John Baird put a price on carbon in writing and signed his name to it

On January 7, 2008, the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy released a report, which recommended, among other things, that the federal government “implement a strong, clear, consistent and certain GHG emission price signal across the entire Canadian economy as soon as possible” and “institute a market-based policy that takes the form of an emission tax or a cap-and-trade system or a combination of the two.” In response to coverage of that report, John Baird, the environment minister at the time, wrote letters to the Ottawa Citizen, Calgary Herald, Kitchener-Waterloo Record, Toronto Star, Edmonton Journal, Cape Breton Post, Kingston Whig-Standard and St. Albert Gazette.

Here are those letters, emphasis mine in each case.

To the Citizen, published January 14.

The Citizen editorial on the recent report from the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy focused largely on the issue of carbon taxes, when the report also addressed a number of other ideas.

Our government was pleased to see that the National Roundtable agrees with us that fighting climate change over the medium- and long-term requires working in concert with the world, that policy certainty beyond the short-term is central, that technology deployment is imperative and that an integrated approach to climate change and air pollution is necessary.

As minister of the environment, I strongly believe in the polluter pays principle, instead of an across-the-board carbon tax. That’s why our “Turning the Corner” plan to cut greenhouse gases an absolute 20 per cent by 2020, focuses on mandatory emission reductions for big industry – those who create the most greenhouse gases and air pollution. Our government also believes that Canadians pay enough in taxes and don’t need more taxes in their lives.

For the first time in Canadian history, we will have mandatory targets, unlike the Liberals who preferred a weak, voluntary approach. Our plan also will require big industry to pay into a technology fund starting at $15 per tonne of carbon, putting a price on carbon for those who emit the most.

Our “Turning the Corner” plan is a realistic and balanced plan that will help the environment and ensure economic stability. This government is intent on fighting climate change here at home and abroad, and we will continue that fight now and in the future.

John Baird,
Ottawa
Minister of the environment

To the Herald, published January 14.

Your editorial on the recent report from the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) focused largely on the issue of carbon taxes, when the report also addressed a number of other ideas.

Our government was pleased NRTEE agrees with us that fighting climate change over the medium- and long-term requires working in concert with the world, that policy certainty beyond the short-term is central, technology deployment is imperative, and an integrated approach to climate change and air pollution is necessary.

I strongly believe in the “polluter pays” principle, instead of a carbon tax. That’s why our Turning the Corner plan to cut greenhouse gases 20 per cent by 2020 focuses on mandatory emissions reductions for big industry — those who create the most greenhouse gases and air pollution. This government also believes Canadians pay enough in taxes.

For the first time, we will have mandatory targets, unlike the Liberals who preferred a weak, voluntary approach. Our plan also will require big industry to pay into a technology fund starting at $15 per tonne of carbon, putting a price on carbon for those who emit the most.

Ours is a realistic and balanced plan that will help the environment and ensure economic stability. This government is intent on fighting climate change.

John Baird,
Gatineau, Que.
John Baird is federal minister of the Environment

To the Record, published January 12.

The Record’s Jan. 11 editorial, It’s Time To Cut Our Carbon Emissions, on the recent report from the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy focused largely on the issue of carbon taxes, when the report also addressed a number of other ideas.

Our government was pleased to see that the Roundtable agrees with us that fighting climate change over the medium and long-term requires working in concert with the world, that policy certainty beyond the short-term is central, that technology deployment is imperative, and that an integrated approach to climate change and air pollution is necessary.

However, as environment minister, I strongly believe in the “polluter pays” principle, instead of an across the board carbon tax. That’s why our Turning the Corner plan to cut greenhouse gases an absolute 20 per cent by 2020, focuses on mandatory emissions reductions for big industry — those who create the most greenhouse gases and air pollution. This government also believes that Canadians pay enough in taxes and don’t need more taxes in their lives.

For the first time in Canadian history, we will have mandatory targets, unlike the Liberals who preferred a weak, voluntary approach. Our plan also will require big industry to pay into a technology fund starting at $15 per tonne of carbon, putting a price on carbon for those who emit the most.

