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LETTER: Conservative's Brown misleading voters on carbon pricing, candidates charge

Newmarket-Aurora Liberal, NDP and Green Party candidates are calling out Conservative Lois Brown for 'false and misleading' statements about funds generated by the federal carbon pricing system
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Newmarket-Aurora Conservative Party candidate Lois Brown declined an invitation to participate in the Drawdown/KAIROS all candidates forum. Kim Champion/NewmarketToday

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Climate change is the existential challenge of our time. Today, it is no longer free to pollute anywhere in Canada. A price on pollution is one of the pillars of Canada’s current climate plan, the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

The three of us agree with the experts who tell us that carbon pricing is the most effective and efficient way of reducing emissions.

However, on pollution pricing, our Conservative Party of Canada opponent, Lois Brown, has been misleading this community.

After electing not to attend the Newmarket-Aurora Drawdown/KAIROS York Region all candidates forum, she has stated, on multiple public occasions, that the federal price on pollution is a “carbon tax plan” that raises money for “general [government] revenue.”

Whether out of ignorance or wilful deception, Lois’ statement is false and misleading.

Simply put, the federal carbon pricing system does not raise money for general revenue. The federal backstop, which only applies in Ontario because Doug Ford cancelled the provincial climate plan already in place, does two things with the proceeds raised.

First, it returns the majority back to Canadians through Climate Action Incentive payments on their tax returns. This means that an average family of four will receive $307 in 2019, with those in small and remote communities receiving an additional 10 per cent.

The remainder goes either to particularly affected sectors like schools, hospitals and small businesses, or to other investments and projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The federal government does not keep a dollar.

Reasonable people can disagree on the best approach to address the threat of climate change, but the people of Newmarket-Aurora deserve better than a Conservative Party of Canada candidate who makes a decision to mislead voters about something that is so demonstrably untrue.

Tony Van Bynen, Newmarket-Aurora candidate, Liberal Party of Canada
Yvonne Kelly, Newmarket-Aurora candidate, New Democratic Party
Walter Bauer, Newmarket-Aurora candidate, Green Party of Canada