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Liberals admit cap-and-trade funding unstable, yet make $1.2 billion in spending promises


QUEEN’S PARK – Environment Minister Glen Murray admitted today in Question Period that the Liberals “expect fluctuations” in cap-and-trade funding, yet they have already made more than a billion dollars in spending promises, says Ontario PC Environment and Cap-and-Trade Critic Lisa Thompson.

“The government has already promised to spend $1.2 billion in cap-and-trade funds on a laundry list of Liberal pet-projects – without even raising a dime,” Thompson said in Question Period today. “I find it unbelievable that the Liberals are willing to write billion-dollar cheques without knowing how much money they’ll have in the bank.”

California and Quebec’s cap-and-trade auction last month crashed. In fact, only 11 per cent of allowances were sold, and California raised only $10 million out of an expected $500 million. This shortfall has left the state scrambling after committing cap-and-trade funds for light-rail transit.

The Liberal government plans to link its cap-and-trade system with California and Quebec’s next year to bankroll a long list of projects and existing programs, yet the government has no contingency plans in place for a potential auction crash.

Minister Murray seems aloof despite expecting funding shortfalls. He told TVO yesterday, “We know in the earlier years, until the market is mature, you’ll see more dramatic swings.”

“When you don’t know if you’ll have the money, how can you commit to spend it?” Thompson said. “If Ontario’s first auction crashes, like California and Quebec’s did last month, we know what the result will be for taxpayers: either more debt or more taxes.”

You can view MPP Thompson’s question here: http://tinyurl.com/jo78rmo

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