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McKenna announces carbon tax on Alberta

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Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says she has given notice to the provincial government in Alberta that the federal government will begin imposing its price on carbon in the province beginning Jan.1, 2020.

McKenna made the announcement in Ottawa today, a week after Alberta’s Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell signed the province’s Carbon Tax Repeal Act into law.

“As a result of Alberta’s decision to make it free to pollute in Alberta, we will have the federal price on pollution,” she said. “It’s unfortunate, because Alberta had a made-in-Alberta plan to put a price on pollution.”

McKenna said Canada needs Alberta to take part in the pan-Canadian framework on climate change because it’s the province with the highest emissions in the country.

Under the terms of the framework — a deal agreed to by most of the provinces and the federal government in December 2016 — provinces had to develop policies to put a price on carbon through a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system.

As a part of the plan, Ottawa said it would impose a tax on provinces that refuse to develop their own plans — at a rate of $20 on every tonne of greenhouse gas emissions starting in 2019, rising by $10 each year to $50 a tonne by 2022.

McKenna said that, by law, 100 per cent of the revenues collected federally will go back to Alberta — 90 per cent returned to families and the remaining 10 per cent directed to funding schools, hospitals, municipalities and green energy initiatives.

But because that revenue is being returned to families, a family of four in Alberta will be able to claim a rebate of $888 when they file their income taxes next year, she said.

“Its unfortunate that we’re in this situation with another conservative premier … who doesn’t seem to understand that pricing pollution is proven, that provinces that have had a price on pollution have been the fastest-growing in the country and pricing pollution is the most efficient way to reduce emissions,” McKenna said.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said the federal government will begin imposing a carbon tax on Alberta in January 2020. 1:12

Alberta’s Environment Minister Jason Nixon said that with the provincial tax gone and the new tax not coming in until the new year, Albertans will enjoy some of the lowest gas prices in the country for the time being.

“Thankfully, Premier Kenney followed through on his promise of killing the carbon tax,” he said. “We’ve removed that tax from our system and at least for the next several months, until January first, we won’t have the burden of the carbon tax on our economy.”

Nixon noted that the introduction of the federal tax hinges on the Liberals winning the October federal election.

“There will be a federal election in-between and many things can happen between now and January 1,” he said.

Joining the conservative pack

Before losing the provincial election in April, NDP Premier Rachel Notley introduced a carbon tax in Alberta. The tax was imposed in 2015 but it did not take effect until Jan. 1, 2017.

It started at $20 per tonne of carbon emissions and increased to $30 the following year — but the annual price increases were put on hold by Notley after the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline was halted.

The Carbon Tax Repeal Act was the first piece of legislation introduced by Premier Jason Kenney and his newly elected United Conservative government.

Kenney won the provincial election on a promise to kill the tax, saying it hadn’t helped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and took money out of the pockets of working families.

Kenney said his government will continue with a tax on large industrial greenhouse gas emitters and has promised to challenge the constitutionality of the federal carbon tax in court.

Alberta now joins four other provinces led by centre-right premiers — Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Saskatchewan — which have cancelled their provincial plans only to see the federal government impose its own.

Meeting the Paris targets

When Canada signed on to the Paris agreement, it pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

According to a report published today by the Parliamentary Budget Office, the pan-Canadian framework will not meet that goal without imposing a second tax of $6 a tonne in 2023, rising to $52 per tonne by 2030. If that plan was imposed on top of the Liberal framework, Canadians would have to pay as much as $102 per tonne by 2030.

In a statement, McKenna said that the federal government has “no plan to increase the price post 2022.”

“We will meet our 2030 target through what we are already doing and new measures, including tackling plastic pollution, doubling the amount of nature that we are protecting, investments in clean tech and innovation,” she said.

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MacKay will vote for Scheer to stay on as Conservative Leader

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Former Conservative cabinet minister Peter MacKay says that when the time comes to vote on Andrew Scheer’s continued leadership of the party, he’s going to back the Conservative Leader.

The comment comes less than two weeks after MacKay told a Wilson Centre think tank panel in Washington that Scheer’s 2019 election loss “was like having a breakaway on an open net and missing the net.”

Now, MacKay – whose name has been floated as a potential challenger to Scheer for the top spot in the party – told CTV Power Play host Don Martin that he supports the current leader and will continue to do so.

“Well Andrew Scheer is going to face a mandatory review, Don, that’s part of the Conservative constitution, so that will be for he and the membership. I’ll be there, and I’ll be voting no,” MacKay told Martin in a pre-taped interview, airing Monday.

MacKay also walked back other comments made during the same panel on Oct. 30. At the time, MacKay said the chatter about issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage “hung around Andrew Scheer’s neck like stinking albatross, quite frankly.”

Speaking to Martin on Monday, MacKay said those comments weren’t directed at Scheer’s position on those issues.

“Those comments, of course, were torqued. It was about the election performance generally, writ large, myself included. It wasn’t aimed directly at Andrew Scheer – and when I said there was an albatross around his neck, he didn’t put it there. It was put there by the media, it was put there by the opposition quite deliberately to hamstring his performance,” said MacKay.

Asked about the lack of clarity surrounding Scheer’s personal beliefs on same-sex marriage, MacKay couldn’t explain why Scheer hasn’t been more clear.

“I think Andrew Scheer, who has very strong beliefs, doesn’t think it’s a sin and I can’t answer why it is he hasn’t been more direct in his answer,” MacKay said.

MacKay went on to defend both Andrew Scheer and the Conservative Party’s record when it comes to protecting human rights.

