CCentral-Main-logo-EN-trans

Convenience Central
Join our community
extra content
Unknown

Court rules Ontario broke law when scrapping cap and trade system but no change expected

An Ontario court says Premier Doug Ford’s government broke the law when it scrapped the province’s cap-and-trade system but even the groups who launched the case concede the finding won’t bring the program back.

Two of three judges on a divisional court panel said the government violated provincial laws when it failed to consult the public on a regulation ending Ontario’s cap-and-trade program last year.

The environmental groups that launched the case had sought a formal declaration against the government, but the judges declined the request and dismissed the case.

Greenpeace Canada called the ruling a symbolic victory but acknowledged the decision would never have forced the government to revive the program.

The groups said the Environmental Bill of Rights states that the province’s residents have the right to a 30-day consultation process on environmentally significant legislation.

Ontario’s cap-and-trade system aimed to lower greenhouse gas emissions by putting caps on the amount of pollution companies in certain industries could emit.

Premier Doug Ford made good on an election promise to scrap the system during last year.


vw-id-2380e

Auto manufacturers bet big on electric. Will consumers buy in?

The headwinds buffeting the auto industry made themselves felt at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with companies confronting a slowdown in sales due to global trade uncertainty and pressure from governments to lower emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases.

vw-id-2380eSigns of the times at this year’s show include a slew of new, market-ready electric cars led by Volkswagen’s ID.3 compact that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

European carmakers will be rolling out new battery-powered vehicles to meet the European Union’s tougher limits from 2021 on emissions of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas blamed for global warming. The lower limits are part of the EU’s effort to meet the targets of the 2015 Paris climate accord. China, the world’s largest auto market, is also pushing for more low-emission vehicles.

Yet it remains very much open whether consumers will want to buy electric cars, given concerns about range, lack of places to charge away from home, and higher purchase prices. Battery vehicles were only 1.8% of the European market through the first six months of the year, according to figures from industry analysts at JATO Dynamics. The cars have sold better in the high end of the market, as exemplified by Tesla’s Model S and Model X.

The argument for rolling out so many new electric cars is that consumers need to see enough to choose from before they will change their purchasing habits. Some 20 models will hit the European market by 2021, targeting 400,000 in sales, according to research firm Bernstein, in a European market of roughly 15 million cars sold annually.

Volkswagen has committed most heavily to electric cars among European manufacturers. It hopes to have a mass market electric car in the ID.3 compact, which it says will have a base price under 30,000 euros ($33,000), about as much as a similarly equipped Golf diesel.

Others with new electric offerings include Honda with the e, which replaces side mirrors with cameras, and Daimler’s Smart with restyled versions of its small cars. At the high end, Porsche is taking aim at the Tesla Model S with the Taycan, a high-performance coupe starting at 152,000 euros in Germany including value-added tax and from $152,000 in the U.S.

Ford Motor Co. says that more than half of its European sales will be electric-powered by 2022 as it unveils a premium model of its Puma crossover that uses recovered braking energy to boost acceleration.

Ford showed off the Puma Titanium X at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The vehicle is a so-called mild hybrid, meaning it can store energy from braking and coasting in a 48-volt lithium-ion battery and send that power to the wheels to assist the gasoline engine when needed.

Ford, which got a late start in developing electric vehicles, last year sold 974,856 passenger vehicles overall in Europe.

It says it will have a battery-only SUV based on the Mustang in 2020. In the meantime it is offering plug-in hybrids that combine battery power with internal combustion engines to lower emissions and increase mileage. Like all automakers, Ford is facing stricter European Union limits on average emissions of carbon dioxide starting in 2021 and must find a lower emission vehicle mix to avoid fines.

BMW’s marketing chief says giving customers a broad choice among internal combustion, hybrid and battery-powered cars is the right approach to a changing market.