The reality is that our Turning the Corner plan is a realistic and balanced plan that will help the environment and ensure economic stability. This government is intent on fighting climate change here at home and abroad, and we will continue that fight now and in the future.

John Baird
Minister of the Environment
Gatineau, Que.

To the Star, published January 11.

It was disappointing to read your editorial on the recent report from the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, which misled your readers about the position of the federal government.

Our government was pleased to see that the advisory group agrees with us that fighting climate change over the medium and long term requires working in concert with the world, that policy certainty beyond the short term is central, that technology deployment is imperative, and that an integrated approach to climate change and air pollution is necessary.

However, as Minister of the Environment, I strongly believe in the “polluter pays” principle, instead of an across-the-board carbon tax. That’s why our Turning the Corner plan to cut greenhouse gases an absolute 20 per cent by 2020 focuses on mandatory emissions reductions for big industry – those who create the most greenhouse gases and air pollution.

For the first time in Canadian history, we will have mandatory targets. Our plan also will require big industry to pay into a technology fund starting at $15 per tonne of carbon, putting a price on carbon for those who emit the most.

John Baird, Minister of the Environment, Ottawa

To the Journal, published January 12.

It was disappointing to read your editorial on the report of the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE), which misled your readers about the position of our government, not only on the report, but also on a number of environmental issues.

Our government was pleased to see that the NRTEE agrees with us that fighting climate change over the medium and long term requires working in concert with the world, that policy certainty beyond the short term is central, that technology deployment is imperative, and that an integrated approach to climate change and air pollution is necessary.

However, as minister of the environment, I strongly believe in the “polluter-pays” principle, instead of an across-the-board carbon tax. That’s why our Turning the Corner plan to cut greenhouse gases an absolute 20 per cent by 2020 focuses on mandatory emissions reductions for big industry — those who create the most greenhouse gases and air pollution.

This government also believes that Canadians pay enough in taxes and don’t need more taxes in their lives.

For the first time in Canadian history, we will have mandatory targets, unlike the Liberals who preferred a weak, voluntary approach.

Our plan also will require big industry to pay into a technology fund starting at $15 per tonne of carbon, putting a price on carbon for those who emit the most.

The reality is that our Turning the Corner plan is realistic and balanced and will help the environment and ensure economic stability. This government is intent on fighting climate change here at home and abroad, and we will continue that fight now and in the future.

John Baird, minister of the environment, Ottawa

To the Post, published January 11.

The Jan. 9 editorial, Parties Dig in on Climate, on the recent report from the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy focused largely on the issue of carbon taxes. The report also addressed a number of other ideas.

Our government was pleased to see that the NRTEE agrees with us that fighting climate change over the medium and long term requires working in concert with the world, that policy certainty beyond the short term is central, that technology deployment is imperative, and that an integrated approach to climate change and air pollution is necessary.

However, as minister of the environment I strongly believe in the “polluter pays” principle, instead of an across-the-board carbon tax. That’s why our Turning the Corner plan to cut greenhouse gases an absolute 20 per cent by 2020 focuses on mandatory emissions reductions for big industry – those that create the most greenhouse gases and air pollution.

This government also believes that Canadians pay enough in taxes and don’t need more taxes in their lives.

For the first time in Canadian history, we will have mandatory targets, unlike the Liberals who preferred a weak, voluntary approach. Our plan also will require big industry to pay into a technology fund starting at $15 per tonne of carbon, putting a price on carbon for those who emit the most.

Our Turning the Corner plan is realistic and balanced. It will help the environment and ensure economic stability. This government is intent on fighting climate change here at home and abroad, and we will continue that fight now and in the future.

John Baird

Minister of the Environment, Ottawa

To the Whig-Standard, published January 11.

It was disappointing to read the Whig-Standard’s editorial on the recent report from the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy (“Greenhouse gas pains,” Jan 9), which misled Whig readers about the position of our government, not just on the report but on a number of environmental issues.

