Federal environment minister hopeful after meeting with Manitoba counterpart - InfoNews

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Federal environment minister hopeful after meeting with Manitoba counterpart

May 26, 2016 - 2:16 PM

WINNIPEG - Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna expressed optimism about a national approach to fighting climate change after meeting Thursday with her Manitoba counterpart, Cathy Cox.

But it remained unclear what action Manitoba's new Progressive Conservative government might take, and both Cox and Premier Brian Pallister stopped short of saying human activity is the prime factor behind climate change.

"I guess there's many causes for climate change," Cox said following a one-hour meeting with McKenna. "I would have to probably say that (human activity) has had a big impact on it."

Pallister, asked twice whether he agrees with the scientific consensus that human activity is the prime cause of climate change, would only say that people must do more to solve the problem.

"I think we all have to do our part and I think climate change is a reality," he said. "We need to do everything we can as human beings to address this issue."

McKenna is talking with the provinces about carbon pricing and said Thursday she recognizes that provincial governments are taking different avenues.

British Columbia instituted a revenue-neutral fuel tax, while Ontario is eyeing a cap-and-trade system. The Alberta government is implementing a broad-based carbon tax and a cap on oilsands emissions.

"There's certainly different approaches going on and we think that's good," McKenna said.

Manitoba's Tory government is still working out details of its plan after being elected April 19. Cox was sworn in as minister for Sustainable Development on May 3. According to her ministerial mandate letter from Pallister, Cox is to develop a form of carbon pricing that "fosters emissions reduction, keeps investment capital here and stimulates new innovation in clean energy, businesses and jobs."

Cox would not rule out a fuel tax, and said a decision will only be made after extensive consultations.

"What we're looking at are all of the options. We've looked at what other provinces are doing," she said. "We have to discuss with our stakeholders and our partners and ensure that we get it right."

Pallister said there may be a broad indication of the province's direction in the budget scheduled for Tuesday.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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