OTTAWA – Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer acknowledges that his proposal to cap emissions from big polluters will include the government setting a cost per tonne of excess emissions, but he won’t call it a price.

A big piece of his plan is to force large-scale polluters—those who emit more than 40 kilotonnes a year—to reinvest in certified emissions-reducing technology a “set amount” for every tonne they emit over the limit, instead of paying penalties to the government.

In an interview on CTV’s Question Period Scheer said that if elected, his government would set the emissions target, and would set the amount these companies and factories will have to spend on clean tech, but he refused to call it a “tax,” or even a “price.”

“We will set... that cap, we will allocate those funds, but it’s not a tax,” Scheer said. “The key difference between a tax and this plan is that the government doesn’t collect this revenue… this is a process, a mechanism whereby these emitters can invest in reducing their emissions.”

Scheer has billed his plan as Canada’s “best chance” to meet the Paris targets without a carbon tax, but his proposals lack any estimates on how successful this slate of policies would be at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Asked what the price will be per tonne for these large emitters, Scheer said that’s a detail yet to be determined.

“We will be setting all those rates, we will be setting that schedule, and it will be designed to ensure that large industrial emitters play their role,” he said.

Scheer defended the lack of clear targets in his plan, saying that in comparison to what the Liberals offered before they were elected, his pitch has more to offer.

The 60-page plan—“A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment”— includes 55 policy proposals aimed at supporting green technology innovation, and protecting the environment. A carbon tax is not one of them, nor is a ban on single-use plastics.

“When you compare this plan to the Liberal plan that was proposed when they were in opposition, it was a page, one page in their platform. This is 60 pages with over 50 specific commitments based on some real numbers, some real estimations,” Scheer said.