“Andrew Scheer was part of the Conservative government for ten years that not only didn’t remove rights, it enhanced rights. It spoke up for people’s rights on the international stage…there’s a proud legacy that Andrew Scheer is a part of, can take ownership of, and can proudly stand behind and I believe he is doing that. He’s trying to make that case.”

Scheer was criticized during the election campaign for failing to clarify his personal beliefs on issues including same-sex marriage and abortion. Scheer, a social Conservative who has publicly opposed both issues in the past, says he would uphold the law on abortion.

He also said in a pre-campaign speech that if he formed government, he would “support and introduce” legislation that protects LGBTQ Canadians.

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Nova Scotians condemn Don Cherry’s poppy comments

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Joseph Lunda recalls choking back tears while teaching high school students about the contributions of Canadian soldiers in the First and Second World Wars.

A historian, he immigrated to Canada from the Democratic Republic of Congo 37 years ago, and became a Canadian history teacher in Nova Scotia.

“Any time I’m talking about a site where Canadians fought, all the time tears were coming,” he told Global News at the Remembrance Day Ceremony in Dartmouth.

“Why? Because I remember what these people have done for all of us to benefit (from) — the liberty, the freedom — in this country.”

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Lunda is one of many Canadian immigrants who felt hurt by comments from Don Cherry suggesting not enough newcomers wear poppies, and therefore don’t support veterans.

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Cherry made the complaint during his Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday, and has since received an abundance of backlash, including calls for his resignation.

Lunda, who now teaches at Université Sainte-Anne, attended the Remembrance Day Ceremony with his family. He said not wearing a poppy is not necessarily an indication that one doesn’t support members of the Canadian Armed Forces, past or present.

“Let’s say I have it on my chest and it falls down, and I meet Don Cherry. He’s going to tell me I’m not supporting veterans?” he said. “You see I am here at this memorial. Why am I here? Because I support.”

Others agreed with Lunda and spoke out against the hockey commentator’s suggestion.

Don Cherry faces backlash over comments on Remembrance Day, poppies and immigrants

Gerry White, a veteran of both Royal Canadian Navy and RCMP, said it’s “pretty straightforward” — Cherry’s comments were “out of line.”

“I won’t say disgusting, (but) I guess I already did,” White told Global News. “I don’t think that was a comment that’s shared by the large majority of Canadians…

“One of the rights we fought for was your right to wear a poppy or not wear a poppy. It’s pretty straightforward.”

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Civilians and military members lay down wreaths at the Sullivan’s Pond Cenotaph in Dartmouth, N.S. on Remembrance Day.

Civilians and military members lay down wreaths at the Sullivan’s Pond Cenotaph in Dartmouth, N.S. on Remembrance Day.


Elizabeth McSheffrey/Global News

Dartmouth-Cole Harbour MP Darren Fisher said he was “very disappointed” in Cherry’s Saturday night rant and said Canada is a country made up of immigrants. The new federal government in Ottawa has a responsibility to unite Canadians, he added, in the face of anti-immigrant sentiments.

“We hear it occasionally and it’s very disappointing every time we hear it. This is not a time to be divisive in Canada, this is a time to be united,” he explained.

“Look at the crowds here today. This is a beautiful, beautiful day to honour our veterans — the women and men who served Canada.”

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“I think Canadians get it more and more.”

Fisher said he’d like to see all Canadians show the same level of support for veterans, not just on Remembrance Day, but every day.

Cherry has yet to apologize for his comments over the weekend. Late on Monday Sportsnet confirmed that Cherry had stepped down from his role on Hockey Night in Canada.

“Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday Night’s Broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down,” said Sportsnet’s president Bart Yabsley in a statement.

“During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for,” said Yabsley in a statement.

—With files from Hannah Jackson 

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Man up and apologize, Liberal MP from Quebec tells Don Cherry

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Greg Fergus notes his Montserrat-born grandfather was a tailor in the RAF — “that was as far as they would let that young Black man serve.”

Don Cherry, in his weekly Hockey Night in Canada segment, suggested new immigrants were not wearing poppies in the days leading up to Remembrance Day. Darren Calabrese / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Liberal MP for Hull-Aylmer is calling upon Don Cherry to apologize for remarks about immigrants he made on last Saturday’s edition of Hockey Night in Canada.

“My Montserrat-born and bred grandfather signed up for the RAF and served as a tailor, for that was as far as they would let that young Black man serve,” Greg Fergus wrote in his Twitter account in the hours after Cherry’s comments. “Because of that service, he was able to bring his young family to Canada.

“Seven decades later, I am able to take my seat in the House of Commons and serve my country. Mr. Cherry: my grandfather’s story is not unique. I trust you are a big enough man to apologize for your comments.”

Fergus’ comments are part of the larger wave of backlash over comments made about immigrants by Cherry during his Coach’s Corner segment.

The 85-year-old commentator — no stranger to controversy sparked by his comments in the past — suggested new immigrants were not wearing poppies in the days leading up to Remembrance Day.

“You people … that come here … you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that,” Cherry said. “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”

After Cherry’s remarks sparked a massive online backlash, Sportsnet issued an apology, saying “Don’s discriminatory comments are offensive and they do not represent our values and what we stand for as a network.”

Ron MacLean, Cherry’s on-air sidekick who had nodded and given a thumbs up during the remarks, also issued an apology, saying the comments were “were hurtful and prejudiced and I wish I had handled myself differently. It was a divisive moment and I am truly upset with myself for allowing it.”

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