Pieter Nota says the Munich-based luxury automaker delivers “power of choice” to consumers by offering “`the drive train that they want and need.” The company will add a battery-only version of its X3 SUV next year to round out conventional and hybrid versions of the vehicle. BMW is even showing off a concept car powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

BMW is relying on the mix of vehicles to comply with tighter C02 emissions requirements in Europe while competitor Volkswagen is making a big push into battery-only cars with its ID.3 coming to market next year despite currently low uptake by consumers of battery-powered cars.

Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz is showing off a long, sleek battery-powered concept vehicle that could join the luxury carmaker’s model lineup alongside its S-Class flagship sedans.

The Vision EQS is the latest version of the company’s EQ series of battery vehicles, which were a key theme at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

CEO Ola Kallenius said: “What we showed today is the first large-platform sedan, fully electric on a dedicated platform, so we think we can capture even more customers through having a wider offer.”

The concept, with a black LED display instead of a grille, slightly bulging wheel wells and a long, sweeping illuminated line running along the vehicle, is “a hint” of what the production car might eventually look like.

The company says the four-seater car has two electric motors that accelerate it to 100 kph (62 mph) in 4.5 seconds and an exceptional battery range of 700 kilometres (435 miles.) Kallenius declined to specify how the company achieved range beyond what other electrics currently offer.

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess says his company’s massive scale will enable it to make profits on large numbers of affordable electric cars it aims to sell in the next several years.

Electric competitor Tesla has not yet turned a profit while analysts say fellow German automaker BMW has lost money on its i3 electric.

Diess told The Associated Press: “Our approach is different. We come with high volumes, we come with a dedicated platform that is only for electric cars, and we generate a lot of scale because we are investing at the same time in China, in Europe, and in the US.”


Ford to decide on carbon tax court challenge after federal election

Doug Ford says the fate of Ontario’s carbon tax court challenge will be decided after the federal election, raising the possibility that his government could end up abandoning the legal action.

When asked Friday what he would do if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are re-elected on Oct. 21, the premier said he would have to re-assess Ontario’s position.

“We’ll sit down and consult with the attorney general … We’ll be consulting with the cabinet and then we’ll move forward from there,” he said

Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has said he would scrap the national carbon tax if his party forms government.

Voters, Ford said, would have the ultimate say.

“This carbon tax, it’s not going to be the courts that are going to decide. The people are going to decide when the election is held,” he said. “Once the people decide, I believe in democracy, I respect democracy, we move on.”

The Progressive Conservative government lost its case against the federal carbon price at the province’s top court in June and said it would appeal to the Supreme Court.

Ford’s spokeswoman Ivana Yelich said Friday that the government believes the carbon tax is a “cash grab under the guise of environmental policy” and will do everything it can to fight it.

Other provinces, including Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba, are also challenging the carbon price in court.

A spokesman for Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said Friday that the province’s legal action will continue, regardless of the outcome of the election.

“Our government believes that the federal election provides a significant opportunity for voters in Saskatchewan and across Canada to soundly reject the harmful and ineffective federal carbon tax,” Jim Billington said in a statement.

“However, we recognize that an important question of jurisdictional authority will continue to exist no matter which federal party is elected come October.”

Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said the Ford government’s lawsuit has always been “political theatre.”

“What’s really causing the premier to consider backing down is people’s overwhelming desire for climate leadership,” he said in a statement. “No one wants a premier who will waste tax dollars sabotaging solutions when the local and global impacts of climate change are becoming more and more dire.”

Greenpeace Canada said Ford should drop the case immediately.

“If Premier Ford wants to stop wasting our tax money on efforts to stop other governments from filling the hole he has created in Canada’s response to the climate crisis, then he should cut his losses and do it now,” said the group’s senior energy strategist, Keith Stewart.

The Ontario government has pledged to spend approximately $30 million fighting the federal carbon price in court.

It’s also using some of those funds to wage a public relations battle against the federal Liberal government that includes making gas station owners stick anti-carbon tax stickers on pumps across the province by the end of next week.

Ford said Friday that gas station owners who don’t put the stickers on their pumps will face fines but stressed that they would be less than the maximum penalty of $10,000 a day.