Our government was pleased to see that the report agrees with us that fighting climate change over the medium and long term requires working in concert with the world, that policy certainty beyond the short term is central, that technology deployment is imperative, and that an integrated approach to climate change and air pollution is necessary.

However, as minister of the environment, I strongly believe in the “polluter pays” principle instead of an across-the-board carbon tax. That’s why our “Turning the Corner” plan to cut greenhouse gases an absolute 20 per cent by 2020 focuses on mandatory emissions reductions for big industry – those who create the most greenhouse gases and air pollution. This government also believes that Canadians pay enough in taxes and don’t need more taxes in their lives.

For the first time in Canadian history, we will have mandatory targets, unlike the Liberals, who preferred a weak, voluntary approach. Our plan also will require big industry to pay into a technology fund starting at $15 per tonne of carbon, putting a price on carbon for those who emit the most.

The reality is that our “Turning the Corner” plan is a realistic and balanced plan that will help the environment and ensure economic stability. This government is intent on fighting climate change at home and abroad, and we will continue that fight in the future.

John Baird

Minister of the Environment

To the Gazette, published January 26.

Kevin Ma’s article (Jan. 19) on the recent report from the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) focused largely on the issue of carbon taxes, when in fact the report also addressed a number of other ideas.

Our government was pleased to see that the NRTEE agrees with us that fighting climate change over the medium and long term requires working in concert with the world, that policy certainty beyond the short-term is central, that technology deployment is imperative and that an integrated approach to climate change and air pollution is necessary.

However, as Minister of the Environment, I strongly believe in the “polluter pays” principle, instead of an across the board carbon tax. That’s why our Turning the Corner plan to cut greenhouse gases an absolute 20 per cent by 2020 focuses on mandatory emissions reductions for big industry — those who create the most greenhouse gases and air pollution. This government also believes that Canadians pay enough in taxes and don’t need more taxes in their lives.

For the first time in Canadian history, we will have mandatory targets, unlike the Liberals who preferred a weak, voluntary approach. Our plan also will require big industry to pay into a technology fund starting at $15 per tonne of carbon, putting a price on carbon for those who emit the most.

The reality is that our Turning the Corner plan is a realistic and balanced plan that will help the environment and ensure economic stability.

This government is intent on fighting climate change here at home and abroad and we will continue that fight now and in the future.

John Baird, Minister of the Environment

By the Harper government’s current reckoning—that a price on carbon is a tax on carbon—this would seem to be John Baird simultaneously opposing and proposing a carbon tax.

Information on the technology fund that Mr. Baird mentions is here.

Here again is everything you need to know about the Conservatives’ carbon tax farce.




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John Baird put a price on carbon in writing and signed his name to it

  1. Just because Conservatives *say* they’re going to do something and then they proceed to *not* do it does not make them see-sawers or flip-floppers; nay-nay! It makes them ‘imagineers’; capable of creating new realities out of pre-existing paradoxes! Large naval base in Nunavut? *poof* Sure, it’s not what we promised but it’s bigger than nothing! Peter Penashue’s campaign team was inexperienced! *poof* The man responsible for the accounts is appointed to the C-NLOPB (mainly touted for his economic experience). We want to start putting a price on carbon; here’s a figure. *poof* It’s become politically unpalatable for us now so… boo prices on carbon!

    Can’t we all see this is mere a much more subtle an nuanced approach to politics!? Can you not see any culture in it!? *egregious eyeroll*

    Sometimes I think the current Government is delivering politics to us straight out of episodes of ‘Yes, (Prime) Minister’ and ‘The Thick of It’.

  2. I am a little worried about this propose carbon tax, being, as I am, composed primarily OF carbon…..

    • That’s because you’ve smoked too much.

    • Governments should focus on taxing unproductive activity (pollution, financial speculation, land speculation) rather than productive activity (income, sales, buildings). I do not consider carbon to be a pollutant, but it is the most suitable indicator of pollution.

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