Ford’s three wishes in a letter to Trudeau: “Stop the carbon tax and money for train and highway”

TORONTO – As if addressing the “genie of the lamp”, the Premier of Ontario expressed three wishes to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: and he did it through a letter where he outlines what the provincial government wants from the federal one. In the letter, sent Thursday, Doug Ford listed the three points: the Highway 413 project, the expansion of the Toronto-Milton “GO” train and the stop to the carbon tax. 

Ford’s requests come after the presentation in February of new provincial legislation, the “Get It Done Act”, containing a series of key issues for Ontario, including the freezing of the cost of driver’s licenses and the cutting the environmental approvals needed for some building development projects, while others, such as the carbon tax, need the support of the federal government.

And last Wednesday, during a press conference, he said he “does not understand” why Trudeau’s government is sticking to this policy of fiscal pressure, with particular reference to the carbon tax. “They need to start putting money back into people’s pockets” the Premier said.

Trudeau, for his part, underlined – during a press conference held the same day – that “my job is not to be popular, even if it helps. My job is to do the right things for Canada now and to do the right things for Canadians in a generation” referring to climate change. No about-face on the increase in the carbon tax, therefore, which will become operational from April 1st.

But the day after those statements, Ford decided to try anyway and wrote the letter to Trudeau, reiterating his opposition to the carbon tax and asking that the federal government allocate 3 billion dollars for the “GO” rail link between Toronto and Milton and approximately $1 billion for Highway 413. Additionally, “I would welcome clarification that the federal government will continue to work with the provinces and territories to fund new roads, highways and projects of public transport” Ford wrote, referring to the ‘freeze’ of the Highway 413 project. Ottawa has in fact used the Impact Assessment Act in 2021 to “pause” the provincial highway and the rules currently in force mean that we must wait until the government federal government will not be convinced that the provincial plan will not harm fauna and flora. But a Supreme Court opinion in 2023 suggested that law may not be constitutional. And Ontario went to court to have that opinion upheld. “The federal government must provide us with the certainty we need by recognizing that its Impact Assessment Act does not apply to Highway 413” Ford wrote in his letter. “Until we receive this assurance, Ontario will continue its ongoing legal challenge…”.

Ford’s three-pronged appeal to Trudeau comes as both governments finalize their budgets. Ontario will present its budget on March 26, while the federal government will present its on April 16.

In the pic above: the first meeting between Trudeau Prime Minister and Ford Prime Minister, in July 2018, in a photo published by Trudeau himself on his Facebook page at the time