Canada set to introduce carbon tax

Anmar Frangoul | Special to
Rick Eglinton | Toronto Star | Getty Images

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced his government will introduce a plan that will see every Canadian jurisdiction put a price on carbon pollution by 2018.

In a speech to Parliament on Monday, Trudeau said that provinces and territories would be able to put a direct price on carbon pollution or opt for a cap-and-trade system with the "expectation that it be stringent enough to meet or exceed the federal benchmark."

Setting out his government's plans, Trudeau said that the proposed price on carbon pollution would start at 10 Canadian dollars ($7.60) per tonne in 2018, rising by 10 Canadian dollars each year, and hitting 50 Canadian dollars per tonne by 2022.

"Provinces and territories that choose cap-and-trade systems will need to decrease emissions in line to both Canada's target and to the reductions expected in jurisdictions that choose a price-based system," he added.

The Canadian Prime Minister's announcement came as the country's politicians began debating the historic Paris Agreement, reached at last year's United Nations' COP21 summit.

Trudeau went on to state that putting a price on carbon pollution had been proven to be "a good way to prevent heavy polluters from emitting greenhouse gases that fuel climate change and threaten the entire planet."

Trudeau's announcement drew criticism from some lawmakers, including Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, the Associated Press reported.

"I cannot believe that while the country's environment ministers were meeting on a so-called collaborative climate change plan, the Prime Minister stood in the House of Commons and announced a carbon tax unilaterally," Wall said in a statement posted on the government of Saskatchewan's website.

Wall added that the disrespect shown by Trudeau and his government was "stunning."

"This new tax will damage our economy," he went on to say. "The bottom line is that the Saskatchewan economy, already hurting from a downturn in commodity prices, will be one of the hardest hit by a new federal carbon tax because of our trade-exposed resource industries."

The Associated Press contributed to this report