quist would like to see more electric buses on the road to reduce pollution.

“There’s so many little things that we could change to make a lot of progress and this is definitely one, a step in the right direction,” said Quist.

Manitoba Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires says a number of green initiatives — including electrifying buses, removing food waste from the landfill and retrofitting diesel trucks — are up in the air because of a funding fight with the Trudeau government.

“We have reason to believe that Ottawa is threatening to pull very significant projects away from Manitoba,” said Squires.

Three weeks ago Premier Brian Pallister announced Manitoba would change course and not charge a carbon tax, defying Ottawa’s directive.

“We says yes to a made in Manitoba green plan, without a carbon tax,” Pallister said on Oct. 3.

Since then, the province says the federal government is threatening to pull $67 million off the table earmarked for green projects in Manitoba.

“There’s a variety of messages from Ottawa that the $67 million Pan Canadian Framework is under review,” said Squires.

In a statement the federal government suggests there’s nothing to review, a deal has yet to be reached.

“There is currently no agreement on LCEF (Low Carbon Economy Fund) between our government and Manitoba.”

Manitoba NDP leader Wab Kinew says there’s enough blame to go around on both sides for this funding flap.

“We don’t want the possibility of deal to fall through just because the premier is throwing stones at the prime minister and now there’s retaliatory threats here,” said Kinew.

Hannah Quist has a message for the two levels of government.

“I really think they need to put their differences aside and just accept that this is an issue, we know it’s an issue forever we need to stop ignoring it,” said Quist.