The law lets the Tory government send inspectors to see if gas stations are properly displaying the stickers and sets out penalties for non-compliance.

Individuals could be fined up to $500 each day, or up to $1,000 a day for subsequent offences. Corporations could be fined up to $5,000 a day, or up to $10,000 a day for subsequent offences.

“We will enforce them if these gas stations are not putting them up and it’s not going to be $10,000, it’s going to be less than $500,” Ford said.

The blue stickers show the federal carbon tax adding 4.4 cents per litre to the price of gas now, rising to 11 cents a litre in 2022.

The sticker plan has drawn condemnation from the opposition parties, business groups and the threat of a legal challenge from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

 


Pump sticker violators will be fined but won’t face max penalty: Ford

Screen Shot 2019-08-23 at 1.11.23 PMPremier Doug Ford says gas station owners who don’t put his government’s anti- carbon tax stickers on their pumps will be fined but won’t be handed the maximum penalty available.

Ford says his government will enforce a law passed earlier this year that makes the stickers mandatory, but the fines will be less than $500, not the $10,000 maximum.

The law lets the government send inspectors to see if gas stations are properly displaying the stickers and sets out penalties for non-compliance.

Individuals could be fined up to $500 each day, or up to $1,000 a day for subsequent offences. Corporations could be fined up to $5,000 a day, or up to $10,000 a day for subsequent offences.

The stickers show the federal carbon tax adding 4.4 cents per litre to the price of gas now, rising to 11 cents a litre in 2022.

Stations have to have the stickers in place by August 30th.


Industry reacts to proposed fines for Ontario gas stations not posting anti-carbon-tax stickers

Buried in Ontario’s budget bill are fines of up to $10,000 per day for gas station operators who don’t display government-mandated stickers about the price of the carbon tax.

gas-stickerThe budget contains a new piece of legislation called the Federal Carbon Tax Transparency Act that would require gas stations to display the sticker on each pump. The sticker shows the federal carbon tax adding 4.4 cents per litre to the price of gas now, rising to 11 cents a litre in 2022.

The legislation lets the government send inspectors to see if gas stations are properly displaying the stickers and sets out penalties for non-compliance.

Individuals could be fined up to $500 each day, or up to $1,000 a day for subsequent offences. Corporations could be fined up to $5,000 a day, or up to $10,000 a day for subsequent offences.

Obstructing an inspector would carry a fine of at least $500 and up to $10,000.

“This is a new low, even for (Premier) Doug Ford,” NDP energy critic Peter Tabuns said in a statement. “It’s bad enough that he’s wasting public money on partisan promotion, but now he’s threatening private business owners with massive fines for failing to post [Progressive] Conservative Party advertisement.”

Similar critiques came from federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, who denounced the fines as “ridiculous.”

“Not only is this a violation of freedom of speech, it will cost small business owners across the province who don’t want to take part in this government propaganda campaign,” McKenna said in a statement.

“This should be denounced by all political parties as a new low for our political discourse.”

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said Ford is wasting tax dollars and abusing legal tools to bolster his anti-carbon tax campaign.

“This has nothing to do with transparency and everything to do with helping his federal cousins win the election,” Schreiner said in a statement.

‘We cannot accept this carbon tax’

The provincial Tories are slamming the federal carbon tax at every turn, and while Ford has said he is staying out of the upcoming federal election, he directly linked the two Friday in a speech to the Ontario General Contractors Association.

“When you go to the ballot box think of your future,” he said. “Think of the country’s future. Think of your children’s future, because we cannot accept this carbon tax.”

In response, the Ontario Convenience Stores Association said on Twitter: “Independent family run gas stations are more then happy to install the carbon tax sticker on all our pumps supporting Ford Nation in educating customers of the carbon tax download on all Ontarians. Let us know how to help?”

Energy Minister Greg Rickford’s director of communications said the stickers are about transparency.

But critics note that the stickers don’t mention carbon tax rebates.

The carbon tax is expected cost to a typical household $258 this year and $648 by 2022.
With files from Michelle Warren.