Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced on Monday that his government has scrapped Drive Clean Tests for passenger vehicles, calling the program a “bureaucratic mess that outlived its purpose.”
“It’s history, it’s done, it’s gone,” Ford said, adding that the move would save taxpayers more than $40 million a year.
Instead, Ford said the province’s Made-in-Ontario Environment plan will target “the biggest polluters on the road, heavy duty diesel trucks.”
New emissions tests for heavy-duty diesel vehicles will begin in the fall of 2019.
The announcement came on the same day that the federal government’s carbon tax came into effect, spiking gas prices.
“Our gas prices have just shot up at least 4.4. cents a litre, in fact it’s more than 5 cents a liter when you include the HST,” Ford fumed. “Households will pay higher home heating bills and by the time the federal government is done the average household will have to pay $648 a year more in carbon tax expenses.
“The Prime Minister tells us that the carbon tax will be good for us, but then I sit back and say ‘really, why should anybody believe what he says anymore?’ ”
Ford also expressed doubt that the federal government would make good on its promise of rebates to make up for the carbon tax.
“Nobody trusts the federal government when they cross their fingers and say they will eventually give the money back to us,” he said.
Dianne Saxe, whose tenure as Ontario’s environmental commissioner ended on Monday after Ford eliminated her position, warned recently that the state of climate policy in the province is “frightening.”
“At a time when climate damage is accelerating, Ontario is turning away from the things that we know work,” she said.
A recent Ipsos poll also found that a majority of Ontarians had a negative view of Ford’s environment plan.
With files from The Canadian Press