Scheer on his climate plan, supply management, and the push towards legal pot
Published Saturday, September 29, 2018 10:45AM EDT
OTTAWA -- As parliamentarians settle in for the fall sitting, Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer is sharing his latest thinking on his climate policy -- which may not be as initially billed -- and how he’d handle some key policy areas differently than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
As Scheer and his caucus continue to questioning the Liberal government on the big issues that dominated summer headlines, he is also beginning to roll out the policies his party plans to run on.
Though, on one major file in which he’s vowed to fight the government on -- the carbon tax -- his alternative plan is still being crafted.
Despite repeated questioning, he couldn't say definitively if it will meet the United Nations targets he's previously committed to.
"I will have a plan. Our team is working on it right now. It’s going to be a comprehensive plan. It’s going to have meaningful action," Scheer told Evan Solomon, host of CTV’s Question Period in an interview airing Sunday.
The Tory plan will incentivize businesses to make greenhouse gas reductions, and will take into account the impact on the economy.
But will it meet the UN's Paris Agreement targets?
"It will capture the principle that we can do things better here in Canada, with higher environmental standards, that actually has a better impact on Global emissions," Scheer said.
Asked again, Scheer restated: "It will be a comprehensive plan that will have meaningful reductions that will absolutely have a better impact than the Liberal plan."
In an appearance on the show back in April, Scheer had said that "of course" his party would meet the targets they've previously voted in favour of.
In the latest interview, Scheer said that his plan will "absolutely" be released. In the meantime, it's unclear if and how those targets will be met without a price on carbon.
Meanwhile, the federal government is pushing ahead with its plan to impose a federal price on carbon -- up to $50 per excess tonne by 2022 -- on provinces that don’t implement their own, despite a considerable headwind of growing provincial opposition.
Scheer described the Liberal plan as being "in tatters," as the provincial landscape continues to shift and more premiers are pushing back on the government's plan.
Later this week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford is meeting up with Alberta United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney in Calgary to hold a "scrap the carbon tax" rally.
Scheer said he'd been keen to attend events like this and said he’s excited to have conservative allies join his fight against what he views as a job-killing tax.
Will remain a supply management defender
On the fate of the NAFTA talks, Scheer said his criticisms of the way the current government is handling the negotiations and President Donald Trump is in response to the uncertainty being felt in Canada.
He thinks Trudeau hasn’t done a good enough job at assuring Canadians that they’ve got two hands on the wheel, even more so with the recent re-stated threat that the auto sector could be hit with "devastating" tariffs.
"Justin Trudeau has to explain to Canadians how we find ourselves in a situation where the Mexicans and the Americans have reached a side deal with Canada on the sidelines. He has to explain how we’ve got ourselves in the position where it doesn’t seem like we’ve got these leverage points," Scheer said.
Though, he backed the government on its defence of supply management as part of the talks, calling it a "system that has worked very well in Canada."
"I am defending a principle that protects our rural economy, that protects family farms," Scheer said.
Waiting for pot rollout
As October 17 becomes a date closer and closer on the calendar, Scheer said his caucus is keeping a close eye on how the implementation of the new legalized recreational regime goes, but to expect to hear more from them soon.
"We will be speaking more about this as the legalization date comes and goes, and we see the impacts of it, and we see what happens to police forces, to municipalities, and provinces."
Watch the entire interview as part of the full show on Sunday. It airs on CTV News’ Facebook page, CTV News Channel and CTV at 11 a.m. ET.